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Idea threads

SamRussell

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That's pretty cool, thank you for sharing it.

When I first started writing books and they started selling, it was very easy for me to write a lot every day. I knew that my input translated into real-world rewards.

But when you're on a roll it's quite easy to do that.

It's only when you're not getting anything out of a given activity that you can see if you really can't NOT do it. For example, I had a business helping people publish books. The moment I shut it down, I stopped helping people publish books. I could very easily stop doing it. But I've never stopped writing.



They're too different. Forums and, to a smaller extent, Facebook groups are about exchanging longer responses and generally sharing more thoughts in a more focused way. Social media is mostly about interruption, catchy content, and—what makes it so inefficient for writers—recency (only new content gets exposure).



From my observation, dating, health, and wealth primarily apply to Internet marketers and their digital or physical products promising fast results (usually scams). Weight loss pills. Get your ex back ebooks. A rapidly scalable passive income system.

The problem with newsletters is that they don't sell a specific solution. In each issue you're writing about something different. Yes, a cycling newsletter will help cyclists but its value isn't the same as a better bike, more comfortable biking shorts, or skill-specific coaching.

It's like with my discomfort newsletter. I highly doubt I'd have more than a few paid subscribers. But I'm pretty sure if I were to write an ebook solving a specific problem (say, how to bounce back after letting yourself go too much) it would sell many more copies (still not enough to consider it a real business, though).



And the worst thing is that many writers today accept this as the current state of things. There's very little focus on writing timeless pieces because the most popular places where people now post content don't reward you for it. The platforms prefer a new repetitive piece of content every day than an occasional thought-out piece that would still provide value a few years from now.



Sounds like an awesome business opportunity for a productized service.

The platforms might, but Google is another matter. I was using a blog to promote my online guitar courses a while ago. While I don't sell anything from it, it pulls over 3000 people a month from SEO. I haven't updated it for a few months and the popular articles still pull a consistent amount of people from Google.

So Google will reward well written long form writing. If you want to write quality long form articles, maybe a blog format will work for you, as a vehicle to have your writing do something, if nothing else.
 
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KushShah9492

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Glad to hear it's working for you and that you consider it fun.

To me Twitter is a cesspool I'm not willing to touch again.
I understand it can be toxic.

It took me some time to get rid of that feeling as well. It all boils down to who you follow and how intentional you are with the content consumption there.

But again, it might not work for everyone.
 

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The platforms might, but Google is another matter. I was using a blog to promote my online guitar courses a while ago. While I don't sell anything from it, it pulls over 3000 people a month from SEO. I haven't updated it for a few months and the popular articles still pull a consistent amount of people from Google.

So Google will reward well written long form writing. If you want to write quality long form articles, maybe a blog format will work for you, as a vehicle to have your writing do something, if nothing else.

Yes, I actually bought an SEO course some time ago. But then I realized it wasn't really aimed at people who want to build a long-lasting business. Most SEO tactics are just that—tactics that eventually stop working. The Facebook group for the course shows this pretty well with people often posting about how their traffic dropped overnight to like 10-20% of what it was.

I assume in your case you simply write about long tail keywords and don't do any crappy backlinking and stuff like that?
 

SamRussell

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Yes, I actually bought an SEO course some time ago. But then I realized it wasn't really aimed at people who want to build a long-lasting business. Most SEO tactics are just that—tactics that eventually stop working. The Facebook group for the course shows this pretty well with people often posting about how their traffic dropped overnight to like 10-20% of what it was.

I assume in your case you simply write about long tail keywords and don't do any crappy backlinking and stuff like that?

Semi long tail keywords... my more popular articles aren't that long tail and rank for quite common terms.

I had SEO explained to me in the following way:
  1. If it's something instructional, target beginners
  2. Break your article up with <H1>, <H2> etc tags for your sub headings. 200-400 words per sub heading.
  3. Use your meta data, alt, description and image file name on images. SEO meta.
  4. Choose the right keywords, ideally ones that convert. Some of @Andy Black's Google Ad threads are probably relevant to this.
  5. Have a fast loading site

Backlinks do make a big difference, I have two important links. I wrote an article that praised some software I use, then asked that company to repost it with a backlink. They did and my traffic jumped nearly overnight. If I could be bothered I could probably get more doing this, but as the traffic isn't buying I'm not too interested in investing into the blog at the moment.

