Friday, September 30, 2016

15 Things You Need in Place for Creating Your Personal Brand

When you think about it, a personal brand is one of the most useful things you can build.

It’s powerful. It’s valuable. It’s killer.


But it also takes a considerable amount of work. As I’ve built my personal brand over the past few years, I’ve discovered that one’s personal brand doesn’t merely grow when you acheive some level of business success.

Instead, you have to work hard at it.

Building a personal brand is almost like building a business. You have to identify your target clients, discover the best marketing methods, and relentlessly work to deliver what they want.

But the results? Worth it!

As you build your brand, it becomes much easier to connect with prospective clients, close deals, and grow the opportunities that weren’t possible when you started.

To get to that point, you’ve got to start with the right foundation.

Seventy-seven percent of B2B buyers said they speak with a salesperson only after they’ve performed independent research online.

More than 50% of decision-makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they found online.

With this many eyes watching, it pays to build your personal brand in the most effective way.

I’ve had success with growing my personal brand because of careful planning. I had things ready to go before I started promoting myself.

Here are the things you’ll need to have in place as you work to develop your personal brand.

1. Head shots

I am immensely thankful that we’ve moved beyond the Glamour Shots era. Still, the people who used those portraits throughout their professional lives had the right idea.

(kind of…)


When you start to promote your personal brand, you want to be easily recognizable, and you want people to take you seriously. I have a number of professional head shots and photos that I use across my online properties for consistency.

As my appearance changes (and, yes, I do age…or mature), my head shots get updated.

Take pictures that represent the personality you’re trying to portray, and use those images across all your social channels, websites, gravatar accounts, and author bios.

2. Your focus

Entrepreneurs working to build a personal brand typically want to be known as experts in something. When you’re creating your personal brand, you need to identify that one thing that’s your passion and area of expertise.

Understanding your focus and your vision helps lay the groundwork for the rest of the steps you need to take to create and launch your personal brand.

3. Your elevator pitch

Let’s say you and I meet in an elevator. I strike up a conversation that quickly leads to your work. You’ve got about 30 seconds to explain what you do.

Can you condense your job or brand down into a short pitch that’s clear and gets the point across?


This pitch isn’t just for personal connection opportunities. The same brief statement can be utilized throughout social channels and online bios to help followers and prospects best understand who you are and what you bring to the table.

Write up what you do and what makes you valuable, and don’t be afraid to make it detailed. Once you have the information down, start trimming.

Keep trimming until you get it down to a strong, impacting statement.

4. Know your USP

Your unique selling proposition (USP) goes hand in hand with your elevator pitch. This is what sets you apart from others in your industry or specialization. If there are 2,000 other entrepreneurs offering the same service, why should your prospective customers choose you?

Why should your audience pay attention to you?

What is your unique value they won’t find with anyone else?

Your USP should be a succinct, single-sentence statement of who you are, your greatest strength, and the major benefit your audience will derive from it.


USPs typically fall into 3 categories:

Quality – It’s about superior materials or ingredients, craftsmanship, or proprietary manufacturing. Think “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” from Papa Johns.

Price – Price isn’t the best USP, but it can work if you offer the best prices, low rate guarantees, price matching, bulk discounts, or unique special offers.

Service – This can be unquestioned returns, satisfaction guarantees, or extended services to delight customers. Think Tom’s Shoes’s practice of giving shoes to the needy.

This is a critical component for branding. You’ll use this to craft your pitch, and it will be prevalent in virtually all of your marketing messages and outreach.

5. A defined audience

Defining your area of expertise is only part of the journey. You have to know to whom you’re catering. Building a brand is useless unless you’re targeting the right people.

You have to define your audience so that any content you create is relevant, your marketing turns heads, and you can eventually monetize your brand.


Think of it like a game of darts. You score if you hit the board, but you score higher if you hit dead center. Without a target, you’re just throwing darts blindly.

When you know your audience, you can:

  • create highly valuable content specific to their needs
  • generate offers that will provide solutions to their greatest problems
  • create brand advocates who will embrace your message and help spread it for you
  • identify the best ways to engage your audience
  • identify places to find them

Defining your audience takes time and research, but without a clearly defined audience, you’ll never grow your brand.

6. A student mindset

You have to maintain the mindset of a perpetual learner, no matter how much experience you gain in your field. Change happens fast, so adopt the “I am a student and always need to learn” attitude.

Tune in, listen, and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

If you fail to stay relevant, people will stop paying attention to you.

It never hurts to learn new things, develop new skills, and expand your knowledge. Everything you learn is an opportunity to pass something new to your audience and provide more value.

7. Create a marketing strategy

Before you launch your personal brand, you need a strategy that details how you’ll promote yourself. While it doesn’t need to be as robust as a marketing strategy for a major brand, it’s still a good idea to create a documented marketing plan you can follow.

This should include (but isn’t limited to):

8. A personal brand audit

While you’re in the process of creating your personal brand, you likely already have public information available about you.

Before you push the growth of your brand, take the time to audit your online presence. Do extensive searches for your name and identity online.

This can help you manage anything that doesn’t mesh with your brand image as well as show opportunities for your branding campaign once you get started.


This isn’t a one-time audit, either. Schedule routine reviews of your personal brand to monitor how you appear on the web.

9. Create a personal website

A website isn’t just a place to toot your own horn.

You certainly want to show off your expertise and the work you’ve done. You also want to make sure you control as much real estate around your brand as possible.

A branded website is another source of content that will show up at the top of the search results when people search for information about you.

Having a website ensures that you stay in control of the top search results rather than allowing third-party sites to shape your online image.


10. Define your story

The strongest personal brands are carried by a potent narrative. The people most interested in following you or working with you will want to know your story.


If you specialize in more than one area or have a series of things you’re passionate about, a narrative becomes even more important.

It’s a unified theme that ties everything together.

Think about some of the most well-known personal brands like Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, or Richard Branson.


In every case, the stories are well known and the narratives lend tremendous weight to these people’s brands, ultimately defining how we see them.

What’s your story?

11. Build on Feedback

Even when we look into a mirror, it’s not easy to define ourselves and understand who we are. It’s just not that easy to form an objective opinion of ourselves.

