How to Be a Prolific Blogger Who Churns Out Great Posts [EP 17 The Blog Chronicles]

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My guest has been a prolific blogger for over ten years.

He is also a published author, website designer, social media expert and speaker who works from home, consistently producing content that helps website owners become more efficient with their blogs, build their own tribes and boost their online sales.

Let’s get our chronicle on with Mike Allton…

On this blog chronicle Mike Allton shares:

–His personal blogging journey
–How to come up with an endless supply of post ideas
–His best source for blog traffic
–His biggest blogging strengths and weaknesses
–Which social media platforms work best for getting traffic
–Which monetizations work for him and which don’t

Mike Allton Interview Transcript

( For those who like to read.)

Introduction

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Matthew Loomis: Hi Mike.

Welcome to the Show!

Mike Allton: Hi.

Thanks for having me!

So Mike, Let’s Jump In!

Matthew Loomis: Mike.

I’m looking forward to talking to you today about blogging.

We’ll get into your personal story a bit and we’ll go over some blogging tips that you have.

And I’d like to wrap-up with some blog monetization.

So are you ready to jump in?

Mike Allton: That’s fantastic!

I can talk about blogging all day long.

How much time do we have?

Matthew Loomis: Oh well.

Typically 30 to 45 minutes.

Mike Allton: Alright!

How Long Have You Been a Blogger?

Matthew Loomis: Let’s shoot for that.

And we’ll see what happens.

Mike, how long have you been blogging?

Mike Allton: That’s funny.

I have been officially blogging over ten years.

I said officially because it was about ten years ago that I actually had a blog and I was writing content for it to support a business. Before that, I had been doing websites for myself and for other people. I had been writing for the web, on the web.

I never really considered it blogging until I moved to St. Louis and started my own business. That was in 2007 and I started to write blog articles content as a part of trying to promote and build that business.

How Many Blogs Have You Launched During Your Ten Year Blogging Career?

Matthew Loomis: I want to get into that a little bit here in a minute.

How many blogs have you started during your ten years?

Mike Allton: It’s really just two.

It was the first one for that particular business.

Which didn’t work actually not that blogging, in particular, wasn’t working.

I was writing about social media. I was writing about blogging and online marketing. It wasn’t working for that business because that was only intentional to what I was selling with that business.

Which was more just web design stuff.

Four years ago in 2012, I started The Social Media Hat.

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Specifically, so I could blog about blogging and social media, and email marketing. That was the second blog that I started and the first business is long gone.

Right now this is what I do I write and talk about content marketing.

You Are So Good At What You Do Mike

Matthew Loomis: You are so good at it too.

I have always enjoyed following you.

I think I started following you in 2012 I think it was.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

We have been bouncing back and forth for years.

Matthew Loomis: I know we’re in the same city.

We have yet to meet up.

Mike Allton: You say that.

But growing up, me saying somebody is in the same city as me, that means we could walk to each other’s houses.

Matthew Loomis: That’s true.

Mike Allton: You and I.

Do not live in walking distance.

Not even close.

We’re like opposite sides of the greater metro area. If I’m not mistaken, I think that you’re probably an hour away from me.

Matthew Loomis: It’s closer to an hour actually.

Which is weird because we’re both fairly close to St. Louis but we’ve got a little bit of a gap there.

Mike Allton: Right.

How Blogging Has Changed Mike Allton’s Life!

Matthew Loomis: Mike.

Looking back at these ten years.

I want to know, how has blogging changed your life?

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Mike Allton: It’s profound.

It’s rather phenomenal how blogging has changed my life.

It has allowed me to not just work from home. And not just work on my own, but to be reasonably successful at it. Before I moved on to St. Louis I was living in a small town called Ohio. I’d been doing IT sales and web design.

Basically, it was just being a sales manager for a small IT company in a small town Ohio.

That did not work out very well. It was a great company a great family that we worked together as, but in a small town. So everything that you do, you are scraping by to make a living. I got tired of that and I went and sold pools and hot tubs  for a couple of years.

Which was fun but not hugely awesome as a career choice. I took a break from that and did business development a little bit.

Doing the business development I realized I really liked working from home. I liked being my own boss and being responsible for my own time. I found that I had the self-discipline to be able to do that.

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Changing direction when I moved to St.Louis, and starting a new business, my own business starting a blog to promote that. It changed my life. I have been able to work from home and run my own business. I have turned and leveraged that experience, really over the past four years.

I am now the chief marketing officer for SiteSell.

It’s still somewhat of a consultant-client relationship. They’re a Canadian company. so I’m not an actual employee. Even though we all act and look like I’m an employee. From a technical perspective, they’re my client. It’s just they’re not my only client.

Matthew Loomis: Okay.

Mike Allton: That’s all been made possible.

Thanks to my blog.

You Are SiteSell’s Chief Marketing Officer, Right?

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Matthew Loomis: Aren’t you their chief marketing officer?

Mike Allton: Yes.

I’m the CMO for SiteSell.

The Social Media Hat. Interestingly for me today, is a hobby. It’s a side gig.

A side hustle and I make some passive income from there.

What I really enjoy is using it as a testing ground. If a new tool comes across my desk or a new technique for blogging or social media or any of those things. I can test it on my own site.

I can test it on my own profiles before I ever start talking about it or referring clients to it.

I Really Love That You Test Everything and Then Let People Know About It

Matthew Loomis: That’s one of the things I really enjoy about you.

Is that you are willing to test things and then reveal those results to everybody.

The good and the bad.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

They’re not always good.

Sometimes it’s the tool and sometimes it’s the user of the tool.

I’ll be the first to admit. I made plenty of mistakes. And you’re right that has been one of the popular aspects of my blog in particular. Is that most of my writing is sharing what I’ve done wrong. What I have found and what I have changed, whatever the case might be.

People appreciate that, they like learning from my mistakes.

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So that they can then go off and make all new mistakes on their own.

What Do You Find To Be the Biggest Disadvantage Having a Business From Home

Matthew Loomis: Mike, since you brought up working from home.

A lot of people that listen to this show, want to work from home.

I was just curious.

What do you find to be the biggest obstacle for you when it comes to working from home?

Mike Allton: I think the challenge for me.

And for many others is always having other distractions that can include themselves.

That’s not necessarily different from work.

You’ve got co-workers and other things that go on in an office environment. Believe me, I’ve been there. I have worked before for Fortune 500 companies. Had the regular nine-to-five job with a cubicle and everything.

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I know what it’s like to have someone come over to your cubicle and talk to you. Or you’re tempted to go over to their cubicle and have a conversation. Thirty minutes later and all you’ve been talking about is the latest episode of Survivor.

Matthew Loomis: Been there, done that.

Mike Allton: Exactly.

And you got no work done during that period.

The same thing happens here at home. My wife is a stay-at-home mom. We’ve got two kids, the oldest one’s in kindergarten now so she’s gone most of the day. But there are interruptions.

There are distractions throughout the day.

So there’s that. There’s the danger of having those interruptions overwhelmed and take too much from what you’re doing. The other danger I think, is that it’s a little easier if you’re working from home. To not stop working.

