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Sections:
-Overview
-Tasks
-Mark Your Progress
-Ask a Question

OVERVIEW

This week we’re adding a new strategy to your mix. The community event. It’s hard to get people to sign up for a newsletter – for yet another email – so we’re going to use the temptation of an event and the FOMO (fear of missing out) as motivation.

Community events are the perfect way to leverage FOMO because it involves bringing together your community of readers plus sharing some secret stuff. It also gives you another way to keep banging the drum and promoting your list without becoming repetitive. It’s a big project to launch this so we’re going to break it into four weeks. Two weeks for prep and two weeks for promotion. (And as always we should continue to blog and post on social media as normal, this is above and beyond our regular blogging).

You should plan on about six hours per week for this project. A word of warning: it’s easy to deep dive on this and spend entirely too much time on it. One of the key skills successful bloggers learn is how to pull something out of thin air, doing the most with the least. Those people who get stuck or spend tons of time on each project, tend to stall.

If you’re getting stuck or moving slowly, that’s okay, just see it, shake it off and think: what could I do to get this part done in the next hour? You can’t get back time you have spent but you can end the cycle. The main triggers tend to be (in my experience!): over-analyzing, over-researching, fear of proceeding without total understanding, looking for the perfect idea, being afraid of doing it wrong, procrastinating, feeling like an imposter, and anxiety-fueled freezing.

I say all of this now, because I know from experience that when I introduce community events or any other big push to put yourself out there in a public way, the first reaction is: yikes, but what if no one shows up?

Well, we’re going to protect you from the embarrasement of that. If no one shows up (and trust me, people will show up) then no one has to know. We’re not doing anything that will reveal the total count of people at your event. It’s promoted and teased as a community event, but really it’s a series of emails to your subscribers and that’s it. It’s a test. Once this goes well, you can branch out into events with a FB group aspect or other online gathering that will rely on there being more than just three people in the chat room. But not yet.

So I will keep you safe. You won’t totally understand this process at first, but going through the steps will illuminate that path for you, so you can recreate it over and over again. This technique of list building is fantastic because it also connects you to your readers and will drive up your general engagement. You’re deepening the bond. You’re building community. For real.

How to Create a Community Event:

This has been my bread and butter throughout the years. I always have a freebie, and I get a lot of subscribers from it, but I have always run community events, like challenges, prompts and mini-courses.

How does it work?

CONCEPT:
– Think of a challenge, a motivational prompt series, or something you can teach in a mini-course.
– Come up with a length of time that is highly motivating – they’ll get a lot of of it but won’t scare people off either (somewhere between 7-30 days).

SETUP:
– Create a tag (convertkit) or separate list (mailchimp) just for this event (you will merge it back into your newsletter list afterwards.
– Set up your automation workflow in Mailchimp or Convert Kit
– Write the daily emails and put them in your automation

PROMOTE:
– Write an amazing sales letter in the form of a blog post that is going to convert, convert, convert
– Create a Pinterest post to share
– Consider running FB ads, if that’s something you want to do

You will be promoting this for two weeks before it begins, so you do not have to have it all the way finished. We are just starting this now, but we’ll finish it next week. Two weeks prep, then two weeks promotion, then it launches. This is a month-long lead up.

Inventing a challenge, a motivational prompt series, or something you can teach in a mini-course

There are certain kinds of tasks that people like to do together in a group. It’s typically things that are hard, boring, or easy to avoid and they want the community support. Saving money, losing weight, changing bad habits, creating new habits, writing, photography, creating art, fasting, or exercise.

Is there something related to your blog that you could do? Take a look on Pinterest for ideas – just search your niche plus “challenge” and see if anything comes up.

If there isn’t something you can create as a challenge or motivational prompt series (a challenge has an end goal, a prompt series is just to get people doing a task, like writing), can you teach something?

What do you know how to do? What do people value? What’s the number one problem your readers have? Could you teach them how to figure out something tricky? Can you make their lives way better? Is someone already teaching this and charging for it? Take a look at Udemy and search for ideas in your niche. It’s okay if it already exists, the process of creating it will stamp your personal style on it.

Come up with a length of time that is highly motivating

This is going to be specific to the task. If it’s hard and unsavory, you want it short. 7 Days to Kickstart Your Savings is better than 180 Days to Kickstart Your Savings (gah!).

However, if it’s about STICKING to something, you want to stretch it out. 30 Days of Healthy Eating is more motivating than a mere seven days.

What will my content be?