Use the feedback from others you know to build the framework for your personal brand. Ask people you trust, e.g., colleagues, friends, family and co-workers, to describe you with just a few adjectives. You can also ask additional questions like:

  • What do you think I’m good at?
  • What do you think my weaknesses are?
  • What are my greatest strengths?

12. Define your goals

Why are you developing this personal brand? Is it to create a solid image to help you land a better position in your career? Do you want to create a more trustworthy and authoritative persona to land clients?

Creating goals can help you shape your personal brand and the direction of your promotion and marketing. Aside from your major goals, you should also define smaller, more readily attainable goals.

Where do you want to be in 6 months? In a year? What are your traffic goals for your brand website?

When you create goals, break them down into smaller milestones, and create a roadmap you can follow from launch to achieve those goals.

13. Create a personal style guide

Brands often use style guides to define the appearance of their logos, fonts, and colors to represent themselves and their products/sevices. This may even include employee dress code.


Everything you do contributes to your personal brand. Create a personal style guide similar to what the brands use. This way you have a consistent representation of your personal brand.

This should include the way you dress, carry yourself, behave with others, and even write and respond to emails.

14. Create a content strategy

Even though I mentioned creating a marketing strategy already, I feel it’s important to list this on its own. Not everyone will create an overall marketing strategy or social media plan. At the very least, you should create a content marketing strategy.

Much of your branding will revolve around content.

You’ll use content to build authority and show your expertise. You’ll create guest posts to generate referral traffic and links. You might create short videos to share your ideas.

A content strategy can help you maintain a consistent schedule and generate the right topics for your audience as well as give you the greatest chance of growing your personal brand.

Moz has created a terrific content strategy framework you can use to plan your own.

15. Perform a competitive evaluation

Personal brand building isn’t a popularity contest, but it does pay to know where you stand in the crowd.

Occasionally, you can collect some data, e.g., from Google trends, that will display the general query interest around your personal brand.


You want to know some of the key metrics around your brand so you can pivot and act accordingly.

This data is from Buzzsumo.


In the early stages of building your personal brand, you may or may not be selling anything. Regardless of your approach to monetization, you have competitors. They’ll fall into two categories:

  • Direct competitors, competing for your audience’s money
  • Indirect competitors, competing for your audience’s attention

Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to take stock of the industry and find out who is turning the heads of your audience and what they’re using to keep them engaged.

You don’t want to mimic your competitors. That’s bad. Remember, you want to be unique.

A competitive evaluation will give you the insight to take whatever your competitors are doing and do it 10 times better so you can capture and hold the attention of your audience.


Your personal brand is how the world will see you. For that reason, you need to polish your brand and give it a strong start, out of the gate. Starting with an unpolished and uninteresting brand is only going to hurt your efforts.

Including these elements in the launch of your brand will connect you with the right people. Those people will begin to identify you with a specific industry or area of expertise. As you share information and build rapport, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a trusted authority in your niche.

It won’t take long before the right opportunities will present themselves, and your branding efforts will begin to pay dividends.

Have you started building and promoting your personal brand? Which elements do you think are most important for making you stand out in your industry?

from Quick Sprout

Thursday, September 29, 2016

[CASE STUDY] How We Sold an Amazon Affiliate Site for $550,000 in 29 Days

Hey everyone, today I’m excited to bring you a guest post from Greg Elflink, the content manager over at  I have know the founders of Empire Flippers since, well, before Empire Flippers ever existed!

I’ve seen their marketplace grow and I’ve even used it myself to both buy and sell websites.  Lots of great affiliate and other types of websites are constantly coming up over there.

Today, Greg is going to walk you through how they sold a customer’s website on their marketplace for $550,000.  If you are looking at either buying or selling a website, Greg has some great tips.

With that, I’ll let Greg take it from here…

If you could spend two years working on a site that would later sell for almost 14 times more than the average American annual salary, would you?

Spencer is well known for his awesome knowledge of how to build Amazon affiliate niche sites, and if you want to build out sites and make them turn a profit, then this blog is one of the best out there for teaching how to do just that, you don’t have to go far to see case studies he’s made like this one where he created a successful niche site from scratch.

But what if you wanted to collect future revenue from one of those sites all upfront without having to wait for months on in for your affiliate commissions to come your way?

That is exactly the question confronted by one of our sellers when he listed his Amazon affiliate site in Empire Flipper’s online business marketplace.  This seller in particular realized the earnings he could get “now” by putting his profitable website up for sale.

When it comes to selling your site, one of the most important things you can do is to make it as easy to hand off as possible.

This site had a few things going for it that made it a simple matter of plug and play for the new owner:

  • Monetized via the Amazon Associates program, which is a very easy to understand monetization method, and one that is simple to transfer over to a new owner.
  • Built on WordPress, one of the most widely-used CMS platforms on the internet.
  • Outsourced content to competent writers.
  • Needed only two articles a month to maintain earnings.

The interesting thing about the content on this site is that it was almost all commercial intent-style articles, including reviews, top 10, the best X for Y, etc.

The site covered a vast array of products in the electronics space, too, which goes to show that you can earn quite a significant income in this space even with the lower Amazon Associates commission fee typically attached to sales of electronic products.

The next important piece of selling a business is to make sure that the buyer has seen that the business is profitable. The best way to do this is to keep track of everything — gross profit, expenses (with explanations for the expenses), and net profit. Track these numbers religiously every month.

Of course, we verify the earnings of every Amazon affiliate site that comes into our marketplace, so some of this work can be done for you if you are using a professional broker to sell your asset.

Still, it is good to get into the habit of tracking both profits and your actual traffic. Therefore, make sure you have something like Google Analytics or Clicky set up from the start, so a potential buyer can see any trends or opportunities when they are doing their due diligence on your website.

Now, at this point, you might look at an Amazon affiliate site earning $18,857 per month and wonder, why would anyone sell this?

I mean, it’s pretty passive income, right?

As is the case with an offline business, there is a plethora of reasons why someone might sell an online business. We have had people sell their businesses so they could buy a house free and clear, adopt a child (which is quite expensive to do), or reinvest their profits into other businesses and projects.