I had a call with one of the support team at Ubersuggest (Neil Patel's SEO company) a while ago, and put it into a post here: The 4 Pillars of SEO + 5 Step Guide to Improving Your SEO
 
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Semi long tail keywords... my more popular articles aren't that long tail and rank for quite common terms.

I had SEO explained to me in the following way:
  1. If it's something instructional, target beginners
  2. Break your article up with <H1>, <H2> etc tags for your sub headings. 200-400 words per sub heading.
  3. Use your meta data, alt, description and image file name on images. SEO meta.
  4. Choose the right keywords, ideally ones that convert. Some of @Andy Black's Google Ad threads are probably relevant to this.
  5. Have a fast loading site

Backlinks do make a big difference, I have two important links. I wrote an article that praised some software I use, then asked that company to repost it with a backlink. They did and my traffic jumped nearly overnight. If I could be bothered I could probably get more doing this, but as the traffic isn't buying I'm not too interested in investing into the blog at the moment.

I had a call with one of the support team at Ubersuggest (Neil Patel's SEO company) a while ago, and put it into a post here: The 4 Pillars of SEO + 5 Step Guide to Improving Your SEO

Thank you, that sounds way more sensible than all the crap with buying backlinks, creating Tier 1 and Tier 2 PBNs with crappy content, etc.
 

Andy Black

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They're too different. Forums and, to a smaller extent, Facebook groups are about exchanging longer responses and generally sharing more thoughts in a more focused way. Social media is mostly about interruption, catchy content, and—what makes it so inefficient for writers—recency (only new content gets exposure).
Thanks for this! I couldn't put my finger on it.

I bought quite a few inexpensive courses and just didn't want to write the way they recommended. My writing in the forum is much more natural, even when I create a thread from scratch.

And the worst thing is that many writers today accept this as the current state of things. There's very little focus on writing timeless pieces because the most popular places where people now post content don't reward you for it. The platforms prefer a new repetitive piece of content every day than an occasional thought-out piece that would still provide value a few years from now.
Last year I was super active on Twitter for a bit. I went to a family event and didn't log in for a week. When I did I had ZERO notifications. All my daily content had sunk beneath the waves and was getting no visibility.

Simultaneously. I had an email from a US university asking if they could link their students to a video on my YouTube channel. That video is a few years old and I hadn't posted to YouTube for months.

I dropped Twitter immediately. I should have focused on YouTube but I was trying to avoid it ... because I find YouTube too fascinating and video editing too much fun. It was something I had to force myself NOT to do. Duh.

Sounds like an awesome business opportunity for a productized service.
Funny you say that. The two most recent marketplace ads are for monthly video editing services. I even replied to one saying I'd be interested in the service except I want to figure it out and then train my kids up on it.

You should have a look at the tools that are available to help now @MTF.

There's AI tools that can:
  • Help you write a draft video script.
  • Narrate the video script.
  • Narrate in YOUR voice after you've trained them!
  • Create unique royalty free music in a style you specify for the length of your video.
  • Create unique royalty free artwork in a style you specify.
  • Choose b-roll video or images to match the content of each scene in your written script (this seems the most flaky out of the above).
I'd like to get more into YouTube Ads but clients rarely have any video assets. If I can get the assets created for organic marketing I can also do so for YouTube Ads. And YouTube Ads are part of Google Ads as well!

Seriously... wtf was i thinking avoiding YouTube this year?!?
 
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Andy Black

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The platforms might, but Google is another matter. I was using a blog to promote my online guitar courses a while ago. While I don't sell anything from it, it pulls over 3000 people a month from SEO. I haven't updated it for a few months and the popular articles still pull a consistent amount of people from Google.

So Google will reward well written long form writing. If you want to write quality long form articles, maybe a blog format will work for you, as a vehicle to have your writing do something, if nothing else.
I forgot to mention this in my post above. Google and YouTube would be my preferred "channels". Adding a well structured YouTube video to an article on your site can help the SEO, and the video can get ranked on Google too.

I'm tidying up my YouTube videos so the transcription is more readable, and will then figure out how to embed the YouTube video and transcription into articles on my own site for the SEO.
 