It’s super easy to go to the office or up to the office after dinner, on weekends, whatever the case might be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you have some kind of an awareness of what you’re doing.

How much time you’re putting in.

Where’s that balance between family and work and the other things in your life that need to be balanced?

Making sure you’re spending your time where you need to spend your time. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Particularly if you’re a start-up.

If you’re starting your blog you’re going to have to put in some time.

There’s not another way around it. It’s going to take time. The more hours and effort you put up front the sooner you’re going to build your blog to the point where you’re really happy with where it’s going.

So that has to be taken into consideration, but again on the other hand as you are going along you don’t want to sacrifice too much.

Have You Ever Worked From a Coffee Shop?

Matthew Loomis: You’re talking about your family.

And things like that as far as sacrifice goes. I’m just curious.

Do you ever go out to a Coffee Shop and work?

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Mike Allton: I don’t.

I have a third-floor loft.

That’s fairly removed from the home. The one thing I lack is a door. So I don’t have a literal barrier boundary to keep the kids out of here.

That’s not so much of an issue. So I am able to come up to the office whenever I want to. Or whenever I need to. For instance, a lot of people ask me how am I able to write so much. Well, I usually have time set aside specifically for writing.

Like on Saturday afternoons when my kids are usually sleeping, napping.

So I usually have three or four hours as a block that I can come up here. It’s on a Saturday so I’m not going to get interrupted by SiteSell, employee’s or another client who might be emailing me.

Or anything like that.

I can put all that aside and just focus on what I want to get done.

You Spend Three to Four Hours of Your Time On Saturdays Creating Content for The Social Media Hat?

Matthew Loomis: You spend most of your time.

Creating content for the Social Media Hat on Saturdays.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

Matthew Loomis:Interesting.

That’s about three or four hours a week.

Mike Allton: Yeah, give or take.

Sometimes less.

One of the nice things about my particular site is, I get approached quite often by other bloggers.

Other brands in particular, who want to publish on my site. I used to accept anybody who came to me and realized that, that was one of those mistakes and that it wasn’t such a hot idea.

For a while, I stopped accepting any kind of guest contribution at all.

This year I have relaxed that restriction a bit. If someone I know, like if you wanted to publish on my site. I’d be happy to work with you. Because we have a relationship, I know you and I know what you’re doing.

I know that you are not just doing it for the back link. Like most of the people who fill out the form on my site. Even though my form says I don’t accept guest contributions. Which is kind of funny, because if you fill out that form I know you can’t read.

Matthew Loomis:Right.

Mike Allton: Brands will approach me.

Some of those are sponsored content.

If it’s clear that they just want to talk about their product. That’s not a deal breaker and now that’s an opportunity for me to sell them on a sponsored post.

My point is that a portion of the content that I published throughout the year. I didn’t have to write.

Somebody else wrote it and I’m just taking the time.

Usually, on Sunday’s, we’ll go to church and lunch and then home. Then it’s time for the kids to go down and then I’ll have a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon free.

Unless something else is going on, it’s usually the time for me to prep a post for Monday morning.

Do You Do Sponsored Content?

Matthew Loomis: Interesting.

So you do some sponsored content?

Mike Allton: Absolutely.

That’s one of the fun things that I’m testing.

Everything else is one big experiment for me. Obviously, it’s nice to get a few hundred bucks for an article but I’m also taking a hard look at what are the results, what’s the impact of doing that.

Some brand gives me an article and I’ve had to go back and forth several times with a brand earlier this year because their first article was just garbage. They needed to edit it and I obviously charged them for editing.

They looked at it themselves and it took a little longer but once they got it to me and then it was okay to the level of my quality so to speak. Then we publish it and then we look at what happens.

What’s the difference in response between something that I’ve written and one of these kinds of contributed posts. Do people like it much or less or whatever the case might be. Are people sharing it as much are they clicking through to whatever links that particular brand to put it in there.

So that’s interesting to look at.

Where Does the Inspiration Come From For All the Great Ideas That You Have?

Matthew Loomis: It really is.

So when it comes to you creating your content.

How do you come up with so many great ideas?

Mike Allton: Oh.

That’s a great question.

The answer is interesting to me. I don’t know if it’s interesting to anybody else.

It’s something that I’ve called a bloggers mindset and it starts with a system for tracking every single idea you’ve ever had for a blog post. I use Evernote, people can use whatever they want.

I like Evernote because I can create one notebook just for blog post ideas.

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Then I can create individual notes, for people who haven’t used Evernote. It’s just a note taking app. So you can just create notes and write whatever you want. 

You can drag in images, links to websites whatever you want.

And it works on all of your devices.

I have Evernote on my phone my laptop and my iPad. Which means no matter where I’m at because I always have my iPhone. If something occurs to me, that makes a great blog post I can quickly open up my phone, open up Evernote and tap in a note.

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I even have my blog ideas notebook as the default notebook. I just have to tap the start plus text I think it is, on the app. It’s automatically going to be in my blogging notebook.

Maybe it’s a title. Maybe it’s a topic, maybe it’s  a few sentences whatever the case might be. I record that in that moment.

There’s none of this where you have an idea in the shower and then an hour later it’s gone.

Matthew Loomis: That happens.

Mike Allton: If I go to the shower my phones right there on the sink.

I’ll towel off and record the idea.

Even when I’m in the car and I have a moment I can tap it into the phone when I can.

It can even voice record in there. Like Friday I’m going to be able to drive to Ohio for Thanksgiving. That’s an eight-nine hour drive. I’m going to have some ideas while I’m driving during at i70 across Illinois.

Something’s going to occur to me and I’m going to want to capture that idea.

I don’t want to capture that idea as soon as I possibly can.

Matthew Loomis: Honey, can you take the wheel for a second?

Mike Allton: Yeah. Yeah!

That means number one.

Even if I’m under the house. Not only can I record an idea.

I can also begin to write.

I’ve written entire blog posts on my phone. I wouldn’t recommend it because your thumbs start to hurt after a couple of paragraphs. But you can when you have the time and the inclination. There have been times when the kids are sleeping in the car my wife goes into do the shopping. I’m just stuck with sitting in the car in a parking lot from 45 minutes to an hour.

I blogged, why not. Right?

I didn’t publish necessarily. I’ve tried that before it’s not pretty so I don’t do that.

I can record those thoughts and get them into Evernote. Which I can then take and format and expand later on.

Here’s the real beauty when you start doing that, you’re going to begin to accumulate ideas. So then, if you’ve got like me time set aside every day or every week to write and usually do recommend every day.

Have an hour set aside every morning to write.

It doesn’t really work with my schedule but that’s what I recommend other people do. So that they have that time blocked off to write. Not necessarily publish but to write .

They’re practicing, they’re growing , they’re building on and expanding their ideas and their blogs posts.

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The idea is that when you sit down to do that, whenever that time is. You’re not staring  at a blank Word document thinking, ”Well, okay I need to blog now.”  ”Any moment now and the idea’s going to come to me.” ”I’m going to write now.”