In the case of this specific site, the seller was living in a low tax country but had plans to move back to Europe, to a country with a much higher tax rate. Therefore, they decided to sell the business and collect as much money upfront as they could, without having to pay a large tax fee on the profits.

Understanding how taxes work for your specific situation is an important part of doing business, which is why we highly recommend you have good tax counseling as your business gets bigger.

So how exactly DID we sell this business for $550,000 in just over a month?

Let’s dive into the details!

$550,000 Amazon Associate Business Highlights


The business began in August 2014, focusing on the electronics niche, where the vast majority of articles are based on commercial keywords written as in-depth reviews of products.

After producing dozens of articles for over two years, the seller saw the website’s earnings explode. The site currently makes $18,857 on average every single month from the Amazon Associates program. This was all done without a private blog network (PBN), a choice made because Google’s updates of its search algorithm increasingly hammer PBNs. Natural link-building strategies were used instead, making this site a safer investment because it used no black or grey hat strategies.

The site had some expenses —$127 a month — but compared to the net profit, they were pretty minimal and covered the costs of outsourcing and uploading two new pieces of content a month.

Other than its size, the website is a classic Amazon affiliate niche site. The one big difference is that this site has far more content on it than your average niche site, and when I say niche I mean that very loosely. While the site mainly reviewed electronic products, it also reviewed products in tons of other niches, too. The way the branding of the website worked also allowed the new owner to write about pretty much any niche they desired.

As the site’s domain authority grows, it will be able to rank for more and more broader niches as time goes on.

So how did this website get sold for such a high price? How was the valuation done?

The site was initially listed at $565,711, and this price fluctuated due to our monthly re-evaluation. Basically, new net profit and expense numbers are sent in every month, this can move the needle up or down on the price for the business. Ultimately, this business sold for $550,000 due to the negotiation process, which we will get into below.

Let’s talk a little bit about how a site of this size is valuated properly, in order to attract a slew of qualified buyers.

Preparing and Listing the Business

Before this business went live on our marketplace, there were a few items that we needed.

Every site that enters our marketplace has to be vetted if they’re going to become one of our websites for sale. That means we have to verify income and the site’s traffic. Depending on the business, there are several different ways we can go about this. For instance, an Amazon FBA business will go through a different process than an Amazon affiliate business.

For Amazon affiliate businesses (including this one specifically), we verify proof of earnings by logging into the seller’s Amazon account. The seller gives us view-only access, and from there we take screenshots from their accounts to show what they earn with their associated tracking IDs.

This site was a bit different in that it used about 12 different tracking IDs. Once the website was being prepared for sale, the owner converted all the tracking IDs into one to keep all the earnings for the site in one place.

Once our agents logged in and checked everything out, we moved on to traffic.

We always want to make sure the traffic that a website is getting is legitimate, which is why we also get permissions to login to their analytics. Typically, there are two analytics a seller uses:

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Clicky (a third party analytics software that is very reliable)

This seller was using Google Analytics, so it was a simple process to login and gather the data.


One thing we make sure of is that the seller doesn’t have any other sites that might be in direct competition with the website they’re selling. While we have ways to figure out who owns what (which obviously we won’t reveal here), this seller in particular was very forthcoming.

He revealed all the sites he owned, and while some had overlap, none of them were directly competing with each other. In the cases of overlap, there were a few items in similar niches that were also written about on the main site. This was unavoidable, since the seller’s site was a gigantic review site covering multiple niches.

We ran all the content through Copyscape, a plagiarism checker, which proved that everything on the website was unique.

After all the vetting was concluded, the website was given the valuation of $553,859 at a 30x multiple. This was due to the length of time it had been around, its solid content, and its long history of ranking on Google.

This initial list price was later changed to $565,711 due to the site accumulating another full month’s worth of earnings in the days after going live on our marketplace. Since the site earned more, the average was adjusted in line with the original valuation given to the site and the price was updated.

Once the site was listed, we began the process of weeding through unqualified buyers to give the seller the “crème de la crème” of qualified buyers.

We do this through our marketing process, which includes advertising the listing to our 35,000+ email list of buyers, plus pushing the listing via social media.

For buyers to see the site in its entirety, they are required to submit a deposit. This gets rid of the majority of tire-kickers, since typically only serious buyers will submit a deposit. From here, the seller will give these new potential buyers access to analytics for them to begin their own due diligence.

Within two days, we had three interested buyers willing to put down a deposit to view the specifics of the site. One even wanted to set up a call with the seller.

While they set up the call, even more depositors came along wanting to start the process of looking over the site.

The Negotiation Process

While many depositors performed due diligence, only a few became qualified enough buyers to allow them to get on the phone with the seller. One issue that potential buyers had with the site, despite the very attractive fact it was monetized via the Amazon affiliate program, was that it wasn’t really focused on a single niche. This turned away a couple of high-end buyers.

However, after our vetting process, we had a range of buyers looking at the site.

The potential buyers that wanted to set up a call with this seller had a few questions:

  1. Did the seller’s VA come with the purchase?
  2. Were there notes on how the seller performed keyword research and built backlinks?
  3. Could the last three months of Amazon ordered items be exported to discuss on the call?
  4. Was the seller’s second site available to purchase as well?

While the second site wasn’t for sale for at least another six months, the seller was more than willing to share his process for growing his sites. His VA wasn’t part of the deal, so the seller decided to create a two-hour video outlining all of the tasks that his current VA did.

This was an awesome value boost, because the potential buyers then had a good roadmap and understanding of how to do the tasks themselves, whether or not they did hire it out to a new VA.

In addition, the seller provided 29 new keywords for a buyer to go after, along with his backlinking process. The seller also provided eight additional articles that he had already had written but had yet to upload to the site. He also included his strategy for how he got backlinks from actual manufacturers of products.

For the keyword research process, the seller decided to instruct the new potential buyer via Skype on how he used Long Tail Pro to find new keywords to target with his website.

The Buyer-Seller Conference Call

Once this information was gathered, the seller and buyer moved ahead with a buyer-seller conference call. These calls are an indicator that a buyer is nearly at the end of our sales cycle. While it doesn’t always happen on a conference call, we do frequently have hard offers made on these calls.