Cameraman

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My conclusion so far is that you need to be very clear about what you want to do:

1. A free newsletter that relies on sponsorships needs to be about a big niche. Otherwise you won't make much money. The rates, depending on the newsletter, are somewhere between $100-$500 for 10,000 views for a single short text ad.

So if you have a newsletter with 20,000 subscribers and 50% open rates, you're only going to make $100-500 per newsletter. If you send it weekly, that's at most $2,000 a month for a quite sizable newsletter. You can have more sponsors but then you need to charge lower rates so either way that's not much money.

That's why being in a large niche is so important. You'll have a very hard time finding 500,000 people to subscribe to a newsletter about permaculture compared to finding 500,000 people interested in tech startups. You'll also struggle to find a sponsor for the former (while it'll be quite easy for the latter).

2. A free newsletter that relies on affiliate marketing and/or selling your own products requires you to be very good at selling and copywriting. The business model then becomes more about Internet marketing than actually writing the newsletter. You'll have to balance very well regular content with commercial stuff or people will unsubscribe.

3. A paid newsletter seems like the most stable and reliable business model. The only caveat is that there's churn and that you won't be able to make it work for many niches. Paid newsletters mostly work for topics that may possibly generate financial returns for the subscriber (stuff like investing, business, etc.).
I read this yesterday and the subsequent thoughts/ideas this morning. There's some great material.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "be very clear about what you want to do". I publish a monthly newsletter in the photography and photo editing niche that's free. My list is small (around 12,000 subscribers) and growth is slow (+150 per month after cleaning). I do make some money from affiliate products but that's not why I do it. As I think someone already quoted, I do it because I can't not do it.

But there is a great benefit from the newsletter that I haven't seen mentioned here - it builds trust and loyalty. When I release a new book or course, those subscribers I've been helping buy my offering. Launching a new book or product becomes easy and I often end up on the Amazon best seller list purely because of my subscribers. Having 1,000 buy your book on the first day is great for your Amazon ranking

To my mind, a well-written newsletter builds a stronger bond with your audience than you will achieve with Social Media. You then have to work out how to make that relationship pay for your effort in a way you feel comfortable with.
 

Andy Black

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I read this yesterday and the subsequent thoughts/ideas this morning. There's some great material.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "be very clear about what you want to do". I publish a monthly newsletter in the photography and photo editing niche that's free. My list is small (around 12,000 subscribers) and growth is slow (+150 per month after cleaning). I do make some money from affiliate products but that's not why I do it. As I think someone already quoted, I do it because I can't not do it.

But there is a great benefit from the newsletter that I haven't seen mentioned here - it builds trust and loyalty. When I release a new book or course, those subscribers I've been helping buy my offering. Launching a new book or product becomes easy and I often end up on the Amazon best seller list purely because of my subscribers. Having 1,000 buy your book on the first day is great for your Amazon ranking

To my mind, a well-written newsletter builds a stronger bond with your audience than you will achieve with Social Media. You then have to work out how to make that relationship pay for your effort in a way you feel comfortable with.
Do you send a newsletter when you upload a new video on YouTube? Does that help the video get traction too?
 
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Cameraman

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Do you send a newsletter when you upload a new video on YouTube? Does that help the video get traction too?
No, I don't although I do have the facility in the software. I send my newsletter once a month on the first Saturday.

Interestingly I have been considering publishing an additional weekly video where I demonstrate editing a photo. My idea was to then promote that on another blog I run. I've been struggling to find ideas for that and thought tieing everything together could be helpful and repurpose some content. I like that you also thought about this.
 

Andy Black

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No, I don't although I do have the facility in the software. I send my newsletter once a month on the first Saturday.

Interestingly I have been considering publishing an additional weekly video where I demonstrate editing a photo. My idea was to then promote that on another blog I run. I've been struggling to find ideas for that and thought tieing everything together could be helpful and repurpose some content. I like that you also thought about this.
My thinking is that some people will never buy from us, but get value from our free content. I'd like to get a value exchange from them, and I think their views and comments on a brand new YouTube video is a great value exchange. If that helps the video get traction and show in front of new people then that's an amazing value exchange.