That doesn’t happen to me. I may go into my Saturday afternoon with the idea of what I already want to write. That happens frequently actually. If I don’t, all I have to do is sit down, open my Evernote and open my blog notebook. And I now have over 100 ideas for posts that haven’t been published yet.

Some of them are half-way written. Some of them are entirely written. I can just skim through it and decide, ”Oh yeah, I want to write about Twitter Ads today.” ”That sounds interesting to me.”

And so I get into it.

That’s what I call the blogger’s mindset because as you develop that habit of recording ideas.

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And beginning to think about how and what you are doing on a day-to-day basis as you’re moving through life. How that impacts or applies to your blog and your audience. You’ll develop that  blogger’s mindset and you’ll begin to see the ideas for content.

Where you never did before

Matthew Loomis: Fascinating.

This is good stuff.

Mike Allton: It’s like a muscle.

That you exercise for everything and ideas.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mike Allton: It’s a creativity muscle.

So the more you use it the better you get at it.

Matthew Loomis: And thumb muscles too.

Mike Allton: And thumb muscles.

What is Your Greatest Authority as a Blogger?

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mike aside from being a prolific idea generator and blogger, obviously.

From what you just told us which is really cool.

What would you say is another one of your biggest strengths as a blogger?

Mike Allton: There’s two of them.

That kind of go hand-in-hand to me.

The first is that I tend to write about what I know. And that maybe knowledge that I’ve gained over a great amount of time , you know experience and that sort of thing.

To me, that’s in contrast to a person who wants to write about a topic they don’t necessarily know a lot about and they have to go and research. If you have to do a bunch of research for a particular blog post. You have to understand that’s going to take time.

People often marvel at my ability to bang out a blog post in  45 minutes or less. We are talking long posts a 750 words or more. But I can do that because I’m talking about what I already know.

I’m sharing the information for the most part that’s already in my head and maybe that in itself is a skill. I don’t know.

It seems to me that every time I need to write something that I’m not intimately familiar with. That I do need to go out and do a bunch of research and testing and that sort of thing.

That sort of slows down the process immensely. And there’s always a risk there in that slowing of the process, you’re going to become very much uninterested in that topic.

So I do try to encourage people. That if it’s applicable if it’s possible to try to focus on topics where they’re already in your wheelhouse. It’s going to be a lot easier for you to just share what you know. Organize your thoughts and just make sure that you’re explaining to your audience.

What you think they should know about this particular topic that you already know. And you’ll find it to be a lot easier.

What if You Don’t Know Much About a Topic That is Most Relevant to Your Audience?

Matthew Loomis: I get that.

I do get that Mike.

What if it’s a topic that you know your audience wants or needs and you don’t know much about it.

Mike Allton: That’s an example where it is applicable.

To do that research.

And again that’s why it’s so nice to have so many different blog topics and ideas already set.

If you’re not on a publishing schedule like I mentioned Twitter Ads. Maybe my audience doesn’t know Twitter Ads but maybe my experience is very minimal with Twitter Ads.

So I need to gain that experience and that knowledge that I can then share.

That might happen over time.

I might decide okay in the next couple of months I’m going to run experiments. I’m going to take the time to learn Twitter Ads so that I can write about it intelligently.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop publishing blog content. I need to keep pushing out posts. In the meanwhile, I have these other topics that I’m developing and working on and publishing.

And I can plan to publish this researched article in a couple of months.

That might be a good approach. Again, I get that some people, some businesses, some bloggers may have a particular topic and for whatever reason, the funnels the timing sales campaign the business model whatever the case might be.

They’ve identified a topic that they need that content sooner rather than later. They’re just going to have to bite the bullet and spend the next day putting in whatever hours are necessary to research it and draft it and make sure it makes sense and get it published.

Matthew Loomis: Absolutely.

Mike Allton: That’s where the challenge is.

If you’re writing about something that yesterday you didn’t know anything about that particular topic.

And you spent the evening or the day researching it and learning what you can. When you try then to regurgitate that in the form of an article, that’s hard. That’s what we all did in college. And most of us if we’re honest with ourselves the stuff that we wrote in college probably wasn’t that great because it’s not going to flow well.

When you just imbibed all that information a moment ago.

Matthew Loomis: I’ve been looking back.

Yeah 🙂

Mike Allton 🙂

You know, you read a history book and then you wrote a five-page essay about it and well, now you got what you got it’s that simple. That’s it and then we moved on. Back then we didn’t really care about the outcome it wasn’t the greatest we just wanted to move on and get out of the course.

This is different you know, we’re sharing content with our audience, we’re trying to help them. 

But we’re also at the same time trying to continue and build and establish our authority our reputation and to an extent there needs to be a painstaking approach and perspective to our content.

Sometimes that means either number one recognizing even though you put in a bunch of time the end result was not good enough.

Matthew Loomis: Good stuff.

Mike Allton: I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me.

I don’t publish every single thing that I write.

I’ve written crap I really have. I have had bad ideas, where fortunately they never really got out of the idea stage. I’ve had ideas where they got all the way to completed article and at the end of the day I’m re-reading it and thinking this still doesn’t make sense to me and I wrote it.

You don’t want to inflict that on your readers.

That is hard because it’s very subjective. If you’re having trouble identifying that either you’re not able to self-identify the bad or you’re being too hard on yourself.

Those are the extremes.

It’s good to get another set of eyeballs, a spouse, a co-worker, a colleague. It’s really nice. It’s easier for us in the kind of blogging and social media world because we’re naturally connected to other bloggers and social media marketers. And you can easily create little mastermind groups. Little board of advisors, peers, that we can run stuff by.

Other bloggers if you’re in different niches.

If you’re a food blogger or a travel blogger. That is what you should aim for is to have that collection of friends and peers who are in that same niche. That you could bounce those ideas off of and even share drafts with.

It’s really simple to put stuff into a Google Doc and share and share a link with somebody and they can read it and make comments on it.

And give you that really really important feedback that some of us have blinders on and it’s hard for us to see that something is in fact, bad. Or like I said, maybe it’s not as bad as we think it is.

As a Blogger, How Do You Compensate For Any Failings?

Matthew Loomis: That’s really good stuff Mike.

Obviously, collaboration is one of your biggest strengths.

As a blogger, what is something that you’re not good at and how do you overcome that deficiency?

Mike Allton: Well.

This kind of actually touched on it.

Because self-editing has never been a strong suit of mine.

Funny story is that when I was in high school, I was a decent student. I got good grades. Particularly in English and history and those kinds of your liberal arts subjects.

When I was in sophomore my parents were troubled because suddenly my English grades were falling off a cliff. So they went and talked to the teacher, (I don’t know if she initiated it or what) but they had a conversation with my sophomore English teacher and she said that my problem was that her process was every week you had to write an essay. This was the first draft and she’d review it and give it back to you with corrections and then you had to resubmit it cleaned up.

This was in 1990, alright, this was a long time ago. These were hand writing things and frankly, I don’t like to hand write anything. I never have. So I never turned in the revised essays.

Apparently, I was too lazy.

Or whatever and felt like I didn’t have to do that. So of course, I was getting docked every time for not doing the complete assignment. And this wonderful woman made the suggestion to my parents that they get for me a word processor. And again this is 1990, we’re talking about 80 – 86 computers commodores that was the era back then.