Because of this, we have a deal consultant on the line to assist both the buyer and the seller. The deal consultant coaches the seller about the buyer and helps smooth out the negotiation process.

In this case, the buyer made an offer of $550,000 for the website. The buyer would pay $430,000 upfront as a down payment on the website and then $10,000 a month for the next year in an earn-out scenario.

The seller agreed to these terms and sold the site for a total of $550,000 — receiving a total of $467,500 in total profits after Empire Flippers’ brokerage fees.

Not a bad payday for an Amazon affiliate site!

The Migration of a Six Figure Website to the New Owner

The migration process for Amazon affiliate sites is a pretty straightforward task, and it’s something our migration specialists excel at. Once the down payment was received and the earn out was agreed on, the migration process began immediately, along with a valuation period of 14 days as outlined by the buyer.

All the Amazon Associates links were transferred over to the new owner. Along with the site came a few other domains that were associated with this website. These sites and the main moneymaker were converted into the new owner’s name.

For the seller to receive their $10,000 a month, the earn-out agreement stipulated that the site had to earn at least $14,000 per month.

These earnings were achieved and, as the year went along, the buyer decided to accelerate the payments to the seller, finishing the payments in just four months instead of twelve. The buyer was able to get the seller to agree to a $11k discount for the accelerated payment. The seller was more than happy to get the remaining $109k in his bank account sooner rather than later.

With the buyer verifying traffic numbers and earnings from Amazon’s Associate program, and the seller’s earn-out complete, the deal was closed and deemed successful.

How Can You Sell a Six Figure Niche Site?

Selling a business is an exciting process.

You can collect 20-30 months of profit upfront, often in as little as a month’s time. So what are some quick tips you can use to prepare your site for sale, possibly even in the six figure range?

  • Track your analytics and earnings religiously from day one.
  • Prepare future keywords for a buyer to target after the purchase.
  • If you have a VA and don’t wish to include him or her in the sale, then create tutorials for the new buyer to educate a new VA with.
  • Be open to negotiations. This seller was open to a year-long earn out; this flexibility allowed them to sell a very big site in a very short time.
  • Be as transparent as possible when you are selling these sites.

The sky really is the limit when it comes to how big a niche site can become. While common wisdom dictates that sites always focus on just one niche, this site proved that even a website that meanders around different niches can still be incredibly successful.

If you want to sell your online business, we recommend using a professional brokerage. The seller would have been more hard-pressed to sell this site if it hadn’t been for our marketing of the listing. The buyer reach would have been much lower, and the room for error much larger, without a system in place for both selling and migrating the site successfully.

If you are in the market right now, it might also be worthwhile to check out our podcast episode where we talk about preparing your site for sale.

The post [CASE STUDY] How We Sold an Amazon Affiliate Site for $550,000 in 29 Days appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

from Niche Pursuits

Income Report Roundup – September 2016

One of the most popular posts I publish are my income reports.

So I decided to round up as many income reports as possible and rank them based on earnings to see how I stack up against the rest.

If you publish an income report on your blog and would like it included in next month’s post then please let me know in the comments!

Here we go-

#1) – $86,688.00 (-$21,207.00)

It’s been another great month for Michelle despite a dip in traffic.

This month saw her create a new email course about money management and finance called ‘Master Your Money’.

She managed to get ahead of her post schedule and plans to work on blog maintenance next month.

Having never focused on SEO before she’s joined an SEO mastermind for 3 months. She’ll also be attending FinCon, the Financial Blogger’s Conference this month.

#2) – $37,390.00 (+$33,281.00)

TrueValhallaMatt’s celebrating his best month so far this month! A successful fundraiser for his new networking framework raised an amazing $30K in just 24 hours!

He explored his new ambitions this month and set to work on raising the money he needed to reinvest.

He has started accepting donations for the first time in over a year. The re-launch of his ‘supporter program’ gives supporters exclusive rewards for donating.

Going forward his to do list includes catching up on work before his holiday, finishing up client work and keeping an eye on his other active projects.

#3) – $36,538.00 (+$9,512.00)

This month Abby & Donnie re-launched their printable products. They spent time combining them into one sales page because the products compliment each other well.

They decided to push sales along by creating a sense of urgency. To do that they offered the two products at a cheaper price for one week only.

They’re now monitoring their different call to action buttons for product packages and thinking about reducing the number of options.

#4) – $25,405.88 (-$6,463.36)

It’s been a record revenue month for Jon but it’s also been a big month for expenses! This month saw him hire a new project manager and buy a few small websites.

He’s happy to report that his Listing Eagle site has seen a 30% increase for three months straight. His affiliate site for FBA business is on a roll with 100% growth five months in a row!

He’s concerned that now he’s working online full time he might be taking on too many projects. Going forward he’s decided to focus on his goals and growing projects while keeping a close eye on costs.

#5) – $21,686.09 (+$8,134.81)

It was nice to settle back into a normal routine this month. Training for Iron Man is taking its toll on my time and inspiration. Hopefully that will ease off as I get used to the training schedule!

This month I had a featured image survey with some new image templates that you guys voted on. After receiving even more designs since the vote I’m officially stumped on which to pick.

I spent most of the month doing blog maintenance. After last month’s metrics showed huge signs of decay it’s great to see things taking an upward swing.

I planted a lot of seeds this month but with a friend arriving to visit for a vacation I might not manage to get everything done that I had originally planned.

Get all of my income reports & round-ups direct to your inbox!

#6) – $10,062.04 (+$802.30)

brendanmaceBrendan is celebrating a record month for both income and traffic despite only having created one YouTube video. He spent most of his time travelling through Barcelona and Portugal.

His traffic increased by approximately 20% this month after he created a video following the making money ‘easily’ theme.

He’s not ready to reveal his other project he’s been working on this month. Next month he’ll be visiting Thailand and also has a new product in development.

#7) – $6,588.00 (-$7,380.00)

untemplaterSydney has been planting seeds for the future and decided to slow the pace down this month.

She enjoys having the flexibility to work less hours if she needs to. Her current goals for the year are to invest at least $5,000 per month and increase her net worth by $75,000.