Try sending a short email telling people every time you upload a new video? Sell the click on the video, and maybe even encourage people to interact with you in the video comments instead of replying to the email? Maybe that will also create a community in the comments?
 

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I bought quite a few inexpensive courses and just didn't want to write the way they recommended. My writing in the forum is much more natural, even when I create a thread from scratch.

I think I've only read one or two "modern" books on writing. I also didn't want to write the way they recommend. It's because their advice focuses on gimmicks. It's not timeless and is overly obsessed on satisfying the algorithms over serving readers.

Last year I was super active on Twitter for a bit. I went to a family event and didn't log in for a week. When I did I had ZERO notifications. All my daily content had sunk beneath the waves and was getting no visibility.

Simultaneously. I had an email from a US university asking if they could link their students to a video on my YouTube channel. That video is a few years old and I hadn't posted to YouTube for months.

I dropped Twitter immediately. I should have focused on YouTube but I was trying to avoid it ... because I find YouTube too fascinating and video editing too much fun. It was something I had to force myself NOT to do. Duh.

That's a great little story that perfectly shows the difference between creating evergreen content (and still getting returns many years later) and feeding the social media monster (and getting nothing in return).

You should have a look at the tools that are available to help now @MTF.

I don't really like video. I watch YouTube but most of the time I prefer reading. And as for production, I find video-making extremely hard and time-consuming compared to writing. Not my skill set at all. And I had a period of time (a couple of months) when I was into filmmaking and edited some travel videos.

Seriously... wtf was i thinking avoiding YouTube this year?!?

Sometimes we're blind to what's right in front of us.

My thinking is that some people will never buy from us, but get value from our free content. I'd like to get a value exchange from them, and I think their views and comments on a brand new YouTube video is a great value exchange. If that helps the video get traction and show in front of new people then that's an amazing value exchange.

I used this for getting early reviews. If they aren't going to buy the book then at least they could take the time to read the book and post a review when it comes out.
 
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I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "be very clear about what you want to do". I publish a monthly newsletter in the photography and photo editing niche that's free. My list is small (around 12,000 subscribers) and growth is slow (+150 per month after cleaning). I do make some money from affiliate products but that's not why I do it. As I think someone already quoted, I do it because I can't not do it.

What is your average open rate for a monthly newsletter? I think it's the first time I hear about a monthly newsletter. I'd assume that most subscribers would forget about you (and particularly those who sign up 1-2 days after you send a new newsletter and have to wait a full month for another issue).

But there is a great benefit from the newsletter that I haven't seen mentioned here - it builds trust and loyalty. When I release a new book or course, those subscribers I've been helping buy my offering. Launching a new book or product becomes easy and I often end up on the Amazon best seller list purely because of my subscribers. Having 1,000 buy your book on the first day is great for your Amazon ranking

That's a great conversion rate then. I have a list of 30,000+ subscribers for my pen name and when I was still publishing books I could get at most 200-300 sales from the list. But it was low-quality due to many freebie seekers signing up for it (if I were to build a list again, I would NOT offer anything more than a little gift for signing up).
 

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Thank you, that sounds way more sensible than all the crap with buying backlinks, creating Tier 1 and Tier 2 PBNs with crappy content, etc.

Adding to the topic of natural, safe SEO, here's an awesome no-hype video that pretty much covers all the fundamentals of SEO that generate results:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGtcEFjD81I


I'm now actually tempted to start a blog and just write dozens of articles targeting long tail keywords and answering people's questions that nobody else answers.
 

Andy Black

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I don't really like video. I watch YouTube but most of the time I prefer reading. And as for production, I find video-making extremely hard and time-consuming compared to writing. Not my skill set at all. And I had a period of time (a couple of months) when I was into filmmaking and edited some travel videos.
Your skillset and superpower seems to be research and writing. I'd say that's the most important part of creating good videos for subjects people want to watch. You do your part and create the great blog posts, then use tools and/or other people to create audio and video from your source?

For a long time I thought the process was video first, then extract the audio then the written word. I feel that's backwards (and lazy) now. Create the written content first, then create the audio and video from it.

I think you've the skillset to catch the wave @MTF. What if your mindset, business skills, and marketing skills were as good as your research and writing skills?
 