So they went out and they bought me a Quill Tech 86 PC, that was running Dos I want to say 5 this is a precursor to Windows for the Millenials on the list and it was running Word Perfect I don’t know if you remember WordPerfect?

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Matthew Loomis: Back then it was State-of-the-Art.

Mike Allton: It was.

They probably dropped a thousand dollars on this system.

Way back when and all it could do was run WordPerfect and maybe one other thing.

It was a revolutionary pivotal moment in my life. I kid you not because not only did I now put all of those essays into the computer. She would print them out obviously then. Turn them into drafts and she would put them up. Write what the corrections are and then give them back to me and then I’d revise them.

That totally turned around my English grade. It revolutionalized how I wrote. Everything was then done for me on the WordProcessor. Every paper, every assignment, and things were stored there and it was a lot easier then for me to convey my thoughts through typing rather than writing.

Ironically enough I still never learned to type. 

I’m just a really good pecker on the keyboard.

Matthew Loomis: I was going to ask you that.

I was going to say you must have been proficient at typing at this point.

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Mike Allton: You’d think, right?

No.

Not really. I think I took a beginners course once.

I understood the principles but I never really focused enough to do it. So I don’t know I can do 50 – 60 words a minute which is not bad for someone who doesn’t really know.

Matthew Loomis: That’s pretty good.

Mike Allton: That just continued on throughout the years.

I finished up high school with that.

I got to college and had my own computer in college at Ohio State. Same deal just so much easier for me. I did not have to write. I was stupid enough to do history as my focus. If you know anything about history if you’re in college studying history. Virtually every single mid-term and final exam is a Blue Book test.

You know the Blue Books, you remember those.

They were just packets of paper with a blue cover. I don’t remember how many pages were in these things. You know 40-50 pages. Your job for the next two hours was to fill this with whatever topic the historian professor decided to make you write about.

Matthew Loomis: The Lesley Essay Test.

Mike Allton: Oh.

Two-hour hand-writing ahead, right.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

If you thought your thumbs were sore now.

Mike Allton: Oh, goodness.

Matthew Loomis: Your hands back then.

Were just like all mangled.

Mike Allton: To answer your question.

That whole story was there because I hate to self-edit and I’m really particularly bad at it.

I force myself to do it today but I hate to do it. I’ll re-read the posts and thank God for spell check, right. So at least the main typo’s are automatically talked. I try to skim through it and look for words that are spelled right that aren’t what I meant, you know.

Are You Currently Using Grammarly?

Matthew Loomis: Do you use Grammarly?

Mike Allton: No.

And I should but I’m too lazy.

Matthew Loomis: When I read your stuff.

I think it’s fine. I think it’s good.

Mike Allton: Well.

I appreciate that.

It helps that I was so good at English throughout high school and college.

I went through honors English. AP English once I got over this issue and sophomore English, I was a stud. It wasn’t a concern. Grammar, speaking, presenting, writing, those are never been any problems for me.

I get that for other people, that’s not going to be their strong suit. So I doubt that I’m going to need to bring in any more help for that.

Matthew Loomis: That’s an awesome lesson.

For all the new bloggers out there that feel that they’re not proficient or not adequate with their skill-set.

And that they can develop those skills with a little innovation and creativity they can overcome those obstacles.

Mike Allton: All that’s absolutely right.

None of us are born able to do any of these things

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mike Allton: Blogging isn’t an inherited trait.

Blogging and everything that goes into blogging.

They’re skills that you need to practice. That’s again why I say, spend an hour every single day writing.

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Because you are practicing some of the most important skills that are going to go into your blog.

They say you need ten thousand hours to become an expert at anything. Which means I’m not an expert at any of these things. I’m making a lot of progress because I’ve spent so much time and continue to spend so much time doing these more things every single day.

Matthew Loomis: Tim Ferris would dispute that.

Ten thousand hour thing.

But I hear you, I hear you.

Mike this has been fascinating to hear your personal story.

I want to transition now into some blogging tips. Talk to you a little bit about what’s working for you.

Let me ask you this – What is your best source for blog traffic?

Mike Allton: In terms of referrals?

You mean networks and that sort of thing or what?

Matthew Loomis: Yeah.

Mike Allton:  My best overall source for traffic currently is Google Search.

Matthew Loomis: Google Search?

Mike Allton: My organic search traffic is my number one source right now.

It’s been that way for about 16 months or so maybe 18 months.

That’s because I made some changes late 2014. That really helped my site’s ranking, my content ranking. Before that’s it was Google+

Image result for Google+ logo

Matthew Loomis: Okay.

That’s not surprising.

Mike Allton: What’s sad is that.

Google+ has now fallen off the face of the earth for me.

Matthew Loomis: Oh really.

For you too?

Mike Allton: Yes.

I got a hundred and eighty plus thousand followers there.

The vast majority of which are unengaged uninterested. I don’t know if they’re using Google+ anymore. So the content that I share there is far less engagement and very little traffic.

Compared to Twitter Facebook and some of the other social platforms.

Fortunately for me, Google+ was replaced. What’s really sad is when you got a blog you’ve got content that’s ranking well, you’re getting traffic and then you lose that source of traffic and then there’s nothing else there.

That’s happened to me actually before I got into Google+

The number one driver before that was probably Linkedin. And specifically Linkedin Groups, I’m talking about three years ago maybe four years ago. And then some changes were made in Linkedin Groups and now I don’t get hardly anything from Linkedin Groups.

Image result for Linkedin Groups Logo

That’s just the nature of blogging. You can’t rely on one particular source.

You can’t rest your laurels on, ”Oh, I’m getting good organic traffic today, I’m sure that’s going to continue tomorrow!”

You don’t know that.

Things can change relatively quickly. That’s why I think it’s important to be constantly tweaking and exploring and expanding your audience. In multiple areas so that way whenever there’s a dip in one area. Hopefully at least maintain the status quo in the other sources or possibly even approve.

Matthew Loomis: What’s your take on Google+ plus now going forward.

Mike Allton: Well.

It’s very saddening to me quite frankly because  they made such a disruptive change.

In the platform that it impacted the culture that had formed on the network.

Which is really fascinating to me as social media marketer and a historian. As I mentioned I focused on history in college, which you would think, okay the dude studied Mexico and Europe and civil war and that kind of stuff which I did.

It kind of also shaped how I look at things in the world.

That includes social media. I almost consider myself a historian of social networks. And I watch the phenomenon which is the cultural development and the sociological development  on social media in general and on specific networks.

I was very much a part of the social norms that were going on on Google+ through 2014 and 2015 but then the company Google made a shift because as a product it apparently wasn’t doing what they needed it to do.

It wasn’t accomplishing whatever goals that they set up and there were changes in leadership. There were changes in their user interface, there were changes in functionality.

Things were stripped off. Photos, Hangouts these things were pulled out of the Google+ platform.

Hangouts would not continue to be developed like they could have been. That could continue to be a fantastic broadcast medium for people. Like Facebook live is becoming now.

Google chose not to pursue those things which is fine. Google’s their own company they can do what they want.