Planning ahead she wants to stay conservative and wait for opportunities in the stock market to present themselves before investing.

#8) – $4,014.49 (+$583.60)

ThePracticalSaverAllan is celebrating another best month for income for the fifth month in a row! This month he’s been testing the site’s design and layout to see what works and what doesn’t.

He was happy to receive an email from an AOL rep containing an opportunity to work in partnership with them. He’s also been gaining a lot of contributors using Pinterest collaborative boards.

He answered people’s questions and offered help which has converted into sign-ups for the products he promotes. His goals for the coming month include reaching 7,000 pageviews per day, doubling his income and reaching 600 subscribers.

#9) – $3,457.23 (-$4,769.01)

IncomeBullyIt’s been an unproductive month on the blog for Nathan. Although he hasn’t been working on the blog much he’s been busy with an SEO project that has taken up more time than he’d like.

While he did manage to fit some time in to work on his local SEO course he didn’t publish new content on the blog.

He also neglected his outreach, passed up a roundup and a guest post opportunity and didn’t create his coaching page to sell his services in hourly time blocks.

He admits he’s struggled with time management, focus and motivation. Going forward he hopes to improve his content planning, finish his lead magnet series and stop procrastinating!

#10) – $2,882.83 (+$388.29)

ohpIt’s another increase for Ron this month and he’s happy to be writing his report from Brazil, needing only an internet connection and his computer to keep on top of things.

It was his best month for Udemy course sales and he started another website to focus on Ecommerce. His JFFHub site is now running almost totally on autopilot.

He only needs to spend a few hours a week on it and considers the site his biggest accomplishment so far. Next month he plans to work on his second authority site and put together the content he has researched for his first authority site.

#11) – $1,917.12 (-$1,856.91)

GetPostCookieIt’s a bit of a drop in income for Dave this month which is something he expected. By the end of the month he hopes to have a better idea of where things are headed and whether this is a summer slump.

He ploughed through his goals for the month and is pleased to report good progress with his Readability Score site development and Cheatography experiments to increase revenue.

He’s had a productive month developing ApolloPad. He replaced the email system, got marketing underway and improved site management behind the scenes. He plans to continue development of these projects next month.

#12) – $1,244.31 (+$590.02)

OnlineMoneyzIt’s another busy month for Ilya who’s reporting an increase in income. This month he moved across the country not once but twice, once with his parents and again to return for college.

He hired his first full time VA, bought PBN links to revive his BNT affiliate site and wrote a couple of posts for his new high end products site.

With a few projects running he didn’t have time to do keyword research, so he decided to pay for new keywords.

Next month’s goals include teaching his new VA his image process, publishing 15 posts from his backlog and getting Web 2.0s and other weak links pointing to his WHQ site.

#13) – $1,183.88 (-$360.76)

livingoffcloudAfter a quiet month last month it was back down to business for Nadya this month and her expenses went up resulting in a slight decrease in income.

This month she got stuck into analytics and experiments to improve her niche websites and backed one business on Kickfurther.

Going forward she’ll be working on conversion for her ‘Rat’ website, improving the PBN for her ‘Honeybee’ site and adding new content to her other projects.

#14) – $918.37 (+$541.32)

Passive Income TrekLast month’s newcomer Richard is celebrating his best month so far this month! Income has grown across the board, from adsense and affiliate income to his SideHustle.

All his stats were up from last month and bounce rate was down, although he hopes this wasn’t due to which he’s now cancelled.

He missed some of the targets he set for himself but had a good month overall. He set similar targets for the month ahead including growing Instagram, publishing three blog posts and finishing Python Twitter scheduler.

#15) – $620.96 (+$173.00)

AliRazaIt’s an increase in income for Ali this month and he is still working hard to improve user experience. This month he added a plugin to let readers know when each post was last updated.

He achieved two out of three of his goals for the month. He wrote four posts for the site and did more blog commenting, but didn’t update as many old posts as he would like.

Next month he has similar targets including; writing four or five posts, working more on blog commenting, launching a page for readers to schedule consulting sessions and inviting guest posts on the blog.

#16) – $404.44 (-$123.81)

PassiveIncomeWiseIt’s a drop in income for Francisco this month but it’s been a good month overall. He had lower expenses and freelance work coming in from readers who contact him to hire services.

This month he got married and travelled Spain and the UK which meant he didn’t publish anything new on PassiveIncomeWise.

He’s happy to report that his is now stable in terms of passive income. He only needs to answer comments and maintain his first niche site which is running almost completely on autopilot!

#17) – $219.06 (-$55.24)

The Restless WorkerLast month’s newcomer Madi is reporting a slight dip in income this month but she’s still happy with progress and spent some time testing out Facebook advertising.

Daunted by growing traffic and the pressure to keep it up she does have a plan to keep growing with regular blog posts, Pinterest and Facebook.

Next month her goals are to increase affiliate links on the site, find other advertising options, outreach companies for partnership, write guest posts for other blogs and publish guest posts on her blog.

She also plans to create an email list to drive return traffic and work on optimising her images.

#18) – $93.08 (+$178.01)

mypathtopassiveincomeIt’s a big increase for Esteban this month as he’s out of the red and celebrating his birthday on vacation in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

While he was on holiday he found it hard to switch off and ignore his project. He wrote four articles before leaving and did an hour of work per day while he was away.

The blog only has monthly updates at the moment but he’s planning some guest posts.

Next month he aims to make $500 on his new site and spend time writing out a fresh list of goals. He’s also looking forward to having laser eye surgery.

#19) – -$34.88 (+$80.33)

TheExtraIncomeProjectLloyd is reporting another loss this month due to high expenses but it’s been a great month. Money isn’t one of his top goals, he’s focused on growing an audience and building a mailing list.

He focused on branding and monetising the site this month. Reducing his publishing schedule down to once a week has also given him more time to focus on content promotion.

Split testing his opt-in boxes is paying off and he’s finding improving click through rates a better use of his free time.

Next month he’ll continue work on branding and aims to increase sessions, users, page views, social followers and email subscribers.