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What is your average open rate for a monthly newsletter?
I've just checked and it's running at 56.55% for the past 6 months.

To be honest, I've never really worried about my newsletter being monthly. I couldn't really manage more frequent editions. I just try to make it as helpful and interesting as possible. It then gets shared around a lot and generates 20-30 new subscribers a month.

Something I learned pretty early is that list quality is extremely important. I clean my list monthly by removing bounces and unsubscribes. I also check for honey-pot email addresses used to capture SPAM and remove those. Then annually I look for the subscribers who haven't read an email in the past 24 months and remove them. I know I could be removing people who block tracking but I've found most complaints of SPAM came from this group.

I do use a freebie for sign up which is a 50-page ebook. I also include a discount for a longer, more comprehensive book at the end which leads to some sales.
 

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I'm now actually tempted to start a blog and just write dozens of articles targeting long tail keywords and answering people's questions that nobody else answers.
Or answering questions that people do answer, but badly or differently?

If you've not listened to "Who have you helped?" then the gist of it was that Tony had built a blog to no avail. I asked him who he'd helped and he realised he hadn't helped anyone. He then went to Quorra and started answering questions and the rest was history. He could then take his answers and put them on a blog, knowing they're battle-tested and help people.
 

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For a long time I thought the process was video first, then extract the audio then the written word. I feel that's backwards (and lazy) now. Create the written content first, then create the audio and video from it.
Absolutely script first.

Work out your idea and how you will present it.
Develop a title with a good hook along with a thumbnail.
Script and record the video. I use Dragon naturally speaking to dictate my script and then read through it aloud a couple of times to get it tight.
I can then rework the script into an article which I publish on my website.

Repurpose as much content as you can.
 
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SamRussell

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I'm now actually tempted to start a blog and just write dozens of articles targeting long tail keywords and answering people's questions that nobody else answers.

From reading your posts, I think this would be a good fit for "you". Y'know, being a stranger on the internet :rofl:
 

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Absolutely script first.

Work out your idea and how you will present it.
Develop a title with a good hook along with a thumbnail.
Script and record the video. I use Dragon naturally speaking to dictate my script and then read through it aloud a couple of times to get it tight.
I can then rework the script into an article which I publish on my website.

Repurpose as much content as you can.
I'm going to try both ways.

One of my superpowers is presenting live. It pulls out content I wouldn't have thought of that I can then edit down to fast-paced and energetic content.

I also know a guy who produces a course per week. He creates a sideshow beforehand, then does a live workshop going through it. He's very slick, even stop/starting the Zoom recording between sections so they end up in a different module to upload.
 

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One of my superpowers is presenting live. It pulls out content I wouldn't have tbought of that I can then edit down to fast-paced and energetic content.
It certainly is and I like the content you released. It would be worth changing things up to test, especially if you have other ways to reuse the content. I would even be tempted to use the two together. Perhaps have the live session followed by a short explainer section (scripted and slightly slower paced) followed by another live piece. I don't know if it would work but it could be worth a try.
 
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It certainly is and I like the content you released. It would be worth changing things up to test, especially if you have other ways to reuse the content. I would even be tempted to use the two together. Perhaps have the live session followed by a short explainer section (scripted and slightly slower paced) followed by another live piece. I don't know if it would work but it could be worth a try.
Yeah, I was thinking that maybe I add an intro and outro to that video I published this morning.
 

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Sometimes we're blind to what's right in front of us.
And that's the beauty of forums and interacting with people. If other people don't point out your blind spots then sometimes you reveal them as you chatter.
 

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Your skillset and superpower seems to be research and writing. I'd say that's the most important part of creating good videos for subjects people want to watch. You do your part and create the great blog posts, then use tools and/or other people to create audio and video from your source?

Audio is super easy to create with BeyondWords.io. In the last 30 days I had 1285 unique visitors on my site and 174 unique listeners of my articles (turned with BeyondWords into audio). So it's almost 15% of my audience using this feature.

All that would be left would be to somehow turn it into an interesting video.

I do use a freebie for sign up which is a 50-page ebook. I also include a discount for a longer, more comprehensive book at the end which leads to some sales.

That's a good way to do it. It's not a full-length book but it's valuable enough. I like the discount as well. I do that in one of my newsletter as well.