But the impact was that people like me stopped getting what they were getting out of that network. We stopped getting the conversations, discussions the connections that we were getting before.

When you take something like that away from somebody. Most humans react by trying to replace that with something else. I give you a more recent example and that’s Blab. Many people in your audience may have been using Blab or maybe tried it out. I don’t know if you were doing Blabs.

A lot of people started to use Blab to start audiences and create broadcasts and we’re seeing a lot of success from it. It’s a wonderful platform for that. But it wasn’t what Blab wanted so they had to pivot their company and they literally forced everyone that was using it in that way to go find something else.

So now those people are currently all dispersed. Some of them are starting to play with Facebook live. Some of them are using other platforms like Hazam. They had no choice they had to go find a different tool. a different platform.

To accomplish what they’re used to accomplishing up until that point.Google+ was that way. Some of my best friends and our fantastic colleagues and peers. Were relationships that were initiated thanks to Google+

I’ll always owe Google a bit of a thank’s for that. I probably would not know Jeff or Rebecca or Fitzpatrick. Or at least be as close to them as I am today. I mean I count them real close friends. These are people that I speak to every single day. We love it when we are able to see each other at conferences and that sort of thing.

That’s thanks to Google+

But that is no longer happening. I’m not meeting anyone new on Google+ it’s now just a broadcast medium. The discussions at least in my community that I were in.

They just totally died off.

Matthew Loomis: That is sad to hear it coming from someone like you.

Who has had tremendous success over there.

I’ve backed off about a year ago from there. I don’t spend much time there.

But to hear it from someone like yourself who’s got a hundred and thirty thousand followers and who was just doing so well over there.

That is sad.

Mike Allton: Like I said.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a killer blow to me and my site.

It was just kind of emotional, ”Ag, that kind of sucks!”

But the Google organic traffic has continued to go up every month and it’s replaced what I was getting from Google+ which is an ideal by the way. It’s nice to have referral traffic from social networks.

But that’s very tenuous because it’s usually based on your most recent posts. My old content doesn’t tend to get a lot of social media traffic day-to-day. It’s just whatever I’ve shared recently and people are looking at it right now. Google+ was definitely that way.

When I wrote not how to use Google+ that exploded went viral got a ton of traffic from Google+

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mike Allton: That was an initial spike.

I don’t get fifteen thousand visits a day for Google+ to that particular article that was a one-time thing whereas Google organic search Bing and Yahoo. That traffic, it’s day after day after day. To a lot of the same pieces of content which is great.

Even though something could potentially happen tomorrow. It’s still unlikely that that stuff just going to drop off a day later. Hopefully, it will continue to grow and it’s rather reasonable to expect that not only will that traffic continue to grow to those posts bit the continue to rank.

But new content that I add will also rank and continue to get traffic.

What Social Media Platforms Do You Find Are Working For You At the Moment?

Matthew Loomis: Mike.

What social media platforms are then working for you?

Mike Allton: Well.

Again I’m blessed to be in  this space.

Talking about social media marketing in that I can use every platform.

Personally, Twitter works very well for me. Facebook works well, Linkedin, Pinterest. Those are probably my top ones right now. That’s mostly because I have a personal preference toward writing. I don’t do audio I do very little video.

So you’re not going to see me doing much on YouTube or Periscope those kinds of things.

Any platform where I can create and improve on relationships with people and I can create content on my site and share that content to that network. That works well for me.

What SEO Tools Are You Currently Engaged With?

Matthew Loomis: With all the SEO success you’re finding.

What SEO tools are you using?

Mike Allton: Right now.

I use SEMrush.

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Almost exclusively. 

One of the things that I do use are SiteSells tools they’ve got SPI for WordPress and both of those packages. Both of those come with access to their brainstorming tool which is a keyword research tool.

It’s kind of one of the best on the planet just because it’s not going to give you back just results for a particular keyword that you search on. But it’s going to give you hundreds perhaps even thousands of variations or even related keywords that you can explore.

So if you should be writing about a particular topic. You can do a search and you can see exactly how you should be writing what keywords you should be targeting.

That have the highest potential for that particular topic.

That’s nice to have to help you figure out what you should be writing about. Or maybe how should I go back and change some of the content that I’ve already written.

Back in 2013 when I was really getting into blogging, I wrote a post – ”How I Promote My Blog Posts.” It was just a checklist for the different things that I do to get my content out there.

It was usually popular so I kept updating it over the years. Then last Summer I published an entirely new version of it. I expanded it like twelve thousand words. I called it, ”Blog Promotionology.”

The study of how to promote blog posts.

Image result for Logo for the social media hat

I got very scientific about it but it was essentially the same post. Just bigger and totally updated with new stuff. I got tired of strike-throughs and updates and that kind of stuff. It was looking a little sloppier that the old post.

I cleaned it up expanded it and made an eBook and everything.

I put a lot of work into that post and twelve months later. I found that it wasn’t performing anywhere near what I wanted it to d in Google search. One of the reason was that I got too clever. I thought it was cute to make it seem like this was a course and make it sound like it had a course syllabus and give it a name, ”Blog Promotionology.”

But nobody’s searching for blog promotionology because it’s a made up word. What they are searching for is, ”How To Promote a Blog Post.” So I changed the title I changed the URL. I don’t care I know I’ll have some broken links and that kind of stuff. In one respect it’s like starting over a little bit. I ended starting over on the social proof side too.

But I know it’s going to perform better in the long run. 

I did the research. I looked up ”blog promotion” and ”promote a blog” and that kind of thing and I know that this will work. So I’ve got that from the brainstorm and like I said SEMrush helps me to identify issues. I love that it can do a weekly audit automated.

I just get an email every week. Every Monday morning I get an email from SEMrush. Actually, I get a couple of different ones. The basic idea is that it’s going to run a scan on my site and it’s going to tell me if there are any new issues whatsoever.

So I can stay on top of it and not wait until there are literally hundreds and hundreds of issues that need to be fixed.

I can guarantee you if you haven’t been paying attention and now you go and you run an audit on your site. You’re going to have lots of issues to fix. They might be minor things. They may be a bunch of pages that have no description or duplicate descriptions or no h1 title tag or whatever the case might be but they add up.

And if you’re facing a report that says you’ve got three thousand issues with your site. That’s kind of intimidating, right. It’s going to take you a while to work through all those because it’s on probably on a hundred different pages. So you can spend an hour fixing one and now you’ve got ninety-nine more to go.

But again once you do that, that’s again why SEMrush is so nice and you have that weekly audit so that never happens again and you don’t let it get that bad.

Matthew Loomis: Interesting to know.

I’ll be linking to SEMrush and everything that we talk about in the Show Notes.

Mike, before we move on to monetization.

You wrote a book a couple of years ago called – ”The Unofficial Book On Hootsuite.”

Mike Allton: Yeah.

Is Hootsuite Currently a Desired Tool for Bloggers?

Matthew Loomis: Is Hootsuite still a good tool for bloggers?

Mike Allton: Hootsuite is a great tool for bloggers.

To be totally transparent. I don’t use it every day anymore.