Get all of my income reports & round-ups direct to your inbox!

In Summary

This month sees no newbies added to the lineup but some of our familiar faces are back with their reports!

Total income for all of the blogs featured this month is up $43,376.87 to $241,278.90. It’s nice to see an upswing all around in both efforts and results after a few slow summer months.

11 out of 19 blogs are reporting an increase in income this month and 4 are celebrating their biggest months for income so far!

That said, some of our bloggers are experiencing a different trend for the summer lull and are only just reaching the end of it this month while making note of what to expect next year.

If you feel inspired to start your own blog then why don’t you start a blog now? It only takes a few minutes!

Performance Tracking

I only include the earnings history of the top 10 blogs each month to make the graphs easy to read.

I’m having a problem with the graph right now and will update the post when fixed

Income Report Roundup – September 2016 was originally published on Matthew Woodward

from Matthew Woodward

The Very Best Of Internet Marketing September 2016

This is the 36th post in the series which shares all of my favorite internet marketing posts from the past month.

There is an awful lot of junk to sort through every month so here are the best bits according to me!

SEO & Link Building

The biggest piece of news this month has to be the release of Penguin 4.0 which is now running in real time.

Brian Dean also published an interesting experiment where he increased search traffic by 260.7% without publishing any new content.

You could also acheve similar results by using email out reach to build backlinks and these awesome Excel SEO videos will help you with that as well.

Did you know about these 10 ways to use the Wayback Machine to improve your SEO?

Or perhaps you missed out on these 9 free SEO tools or these 23 SEO tools that will fast track your success.

Blogging / Traffic Generation

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you invested $70k in content marketing?

If you plan on doing something like that make sure you have an effective blog sales funnel and email marketing strategy in place first!

That often starts with building an effective lead magnet and here are 6 awesome ideas to do exactly that.

But none of that is any good without traffic, so here is a step by step guide to your first 10,000 visitors per month!

You could even leverage the recent launch of Pokeomon Go to increase your traffic.

Or just take advantage of these Facebook chat bots to do the hard work for you.

Bonus Bonus Bonus

If there is only one article you read in this roundup it should be how Neil Patel made $4.4 million with 4 controversial marketing experiments.

And don’t forget to claim your 100% free domain name which expires today!

The Very Best Of Internet Marketing September 2016 was originally published on Matthew Woodward

from Matthew Woodward

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

20 Fascinating Topics That Every New Blog Should Tackle

When you know your stuff, writing a blog is easy, right?

Uh. Not necessarily.

I’d say that I’m pretty familiar with digital marketing. But when it comes to blogging, I still face challenges.

The challenge isn’t my lack of knowledge; it’s translating that knowledge into readable content—content helpful to you and other marketers.

Maybe you’ve faced the same challenge.

For some reason, conveying stuff you know inside and out is a lot trickier than it appears. Writing is difficult enough, but continually coming up with topics that would boost your online marketing efforts seems downright impossible.

In the old days, maintaining a business blog was more about appeasing search engine algorithms than appealing to actual humans. Back then, cramming posts full of keywords was the top priority.

Today, for a business blog to produce results, it has to appeal to humans first and search engines second. In fact, SEO and UX are basically one and the same.


Gone are the days of blathering on ad nauseam about anything your heart desires.

Content marketing via blogging is one of the best ways to increase the online visibility of a brand. These days, though, the posts you create must be engaging, informative, interesting, and generally high in quality to get you anywhere.

Contrary to what you may have heard, quantity does not exceed quality here. Even so, coming up with fascinating topics for a blog is often difficult for business owners. Here are 20 topics and ideas to get you off to a great start.

1. Write a long-form post

In the business world, getting straight to the point is generally the way to go. Quick, snappy blog posts have a time and a place, but your blog will suffer if that’s all you ever do.

Regardless of your niche, there are surely topics you could cover that require more than 400-500 words. Brainstorm topics that demand extensive, in-depth coverage, and then create long-form blog posts about them. The exhaustive nature of such posts will make them fascinating to anyone who is thirsty about the topic.

You may be aware that long-form blog posts—over 2,000-3,000 words—will rank higher, get more shares, and earn more links.


This is the kind of traction you need to gain with your blog.

2. Be a reporter

Even if journalism was never your forte, pretend otherwise by reporting back to your audience about important events in your industry. Ideally, these should be events you have attended yourself.

There are, of course, differences between journalistic writing and blog writing. However, in today’s content-driven world, there is also a lot of overlap.


For example, write a blog about your experience at a recent trade show. At the event, take notes about the things you see and the people with whom you interact. Take photos, and include them in your post. Include your own insights to make the piece more personal.

3. Comment about a popular post

Part of maintaining an interesting blog is staying in the loop about happenings in your niche and industry. You should already be keeping up with blogs in that sphere. When a particularly interesting one pops up, write a post about it.

Doing this accomplishes a few things. First, it lets you engage with the community while delivering your take on the original post. Second, it gives you the opportunity to link back to the original post, which might result in a link in return. You’ll gain exposure and, potentially, some backlinks!

4. Share your secrets

No, I’m not telling you to give away all your secrets. Rather, connect more deeply with your audience by giving them information about your business practices and processes “from the horse’s mouth.”

It’s all about transparency and authenticity, and it resonates strongly with readers. People enjoy feeling like they are privy to special knowledge.

I do this as often as possible, e.g., by updating my audience on the $100,000 challenge, showing all the relevant data, metrics, and revenue numbers, and sharing the lessons I’m learning from my experiment.


Maybe it’s time to pull back the curtain, and share your secrets in a blog post.

5. Round up industry experts

Establish relationships with key players within your industry through persistent social media activity. Once they’ve gotten to know you, invite thought leaders in your niche to share their views regarding a specific topic.

Compile all their contributions—with their permission, of course—and create a roundup blog post with them. Include links to each person’s blog because they might return the favor.

6. Make an infographic

You probably have plenty of facts and statistics about your niche and industry at your disposal. Put relevant ones together, and use them to create an eye-catching infographic to share on your blog.

If necessary, hire someone to create it for you. Include it in a new blog post, and then provide commentary about the facts and statistics within the body of the post. Encourage sharing by providing an easy link for people to use.

