An Interview with Jordan McCollum- How She Branded Herself as a Blogging Expert in Less than One Year
She’s a search engine optimization expert and the assistant editor of Andy Beal’s A-List blog Marketing Pilgrim.
She’s also the proud mom of a 17 month old and the author of MamaBlogga, a blog chronicling her adventures in motherhood and helping others to find fulfillment and meaning in motherhood.
If you’re wondering how she so quickly and successfully branded herself as an industry/blogging expert and how you can too, read on.
The fact that 6,000+ subscribers at Marketing Pilgrim read Jordan’s search engine marketing news and opinions every Monday through Friday didn’t happen by accident. Jordan is a fantastic example of someone who knows how to promote herself and seek out new opportunities.
Before leaving the corporate environment to spend time with her new son, Jordan gained an immense amount of internet marketing knowledge as an SEO copywriter for an online marketing firm.
As an SEO industry professional, she was a subscriber of Marketing Pilgrim and decided to participate in a guest posting contest that Andy offered. The rules of the contest were that whichever posts received the most unique visits would win an SEO scholarship package.
Her post was a success. And although Jordan didn’t win the contest, she was a finalist. Once on Andy’s radar as a person that could definitely pull in some traffic, she sent him an email asking if he was looking for regular contributors. It turns out, he was. And Jordan’s knowledge was soon regularly broadcast to an audience of more than 6,000 avid readers, including some of the big name SEO professionals.
Key Point: Take opportunities when they arise to post on other blogs. You never know where those opportunities may take you.
The reason Jordan was a finalist was because her post received 3 more unique visits than the next highest visited post that week. The reason hers received more visits than the others is that Jordan actively promoted her post by sending the link to prominent SEOs.
Key Point: If you want to stand out when you’re guest posting for another blog, drive some traffic to your link. The blog’s author will certainly see which posts are driving traffic and generating comments.
Right now you may be thinking wow, I need to do some guest posting. You don’t have to wait for a contest; you can sell your ability to guest post any time. However, as someone behind the scenes of one of the most trafficked SEO blogs online that receives requests for links and guest posts, Jordan says there are some right ways and some wrong ways to go about requesting a guest posting opportunity.
Jordan’s Advice for Getting A Guest Posting Spot
- Send a sample post
The authors of high volume blogs with thousands of readers get a lot of email. So much that they need to make quick decisions on how to answer it. If a busy blogger doesn’t know about your writing style, there’s a high probability that you won’t get a chance to pursue the opportunity further. Sending a sample post eliminates any guess-work on the part of the blogger that your writing is a match for the blog.
- Link to the bloggers other posts in your post
A blogger wants to know that you understand their blog and their audience if you’ll be writing one or more guest posts. One great way to show that you understand the target audience is by linking to other posts by that blogger in your sample post.
- Sell your credentials
Any blogger has a reputation to maintain as far as the integrity of their information. List any credentials you have to write on the topics you’re suggesting.
- Explain why the post will benefit their readers
Explaining how a particular post will benefit the blogger’s readers not only tells the blogger that you understand their audience, but makes it easy for the blogger to understand why they simply can’t turn your post down.
- Make a personal connection
Jordan says she is big on personalization when it comes to people writing to request links. She suggests that you identify yourself up front and mention specifics about the blog so that the request doesn’t sound generic. Generic inquiries are a big turn-off.
- Become a regular commenter
With so many emails, it can be difficult to stand out in a crowded email box. However, if the blogger recognizes your name they are more likely to pay attention to your email. Jordan says that providing regular, high quality comments on posts and being among the first to comment is a great way to get noticed by a busy blogger.
Making a Name for Yourself in the Blogosphere
By guest posting on several blogs within the same industry, people start to really take notice. Jordan named off a few bloggers like Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress that seem to be popping up everywhere as guest posters. Jordan too appears all over the web, not because she is writing for multiple blogs, but because Marketing Pilgrim is syndicated by several other top industry blogs like Web Pro News.
Key point: Why stop with a guest post on one blog? Set a goal to become published on multiple blogs.
Another key point that Jordan says has helped to establish her personal brand is the fact that each Marketing Pilgrim post includes a thumbnail of the post’s author. With multiple authors on MP, readers were getting confused about who was writing what. The reason for including the images was to clear up this confusion, but it turned out to have an even greater impact.
When attending the Search Marketing Expo Advanced conference earlier this year, she was recognized by several big name bloggers who she never assumed would know who she was. When you’re a blogger, you are your brand and, an image works wonders to reinforce that brand.
Key point: If you are the sole author of your blog, include a picture of yourself in the sidebar. If yours is a multi-authored blog, include thumbnail photos of each guest poster.
How Jordan Manages a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Several of our readers mentioned that they are very busy trying to juggle work life and a family life. Jordan feels the same pressures. Though she is an author for two blogs, she still considers herself a full time mom. Surprisingly, she manages to handle all of her tasks in relatively few hours per week.
Jordan sets a goal for herself based on how many hours she will work per day and does her best not to exceed that. For many workaholics, this can be a challenge- especially if you work at home. She tries to work early before her son wakes or while he is napping so that she doesn’t miss these precious and fleeting moments of her son’s toddlerhood.
Even more amazing is that she’s managed to build a name for herself in less than one year since that first post on Marketing Pilgrim. Instead of writing more posts for one blog, Jordan is spreading her wealth of knowledge further by writing for multiple blogs and gaining even more exposure in the process. It’s not that Jordan is working harder at making a name for herself; she’s working smarter and enjoying her life and her family in the process.
Every Tuesday, we feature someone in a NON-sponsored interview like you just read above. You can learn more about ‘Interview Me’ by reading this page. If you would like to recommend someone (including yourself) to be featured, please e-mail Christine [at] Create Business Growth [dot] com and tell us the WHY behind your recommendation.