I’ve kind of outgrown Hootsuite and it’s one of those interesting things where I almost don’t like to tell people how I use social media. Because the typical blogger, the typical business owner isn’t using and shouldn’t be using social media that same way that I do.

I’m the social media marketer. So I’m the social butterfly that’s I think. That needs to be on every social media platform and publishing everywhere and doing those things. That’s not the advice that I give most people.

To most people, I say have a top tier one or two top priority social networks. And  the second tier where you’re somewhat active and then a third tier where you just have a presence and keep those prioritized that way.

Most people don’t have time to be active on every platform. That’s where I have outgrown Hootsuite and moved onto AgoraPulse. Because of your pulse, the monitoring is just phenomenal.

I can log into the AgoraPulse app and quickly jump between my two different Twitter profiles, my two different Instagram profiles. My Facebook page and so on.

Image result for agorapulse LOGO

 

And see all of the comments and replies and direct messages that I need to respond to. And knock them out within 20-30 minutes. And we’re talking about hundreds.

I use Triberr. 

Image result for Logo for Triberr

Every time I publish a new post it goes through Triberr and I get hundreds of people sharing it out and each one of those shares has a mention of my Twitter handle on Twitter.

I like to thank people for sharing my stuff, so I track that and I go through and I thank every single person for sharing my stuff. Particularly if I see that they have done it manually. They actually went to the article and hit that tweet button and I want to thank them.

It seems trendy on the networks if I know that they did it. And I also want to make sure I respond to questions. One of the great things about AngoraPulse by default it will show you anytime if anyone has ever shared anything from your site.

Whether they mention you or not. This is really important because you might have somebody who’s very influential. Who shares a piece of content from your site and they don’t bother to mention you.

Then that share might send a bunch of traffic to your site and if you’re not paying attention you wouldn’t know.

That’s why I say I’ve kind of outgrown HootSuite. I still have an account there I still strongly recommend it if it makes sense. There are a bunch of social media tools out there and I love a lot of them.

And again this is where I don’t necessarily say too much about what I am doing because it can be overwhelming. I probably use eight different tools if you had to count them, that’s just social media.

But I still do Hootsuite occasionally.

I use Agora Pulse every single day.

I still use Buffer. 

Image result for Logo for Buffer

I use Tailwind, I use Post Planner. Friends+Me so we’re going up there already. People are like, ”What, what is he smoking, that he needs all these different tools

Image result for Logo for Tailwind

Image result for Logo for Post Planner

Image result for Logo for Friends+Me

 

There isn’t a single social marketing tool that does everything. 

When you’re active on so many social networks you’re going to find that there isn’t one tool that will suffice.

So I use them all. 

But that was a rather lengthy answer to your question and yes I still do recommend HootSuite to bloggers. Particularly if you’re focused on Facebook and or Twitter and you only have a few social profiles.

I say that because you’re going to want to pay attention to how those profiles are performing. If you only have a couple the best to do is to use the native analytics.

If you have a Facebook page use the page insights. It’s fine it tells you everything you want to know. What’s nice when you have a tool like Agora Pulse it simply measures where you can bring in multiple platforms into one report and you can see things and compare things and that sort of thing.

HootSuite’s reporting has never been anything other than a disaster. I know how to use it and even I struggle to explain it to people who don’t know how to use it.

They don’t get it. I have written content about it and it’s a whole chapter in my book, ”How To Use HootSuite Reports.”

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People still don’t get it because they use this crazy point system and it makes no sense.

If you know how to use it, it’s actually pretty powerful that you can build whatever customer reports you want on the fly, you can immediately track any links that you shared through HootSuite.

Using their own shortened Ali links.

You can save those reports. For instance, I used to have an Ali link. I used to have a bunch of different posts where I would have links to other posts. And I would use Ali links for all those links.

Then I had custom reports that tracked them all. So I could tell how those links were performing. That’s a specific use case being able to have custom parameters already added to those things is super-powerful.

If I share a link to one of your articles using HootSuite. I’ve got Hootsuite set up that it will automatically add UTM parameters campaign equals Mike Allton. So that way if you are in your Google Analytics, you might see traffic coming from campaign Mike Allton.

But it’s super niche. Who else does that, besides me?

Are You Outsourcing Your Social Media?

Matthew Loomis: You obviously don’t outsource your social media?

Mike Allton: No.

I never have.

Matthew Loomis: I was just curious.

A busy guy like you.

But that’s also your expertise so you need to know the latest what all and how each platform works.

So that makes sense.

Mike Allton: I feel like I need to be in there.

But you’re right.

I’m super busy so sometimes there are gaps. I will be the first one to admit that I don’t have the ideal social presence if I was just a business. If you looked at the SiteSell properties and that kind of thing, it’s totally different.

We’re consistent every single day. We’ve got great posts going out with a mixture of other people’s content. I am not so exacting with my own social profiles because I don’t have the time. And like I said it’s all just one big experiment for me.

I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to be anything a certain way on my own profiles.

Matthew Loomis: Mike.

Let’s go now into the final stretch of blog monetization.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

Go ahead and make some money!

Matthew Loomis: Exactly!

You recently did a Round Up Post on blog monetization.

Where you asked fifty-two online business owners including myself.

What their best and worst blog monetization techniques have been.

You revealed that your best monetization technique was creating a one-to-one relationship with other brands. And putting together a marketing plan that’s monetized.

You say that this goes beyond your typical joint venture partnerships. That you like to work directly with the brand CEO marketing manager and partner with them.

To form sponsored content webinars or brand evangelism. I’d like to talk to you about this for a minute.

Firstly, do you consider this to be the same as influencer marketing, what you’re describing?

Mike Allton: Not necessarily.

The phrase, ”influencer marketing” that could mean a lot of different things.

That could mean a lot of different things. That could mean the brand developing relationships with individual bloggers and influencers. So that they share your content.

They talk about your brand online.

And there might not be any monetization there at all.

You could say that when I am developing relationships with my peers and colleagues. Other people who are blogging specifically about social media blogging. So that we can write about each other and share each other’s stuff.

That’s also influencer marketing.

I mean this is a look at it that way but technically it is. I have a great relationship with Peg Fitzpatrick. She just shared that Roundup and I saw that alert on my phone. I just messaged her on Facebook and said this post just went live. She didn’t have the time.  She was traveling and unfortunately she didn’t have time to participate.

I said here it is it’s live. Hopefully next time we do a Roundup you can be in on it.

I don’t ask her to share it but she did. We have that relationship. She’s happy to support me and I love sharing her stuff all the time because it’s fantastic.

So it is to me different from influencer marketing.

What I was talking about in that particular post. I was talking about in part becoming an influencer for a brand. Certainly and using the influence that I have created as a blogger. Over the past years, I’ve developed an audience for myself. My personal brand and for The Social Media Hat.

I’ve got blog readers. I’ve social media followers. I’ve got email subscribers. That way when I want to say something I have a platform to reach that audience.

Michael Hyatt talks about that – Just Love. He helps you try and understand that you have all these different networks and tools and websites and so on. But combine them all together and this is your platform.