7. Look at both sides of an issue

Posts covering the pros and cons of a particular issue, product, or service tend to be received very well, and they are usually a breeze to put together. Brainstorm and write down issues that tend to have significant advantages and disadvantages.

During the course of researching this kind of piece, you will become even more knowledgeable about your niche. In the post itself, speak directly to your audience. Ask them for their take on the issue. Through their contributions, you can develop even more fascinating fodder for your blog.

8. Go behind the scenes

Blog posts about your actual business should be kept to a minimum as they tend to be pretty yawn-worthy. From time to time, though, go ahead and give readers a glimpse of what makes your company tick.

Reserve these posts for behind-the-scenes topics your audience will actually care about. For example, share what your company does to prepare for a big trade show, or introduce a new employee who you suspect will be a real game-changer for the company.

9. Explain how to do something

How-to articles and blogs tend to do well because people overwhelmingly turn to the Internet for advice and instructions on accomplishing various things. If you can incorporate one of your products into a how-to post, all the better.

For example, perhaps there’s a special way to use one of your products few people know about, or maybe there’s a process people should follow to make the most of it.

Be as thorough as possible in your post. Explain it as meticulously as you can. Include videos and photos to drive home your point and to ensure people bookmark and share your article.

10. Interview people

Yep, I’m asking you to be a journalist again. Remember those thought leaders and industry experts from a previous tip? Interview one of them to create a full-fledged blog post about your niche or industry.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be in the same room as your interviewee to talk to them. Come up with a list of questions your audience would be curious about, and email it instead. You could also post the questions via Twitter or another social media channel.

11. Make an FAQ post

Since you’re already actively engaged with your niche and industry on social media—you are, right?—you can easily keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying. More importantly, you can quickly figure out what they are asking.

Scour social media for questions from everyday people regarding your niche. Compile a frequently asked questions post to address them. You might even include links to questions on sites like Twitter and Facebook to gain a little link juice too.

12. Give readers the hard truth

I don’t care what niche or industry you cover. There are sure to be at least a few elephants in the room or subjects that people are generally afraid to broach. As long as you have something useful to say, go ahead and have at it.

Controversial posts shouldn’t be the bread and butter of your blog, but they can certainly stir up interest under the right circumstances. Tell it like it is in your blog from time to time to really wow your audience.

13. Share a case study

Blogs that explain how everyday people make use of a company’s products or service can be pretty engaging. However, resist the temptation to make something up. Wait until you have something truly special to share, and then share it.

Ideally, you should get permission from the client or customer to feature them, and include their input in the case study too. While the piece will obviously be promotional to some extent, write it in a factual, journalistic way to avoid alienating your audience.

14. Start a series or a regular feature

Some topics are so extensive that they can’t be covered adequately in a single post—not even a long-form one. When you run across one of these, consider breaking it up into a series for your readers. Create cliffhangers at the end of each one to keep them coming back for more.

You could also come up with a weekly or monthly feature for your blog. For example, you could highlight happenings regarding your niche in social media every Monday, or you could feature a new product or service every month.

15. Make a really long listicle

By now, we’re all familiar with the standard listicle, which typically contains 5-10 related points. This has been done so much that people don’t get very excited about it anymore.

Improve on the concept by coming up with a really long listicle that pertains to your niche. But do so only if the topic at hand is deep enough to warrant it, or you will end up with a bunch of similar-sounding points.

16. Stir controversy

Think of some common views or beliefs regarding your niche. You are sure to disagree with at least a few of them, so write posts expressing your viewpoints, challenging the accepted opinions.

Doing this will likely invite controversy, so be sure to write these posts in a tactful way. Don’t attack others. Instead, explain why you think the status quo has it all wrong, and challenge readers to convince you otherwise.

17. Debunk some myths

What are some common misconceptions or myths regarding your industry or niche? Compile a list, and then use it to create a really fascinating post for your audience.

Make sure you back up your claims, though. Otherwise, readers will lose their interest when they realize they’re reading the rants of someone who really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Approach writing such an article with the intention of providing as much useful and usable information as possible.

18. Share customer success stories

With any luck, satisfied customers will occasionally contact you to express their appreciation. When this happens, ask them if you can feature their comments in a blog post for your business.

In this type of post, begin by describing the problem the customer was facing. Describe the product or service they used, and then explain how they were able to solve their issue by using it. If possible, include additional comments from the actual client to make the post especially engaging.

19. Perform research to delve deeper

At a certain point, you will exhaust the resources regarding facts and statistics concerning your niche. Avoid becoming repetitive, and conduct your own research.

This could mean something as simple as posting an online survey for your existing readers and sharing the results. However, you might even want to hire a market research firm for assistance. If you can present brand-new facts and information to the world, your blog will be better, and you will have a lot more to go on.

In your post, include visual representations of data to help people make sense of it. A simple pie chart or bar graph can make a huge difference.

20. Share a link roundup

As you run across interesting posts, memes, and other content regarding your niche, save them. After accumulating 10 or 20, write a link-roundup post featuring each one.

This is great for a few reasons. First, it forces you to stay up-to-date on your industry news and helps you bring relevant information to your audience. Second, it lets you branch out and opine about all kinds of content. Finally, it may even enhance your link-building strategy, which never hurts.


In a perfect world, none of us would ever have to cope with writer’s block.

The ideas would flow freely and continuously. Since that’s not the case, use this list of topics and ideas to kick-start your new blog.

When readers visit your new blog and are presented with an array of fascinating posts, they’re likelier to engage with it, bookmark it, and keep coming back for more.

And that’s exactly what you want to happen.

Have you already covered one of the ideas listed above? Which new ones are you excited to try?

from Quick Sprout

Monday, September 26, 2016

Launching Products and Going International: Amazon FBA Update for August 2016

I have now been selling physical products on Amazon for about a year and half now.  I’ve learned a tremendous amount over that time period, and best of all, I’ve created another significant income source in my business.

I’ve shared a few updates on my Amazon FBA business; however, its now been a couple of months before I’ve really last mentioned my Amazon business here.