It’s going to be emails sent to the subscriber once a day. They only have to be about 100-200 words. You want to give them a piece of wisdom per day, then move on. These are not full blog posts. (Although if you’re motivated to write more, do it, it doesn’t hurt if it’s interesting/helpful). You might want an interesting/beautiful photo for each day. If you’re handy with Pinterest you can make each day a pinnable image and encourage sharing (just a thought, not required!).

What should I do this week (for this event)?

Of course you can jump ahead, but this is a big project. I just want you to do two things this week:

1. Come up with a concept
2. Write an amazing sales letter in the form of a blog post that is going to convert, convert, convert

We’ve already talked about the concept, however, it’s one of those things that’s so deeply connected to the topic of your blog, it’s hard for me to give you generic advice. Please pop into the FB group and ask questions if you’re stuck for your blog. I’ll happily give you ideas and I know the group will have plenty too.

Then, I like to write the sales letter before I write my content for the series. It’s kind of like titling a post before you write it, it helps you think about how to FRAME what you’re doing. If you write the sales letter first, you’re more likely to make big promises, then force your content to live up to it. If you write the content first, you’re going to downplay how good it is. Just human nature! So write your marketing copy first then reverse engineer your content around it. Much easier!

The big, bad, sexy sales pitch

There’s a formula to this and you can take the pieces you like or what works and ignore the rest. I’m going to give you all the pieces – and if you want to use them all, great!

ELEMENTS:

Controversal question
Story
Common Objections
Introduce “Another Way”
Specific Desires
Link to the Signup
What is it?
Link Again
Image
Signup Form

So for example, imagine I’m going to do a “30 Day Book Writing Challenge”.

“(Question) Imagine if writing your book was fast and easy?

(Story) When I wrote my first book, in 2012, I did it all wrong. I spent six months writing the first draft, sweating over every detail, then my editor sent me back notes that required me to re-work the entire thing. There was no structure! No plan! No way I was going to be able to just “edit” these changes in. I had to re-write the entire book.

(Another way) When I did it a second time, I approach it completely differently. I made an outline. I planned themes. I created lists of research and studies I wanted to incorporate. The entire writing process changed for me. Instead of slugging it out everyday trying to wring out a new chapter, sitting down to write was a breeze. I had a set of goals for each chapter and writing around them felt incredible. I had my writing confidence back again!

(Desires) Do you want to write a book? Tell your story? Find out if you’d love being a writer as much as you think you will?

(Link) Join us for a 30 day book writing challenge here: link

(What is it?) It’s 30 days of prompts and guidance to get you started on your writing path the RIGHT way. You’ll join other writers as we outline our books, plan our themes and collect our research. Oh and it’s completely free to join.

(Link) Just sign up here and we’ll start on May 15th: link

(Image) Image with Pinterest style text over it (30 day writing challenge!)

(Form) Sign up form”

You will not be publishing this yet! Just write it and hold it. Next week you’ll do your event workflow (in your mailing list provider – we’re going to talk about automation workflows) and write your content for the event.

You’ll also do a deeper dive on Pinterest as you start to use that more regularly (so if you’re already playing with Tailwind, you’re ahead of the game, we’ll have a complete workflow next week).

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS

Write and publish at least two blog posts, create your event concept, write your sales pitch (and hold it) and keep social media going.

If you just started your mailing list and you haven’t established a newsletter yet, it’s been two weeks: it’s time to send out a newsletter.

Have you decided what you’ll write? Here’s some notes on that from WEEK ONE:

Newsletter Concepts

A newsletter can be written like a letter to your readers with links that your most recent posts (like David Lebovitz’s) or a list of 10 things (like Austin Kleon’s) or a letter plus full versions of all your latest posts (like Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter) or it can be an image heavy round up of JUST your latest posts (like Fatherly’s).

The decision I’d like you to (quickly) make this week is how you’re going to frame this newsletter. There’s not right or wrong choice but you should decide:

-will you write an intro letter?
-will you round up content outside of your blog posts?
-do you want it to be image heavy or text-based?

The days of doing exhaustive new content just for your newsletter are long gone. A newsletter these days is largely the same as what you’d get on the blog, just in digest form. Personalizing it with a letter or links to cool (related) content can be a nice touch.

It’s more about the style of your site and whether you feel like you’d have something to say every two weeks. A personal letter is more personal, so if your blog is about you and your life, then writing a little blurb before your latest posts can be a way to make a newsletter feel more natural. If you’re writing as an expert or you have a resource site, I probably wouldn’t include an intro letter (see the Fatherly example).