It’s what politicians used to have to literally speak on. Today we just talk about the Democratic platform or the Republican platform to be the issues that they stand for.

In the 1800 Calvin Coolidge,

Calvin Coolidge was born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, on July 4, 1872. Coolidge rose through the ranks of Massachusetts government as a Progressive Republican. Elected U.S. vice president in 1920, he became president following the death of Warren G. Harding in 1923.17 Jun 2016

Calvin Coolidge – U.S. Vice President, U.S. President – Biography.com

www.biography.com/people/calvincoolidge-9256384

and other big politicians who wanted to run for office in this country. They would have a horse and carriage and they would ride in and behind that, they would have another horse pulling along a podium. They would be going into small towns that didn’t necessarily  have anything. They may have a church or a pulpit that doesn’t necessarily work for them politically and ideologically.

They didn’t necessarily have theaters or amphitheaters or anything like that so they had to bring their stage with them. That’s what they would do. They would roll into town they would stand up on their platform and they would introduce themselves literally for the first time.

These are people who would not have heard of them any other way. There was no news or anything like that. They would introduce themselves and say this is who I am. This is what I’m running for and this is what I believe.

Today, that’s what we have as individuals. We have our platforms and our audience, some people who we have some measure of influence over. I what I always enjoy doing is finding specific brands whom I can work with.

Either one or two ways. We’re just leveraging my audience and my influence specifically.

Or I may be helping them to do the same thing with their audience. Or even broader, work with even more bloggers. And do some blogger outreach so that they can reach an even bigger audience.

Matthew Loomis: Sounds very similar to brandscaping.

Mike Allton: Absolutely.

Matthew Loomis: It was a good book.

Mike Allton: Yep.

That’s right.

What Should a Blogger Have Ready To Form Ideal Partnerships and Realtionships With Their Audience?

Matthew Loomis: Help us understand Mike.

What then does a blogger need to have in place to make these partnerships that you’re describing?

Mike Allton: That’s a great question.

It’s usually a couple of things.

It starts with having something on your site that indicate two brands that you’re open to this.

It might be an advertising page and I know a lot of people struggle with this. Because I say advertising but in their minds they’re thinking display ads. That’s not the be-all and end-all of advertising.

Sponsored content is advertising.

Sponsored social posts is advertising. Webinars, these are all advertising for the brand. You need to just make it clear on an advertising page. Advertisers, whatever you want to call it. That you are open to doing. Maybe it is display ads. I mean if you’re running Google Adsense you should be very open to having a brand come in and put up a display ad.

You can get a six-month contract from a brand that’s going to be far more than what you’ll be making off of Google Adsense.

 Matthew Loomis:Very good point.

Mike Allton: It’s going to be far more lucrative.

Far more personal and far more rewarding.

With these Google Ads, you’ve got no idea what an individual is seeing. There’s no connection to you and the content that’s being displayed in those dynamic ads.

Whereas if you want to work with a brand like Agora Pulse I mentioned them earlier and put a display ad up for them on your site. You’re going to see that every day and your visitors are going to see that every day.

And it’s going to be more effective.

Matthew Loomis: It’s going to mean something to you.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

You have that page on your site that says these are the ways that you can work with us as a brand.

Speak to that brand. Tell them you can have display ads on these pages, on these categories whatever the case might be. We are open to working with you. Sponsor content or whatever that case might be.

There’s a whole list of things that you might do.

What Name Description Would You Give That Page?

Matthew Loomis: What would you call that page?

Mike Allton: Well.

In the display ad world, we would call that a rate sheet.

If you want to work with a newspaper or a magazine. Or an online print. Something like that.

You want to look at their rate sheet to see what it costs to advertise with them. These days it’s probably best just to have a page called advertisers. You put that at the bottom of your site where you put your contact and your privacy policy and all that stuff.

So as a brand it’s easier for me to find that. As a brand, I know what that means. I see a link that says advertisers, then I know that you are talking to me. Because I’m thinking about advertising on your site.

It’s important to understand that that is the perception. When a brand comes to your site and they see some of the other things that you’re doing. They see the ads, they see the content that you’re writing .

They see the brands that you’re already talking about. It occurs to them that they might want to work with you.

That is another thing that bloggers should be doing is finding ways to work with brands and mention brands . Whether you’re getting paid for it or not, that’s how you can demonstrate that you’re open to that in addition to having that page.

If I don’t see that page then I don’t know.

If they’re on an article that you’ve written and you’ve mentioned them and mentioned their competitors. Either way they’re going to be thinking that this is someone that we can work with.

Matthew Loomis: Very good point.

Very good.

In the Roundup about blog monetization.

You mentioned a tool called Trafeze.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

And we’re really excited about this.

It’s completely transparent a tool that SiteSell has built.

Yes. I’m part of the team that has built this tool. It was supposed to be initially just for SiteSell members. So for you in the audience that doesn’t know.

SiteSell helps people build an online business.

Image result for SiteSell Logo

If you have a passion for something. Whether it’s growing cactuses. Or whether it’s helping people organize their kitchens, whatever the case might be.

SiteSell helps you figure out specifically what that passion really is. What that niche is and then help you build a business. There’s tools, educational material. Everything you need to know and everything you need to use to actually build an online working content-based site.

Not so much a blog but an online content rich site.

A theme-based site we call it.

We have ten thousand members with current sites. Not historically but ten thousand people right now who have active sites. They’re solopreneurs and this is specifically how they monetize. How they work with brands is a challenge for them.

They’ve got these sites these great sites and they are using the automated tools. The easy tools like Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliates and so on.

We know that more lucrative relationships are those one-on-one relationships. That work directly with a brand that has a product or a service that is particularly suited for that audience that that solopreneur has already established.

So we want to build a kind of network or a kind of exchange. The more we thought about it and the more we talked about it, we thought well, ”This is going to be great.” For our SBier’s our SiteSell members.

But wouldn’t it be even better if the rest of the world could jump in.

Image result for Images of the globe

Right, because if it’s closed  SBier’s, that means that only those ten thousand people who interact back and forth.

And that wouldn’t help them get noticed by a larger brand. Or even a really successful solopreneur with a great product out there that isn’t part of that community.

So that’s what we did. We launched it earlier this year. The first phase which is to allow people with sites to sign up. And you can sign-up for free and create a listing. You can apply to have a listing. The listing does go through an algorithm.

You’re not going to get a listing if your site is not getting traffic or you don’t have a good social presence.

It’s a great tool for the solopreneurs or the publishers as we might call them.

On the other side, the brands are the advertisers. Those brands, once we open up to brands we’ll be able to search all the TRA fees listed by whatever keywords they want and identify individual bloggers and solopreneurs and site owners that are reaching an audience. I mean verified audience that would be interesting to them.

That they know that their service or product is a good fit for and then they can reach out to them. So it’s going to be a really fantastic way for bloggers to be found by really really spot-on on target brands.

Do You Currently Have an Affiliate Program for Trafeze?

Image result for Trafeze logo

Matthew Loomis: It sounds really cool.

I’m definitely going to check it out more.

I’m just curious, is there an affiliate program for  Trafeze?

Mike Allton: No.

Because it’s all free.