So, today I’m dedicating this post to giving you an update on my FBA business: income report, what’s working, and plans moving forward.

Let’s jump right into it…

Ambitiously Launching Products

A year and a half ago, I didn’t have any products listed on Amazon at all.  I then started with 1 product and it did well right out of the gates.  However, by the end of last year, I still only had 4 or 5 products selling.

However, I could see the huge potential and so I set a goal to launch 15 new products in the first half of 2016.  I accomplished that goal.

In fact, Jake and I have been ambitiously launching products all year on Amazon…and we continue to do so.  You see, there are a couple of ways you can grow a business.  Get more sales from your existing products, or launch new products.

We certainly try to get as many sales out of our products as possible, but after analyzing things, I felt like the fastest way to grow was to launch additional products.

So, as of today, we now have 20 products live on Amazon! (And technically one of these products has 5 different variations, so we have 24 product listings).

This post is not meant to be a step by step guide on how to launch products, I’ve covered a bit of that in the past here and here.  However, in general, we’ve followed 3 different strategies when launching products.

  1. Launch nearly identical private label products to what competitors are already offering.  We find a manufacturer on that can slap our brand name on the product, order a minimum order quantity, and list it on Amazon.
  2. Quickly launch products using AliExpress with nothing unique or special branding.  There is basically no minimum order quantity on AliExpress.  So, we search for something that isn’t really selling on Amazon, then order 10 units or so and list them on Amazon.  If they can sell on their own without any special promotion, we then consider finding a manufacturer to make the product more unique and add our branding.
  3. Launch products with a unique angle – not exact copies like in strategy 1.  My very first products on Amazon were of this variety and sold extremely well right out of the gate.

Our best selling products are all from strategy 3, launching unique products.  This is obviously more difficult to do since you don’t always know exactly how the market is going to respond when you offer them something slightly different.

When I say “unique”, it doesn’t have to be patented.  I won’t be revealing any of my products; however, lets say you were looking into selling shower heads.  Perhaps there are square shower heads ranging in size from 2 inches to 10 inches.  Well, perhaps you come in as the only seller with a 12 inch shower-head.

You suddenly become the only seller on Amazon selling that exact size of shower-head.

So, from my experience over the last year and a half, the more unique offering you have, the better your products will do.

Earnings Report

Okay, now that you know that I’ve been ambitiously launching products, what has this done to the bottom line?

Here’s a look at some earnings numbers:


The above screenshot is from August 2016.  So, we sold just over $60k worth of product through Amazon…awesome!  You can also see that this is just about double what we were selling during August 2015.

I’m very happy with the growth of the business.

Now, unless someone thinks that $60k is actually how much money I put in my pocket, I’d like to share another screenshot that shows expenses as well.

The below screenshot is the month to date for September (as of Sept. 22nd).  This shows both top line revenue and net profit (after ALL Amazon fees and ALL manufacturing/shipping costs).


The above screenshot is from a tool called Inventory Lab.  I absolutely love Inventory Lab to track profits, losses, inventory, and more.  Using Amazon’s interface is difficult to find anything very accurate; whereas Inventory Lab calculates what is a giveaway product and what actual profits and losses are.

So, with about a week to go in September, I’m sitting at about a net profit of $16,000!  I’m very happy about that.

Now as you can see, some of the refunds, etc have not been pulled in from Amazon for the 9/18-9/24 week…so this will lower net profit by 1 or $2k; however, this screenshot is good enough to show you about where we are at.

Going International!

If my products are selling well in the US, would people would buy them in Europe as well?  I now know the answer to that question is yes.

Over the last few months, I shipped 2 of my best selling products to Amazon UK and started selling in Europe.  This was a long process and you have to jump through a few hoops.  However, after all the work, my 2 listings are now live and selling!

Here’s a quick look at the month of September for my Amazon UK listings:


Now remember, these Amazon screenshots include promotional units sold, so really the revenue is likely less than half of what is shown above.  The main point is that I’ve now dipped my toe into international commerce, and I’m seeing some good signs!

If all continues to go well, I see no reason to not bring over my additional products.

Fighting the Competition

When you have a unique product listing that is selling well, it’s only a matter of time before copy cats come along with their own knock-off version of your product.  I enjoyed a little over a year where I was literally the only one selling the exact variation of the product.

Now in the last couple of months I have at least 2 exact replicas of my product from copy-cats.  I am still the top listing because I’ve established myself with lots of positive review and age; however, the copy cats aren’t far behind.

Unfortunately, this is the name of the game and there is not much I can do about it.  As a result, my sales for a couple of my top products have taken a dip (but are still my best sellers).  This is one reason that my revenue isn’t higher.  (If you recall from an income report I did a few months ago, my revenue was also about $60k/mth).

The ultimate goal would be to create a product with an actual patent, so that I could fight off the copy cats.  However, there is still something to be said for being the “first” to market.  The copy cats still haven’t outranked my listing and I still enjoy the fruits of being the first to come out with my exact variation of a product.

I suspect that these people creating the listings are all users of Jungle Scout.  Jungle Scout is a great tool, but with so many people using it now, it’s hard to come out with a new product and avoid having thousands of people see your success.  Success breeds competition.

Another issue I’ve had to deal with more frequently is Hijackers.  These are basically other sellers that try to take over your listing.

Unfortunately, Amazon hasn’t been able to stop this problem on your own.  So, I’ve been using to monitor my listings for me. When a hijacker jumps on my listings, Listing Eagle sends me a text message, and then I send a message to the hijacker asking them to get off my listing.

They usually leave the listing pretty quick.

Bottom line is that just because you have a great selling product, doesn’t mean it’s going to last forever or that people won’t do everything they can to piggyback off your success.

What’s Next?

At this point, we’ve seen that our more unique ideas tend to sell the best and so we are going to focus more on that.  I would LOVE to come up with a patented idea, and hopefully I’ll be able to achieve that some day.

So, the plan is to continue growing my existing listings, go international, and then try to create more unique product offerings.

If you are selling products on Amazon, I would love to hear how its going for you.  If you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to leave your thoughts below.

The post Launching Products and Going International: Amazon FBA Update for August 2016 appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

from Niche Pursuits