How to send out a newsletter:

Mailchimp:

-Under Campaigns, choose new campaign.
-Name it something meaningful to you (Newsletter/DATE)
-Choose “regular” if you want HTML formatting or Text for text-formating. The folks in Convertkit all use text formating because it’s more simple and better for mobile. Your choice. Press Next.
-Then choose your list. Press Next.
-Write your Subject Line (don’t just call it newsletter – try to incorporate your post topics or a theme, like “Deep Immersion in Mexico, Too Many Tacos and More…”)
-Create your newsletter. Intro letter? Big image on top? Your choice. Then write out the latest posts with links and a short description of each.
-Then preview/test your email (I always send a copy to myself and click every link to make sure they ALL work, every time, every year, forever and ever, it’s part of the job. The ONE time you don’t, it’ll be wrong. Seriously.)
-Ready to send? Send it!

Convertkit:

-Under Broadcasts, choose New Broadcast
-Choose ALL and edit your email (if necessary)
-Click Next Step
-Write your Subject Line (don’t just call it newsletter – try to incorporate your post topics or a theme, like “Deep Immersion in Mexico, Too Many Tacos and More…”)
-Create your newsletter. Intro letter? Big image on top? Your choice. Then write out the latest posts with links and a short description of each. (BTW not loving the default templates? You can read more about templates here. But note, you do not need a fancy template – simple text is best. Seriously.)
-Then preview/test your email (I always send a copy to myself and click every link to make sure they ALL work, every time, every year, forever and ever, it’s part of the job. The ONE time you don’t, it’ll be wrong. Seriously.)
-Ready to send? Send it!

How to set up your email with Siteground and Gmail (if that’s your webhost):

(Thanks to course member Tammy Sas-Mayaux for these tips!)

In SiteGround (after setting up your site)

1. Sign in
2. Click on My Accounts
3. Find the website you want to make an email for
4. Click on “Go to Cpanel”
5. Click on “Email Accounts”
6. Create your new email accounts and write down the password you choose

Gmail
** Using a regular computer or laptop (not a mobile phone or tablet).
** Sign in to whatever free gmail account you want to connect with your domain accounts.

1. Click on the image of a gear on the far right of the Gmail inbox window.
2. Select “Settings”
3. Select “Accounts and Import”
4. Choose: “Check mail from other accounts”
5. Choose: “Import emails from my other account (POP3)”
6. Enter the password information that you had previously chosen on SiteGround for that specific email address ** ALSO – double check the website linked here for specific details about which Port to use and whether to use SSL or TLS. At the time of writing this, SiteGround suggested using SSL and port 465)
7. Add an email address to the “Send Mail As” section of this tab.
8. Select the email you want as your “default email”
9. Select the option you want for “When replying to a message”

TASKS

1 Add your last week’s NEW subscribers (not total) to the spreadsheet

Each week we’re going to record our progress. This will not only give you a way to track your week-to-week changes, it’ll also give you an idea of how the rest of the class is doing.

The spreadsheet is here.

2 Decide on your community event concept

Personally, I love a good challenge – I just think of something I’d like to achieve and that I’d be willing to go through the process with my readers… But I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!

3 Write your big, bad, sexy sales pitch

You almost can’t go wrong if you use the formula I’ve given you, but there’s a lot of flexibility in how you implement this and matching your blog’s style and tone are key.

4 Send out your first newsletter

This is a little tricky and you’ll want to test like mad, but after the first one you have a template and an idea of how you’ll approach it so it becomes much easier.

5 Blog post #1

Are you keeping up with your blogging?

6 Blog post #2

If you’re not sure what to write, check out this quick guide (with a few dozen post ideas too).

7 Get at least 5 comments on each post

This effort doesn’t end… it’s every single week. That’s why we don’t post 5 posts a week, it’s too hard to also do all that promotion. Are you hitting this number? If not, don’t worry about going backwards, focus on every NEW post. You will get there. (PS that newsletter you’re sending out this week should help!)

8 Post on social media 1x per day to keep things moving

Keep all the balls in the air! We want to continue to engage on our networks, even when we’re knee-deep in ebook planning.

9 If you’ve fallen behind, use this week to catch up

You can’t catch up on missed blog posts or social media, so let that go, but if you don’t have your mailing list or ebook done yet (see week 1 and 2) make it a priority to get that done. You’re on a media diet. No consuming TV, movies, internet until you get it done. Go to it! I will be checking with everyone next week to make sure you are with me.

Mark Your Progress

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1Add your last week’s NEW subscribers (not total) to the spreadsheet
2Decide on your community event concept
3Write your big, bad, sexy sales pitch
4Send out your first newsletter
5Blog post #1
6Blog post #2
7Get at least 5 comments on each post
8Post on social media 1x per day to keep things moving
9If you’ve fallen behind, use this week to catch up

Ask a Question

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