Or answering questions that people do answer, but badly or differently?

If you've not listened to "Who have you helped?" then the gist of it was that Tony had built a blog to no avail. I asked him who he'd helped and he realised he hadn't helped anyone. He then went to Quorra and started answering questions and the rest was history. He could then take his answers and put them on a blog, knowing they're battle-tested and help people.

In that SEO video I linked to the guy talks about an example of someone writing a rant article and getting no visitors and then writing about the same topic but writing it optimized for what people are asking and need help with. Sounds like a similar thing.

From reading your posts, I think this would be a good fit for "you". Y'know, being a stranger on the internet :rofl:

Haha okay. I'm looking for an existing content website to acquire and improve but perhaps in the meantime I could play with a new website to test this theory.

One super interesting thing I learned from that SEO video I linked to is that keyword tools can't give accurate estimates for long tail keywords. The guy from the video said that they wrote articles for long tail keywords that supposedly got 0-10 searches a month (according to keyword tools) that are actually generating hundreds to thousands of visitors a month to their website.
 
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One super interesting thing I learned from that SEO video I linked to is that keyword tools can't give accurate estimates for long tail keywords. The guy from the video said that they wrote articles for long tail keywords that supposedly got 0-10 searches a month (according to keyword tools) that are actually generating hundreds to thousands of visitors a month to their website.
We tell clients to ignore the estimates and run a data gathering Google Ads campaign to count impressions.
 

SamRussell

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One super interesting thing I learned from that SEO video I linked to is that keyword tools can't give accurate estimates for long tail keywords. The guy from the video said that they wrote articles for long tail keywords that supposedly got 0-10 searches a month (according to keyword tools) that are actually generating hundreds to thousands of visitors a month to their website.

That's worth knowing - I was planning my keywords around recommendations from tools a while ago... but it's good to know that it's worth experimenting with long tail ideas and not rely exclusively on the tools.
 

Cameraman

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That's worth knowing - I was planning my keywords around recommendations from tools a while ago... but it's good to know that it's worth experimenting with long tail ideas and not rely exclusively on the tools.
Don't lose sight of the fact you can target any keywords you like with an article but that doesn't mean Google will rank you for that. You will though find it easier to rank for long tail keywords initially. If Google deems the article is good it will then begin ranking for other related, often more competitive keywords. The difference with Google Ads is that you target the keyword accurately.
 
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Supa

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I write a lot in this forum.
I've been trying to figure out how publish a lot of that content outside the forum.

As mentioned above, I've had a play on Twitter and more recently on LinkedIn, but the content disappears really fast on those platforms and it felt like being on a content treadmill.

I suppose I could get books written out of a lot of my content, but that seems like hard work and it's not on my bucket list.

What fascinates me is YouTube and video. I keep coming back to it even when I try not to.

What I've been wondering recently is... how can I take written content and create videos from it?

(It's 1:25am here. I'll come back to this.)
The School of Life does that. They have animated videos but you can also read them as articles on their site.
 

Cameraman

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Adding to the topic of natural, safe SEO, here's an awesome no-hype video that pretty much covers all the fundamentals of SEO that generate results:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGtcEFjD81I


I'm now actually tempted to start a blog and just write dozens of articles targeting long tail keywords and answering people's questions that nobody else answers.
Thanks for sharing the video. I've watched a few on this channel now. Whilst they are selling their services there is also so good, valuable content on there. If nothing, it's helping me become more organised.

I also wanted to mention Genius Link in case you don't know about it. It may be useful in your newsletter if you want to pull in some affiliate income and also when you promote a new book launch.

The service allows you to localise Amazon books and products with a single link. You create a link to your book or product and when someone clicks it, they go to Amazon US, UK or whichever is the right Amazon store for their country. Providing you are signed up to that country's affiliate program you get the commission and because people end up on the correct Amazon site they are more likely to buy.

The service supports a list of other affiliate offers as well as Amazon. You can even create smart links that present the viewer with options of where to purchase e.g. Amazon, Apple or B&N. I've been using them for several years and found them reliable, cheap ($5 pm) and it's always paid for itself.

They do have a free version just for books called Booklinker but it's not that good and the full Genius Link product seems much better.
 

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