There’s no fee. It’s totally free to sign up and it’s totally free to create a listing.

Like I said, the only catch to it is a listing application. Your site has to be getting certain levels of traffic and we look at a different bunch of things. Alexa ranking, Similar web, SCM SCOR to make sure that it’s getting reasonable numbers of traffic.

We are continuing to develop that so that it takes in consideration niche. Then we also look at whatever social profiles you give us. And try to score  those as well so that brands can see that you’re getting so much traffic and that you are getting so much influence on Twitter.

They can understand that that’s the kind of relationship that they can create with you. 

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When they contact you there’s no fees their either. There’s never any fees associate with Trafeze.

We are talking about monetization so again it would be totally transparent. Our monetization model will eventually be ads. Or something along those lines. We will monetize the traffic coming to Trafeze.

Boost Your Income: 52 Influencers Reveal Their Best and Worst Monetization Secrets | The Content Marketing Hat | Scoop.it

That’s down the road. We want to see what we’ve got and what kind of success rate we can make out of it.

For the people who sign up and create listings and for the people who want to reach those listings.

It’s 100% free.

Matthew Loomis: Fascinating.

Wow.

I’ll definitely link to it in the Show Notes.

Mike Allton: Yes, please.

Right now it’s super important for everybody who’s listening to go to Trafeze dot com sign up and create a listing because right now we’re in what we call phase two.

Which is to allow anybody who wants to create a listing to go on and apply for listing. We can not open it up to phase three which is when we allow brands to come in and search until we have I think about five thousand listings.

This is super critical because we’re about a thousand two thousand listings so we’re half way to our goal. If I let a brand in right now and start searching odds are they’re not going to find results.

You don’t have enough listings across a wide spectrum of categories to ensure that most brands are going to see some people. Just imagine if you’re one of the first people to use eBay. If you went onto eBay and you were searching for a part for your Corvette in there and there was nothing no results.

Are you ever going to use eBay again?

No!

It was a big flop for you. So why would you waste your time searching on that again?

That’s the experience we can’t afford with brands.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Mike Allton: It’s critical.

That we get as many people to sign up right away.

The faster that we get to that five-thousand plateau and we are going to be doing tests. We are going to be testing all kinds of keyword searches. So we’ll know as we get closer that we’re really reaching that threshold.

Once we reach that threshold that’s when we can start letting brands in and that’s when people will actually start to see those relationships and those monetization options occur.

Matthew Loomis: I will go and sign-up.

And encourage other to do the same.

It’s free!

What you got to lose guys?

Mike Allton: It takes about five minutes.

Then you’ll have a listing out there.

Eventually, once we get into phase three and everything is running along. We’ll probably have widgets and things that people can put on their sites. It will be nice for both bloggers and brands that every thing’s vetted, everything’s scored, you’ll be able to rate each other.

Kind of like Fiverr.

So you’re not going to try to waste your time on a gig that somebody’s that’s got no rating or poor rating. So that mutual assurance will be happening.

Matthew Loomis: Oh great!

On that flip side interestingly.

Continuing our conversation wrapping up on monetization.

Your Roundup concluded that the two worst monetization techniques are banner ads and lack of focus. Now the banner ads that wasn’t surprising.

Mike Allton: Right.

Matthew Loomis: The lack of focus was interesting.

Can you talk about the lack of focus.

What it looks like for the blogger and solopreneur and how they can remedy a lack of focus.

Mike Allton: Absolutely.

This Roundup was so fascinating.

Like you said it was fifty-two different people and one of the things was that they are not even close to being the same.

These aren’t fifty- two content bloggers. There are fifty-two people that have online businesses of one kind or another. but they’re not all bloggers, right. You’ve got like Nathan Chan of Founder Magazine. Who’s got a massive social presence and this really great online publication.

That’s technically a blog.

So how he approached those questions was different from how you and I approached those questions. Annd everybody else was different. It was fascinating to see some of the same kinds of responses bubble up over and over again.

A lack of focus certainly was one.

What it meant to me and what it meant to a bunch of people that brought it up was not having a very clear strategy for both your blog and your monetization and your audience and understanding just how focused it needs to be.

Lack of focus wasn’t your darkness we’re talking about your day-to-day. Having that time set aside to write and being focused on what you are supposed to be doing each and every day.

It’s more about understanding who your audience is and just how narrow you get in what you’re writing about and who you’re writing to.

I’ll give you a personal example – When I started The Social Media Hat, I didn’t just write about social media or blogging. I also wrote about SEO and email marketing and marketing in general.

Technology. There are posts on there about email signatures and postcards and virtually any kind of business marketing. Business furniture. There’s such a wide range of content because in my mind I thought that if I’m writing content that is simply of interest to business owners. That’s a good thing, because maybe they’ll read a post on how Star Trek technology is becoming a reality today.

Then they’ll go on to read my post, ”How To Do Facebook Ads.” Which is the kind of content I really want them to read then that might lead them to hiring me to help them.

Yet that doesn’t happen. Let me just clue all you listeners in 🙂

That doesn’t actually happen. People will read those random articles that you write, there’s no doubt. That Star Trek article, bless their soul, it continues to get traffic today. But it doesn’t actually convert into any meaningful relationships.

They don’t subscribe to the blog, they don’t  go on to read any pieces of content.

When I blogged about Apple’s live events and the newest iPhone 5S, blah, blah, blah…That was interesting to some people at the time.

But it did not help my blog.

So now those are just wasted pieces of content. I wasted my time writing them. I wasted my time promoting them. The’re wasting space on my site.

When I narrowed my focus to specifically content marketing and the things you need to know to be successful at content marketing. Which is blogging, social media and email marketing.

Those are the three things that I write about today.

Matthew Loomis: And that’s it?

Mike Allton: That’s it!

I still love Apple products.

It makes me kind of itch when there’s an Apple live event. Live blog News Jack and that kind of thing can’t think but it doesn’t help me. It’s just a waste of my time to do those things. So I trimmed that out and now I focus on these specific things.

And quite frankly I’m still not focused enough. It’s great that I’ve got these three topics. I’m only going to write on these three topics – Social media, Blogging and email marketing but who am I writing to?

That’s still an area where I haven’t yet focused enough. I haven’t yet determined whether I’m writing to bloggers or small business owners or corporations. I’m still a little bit all over the place.

That’s a challenge for me and that’s a challenge for my blog. 

I guarantee you if I was writing specifically about content marketing corporations. I would be even more successful than I am today.

Matthew Loomis: Don’t you think that narrowing that focus.

You just have to have time to figure that out?

Mike Allton: Well.

It depends.

It helps when you use tools and you do some keyword research.

I mentioned Brainstormer earlier and there are other ones SEMrush has some keyword research capability. Majestic. Even just Google Keyword Planner. You can use those tools to understand what the actual market looks like. And not use your own preconceived bias.

This may come across a little harsh to some people who are listening and some bloggers, but just because you’re excited about a particular topic. That doesnt mean it’s a good business model.

Doesn’t mean other people are going to be excited as you are.

You have to take the time to find that out for sure because if you don’t you will find out for sure but it might be a year or two from now. After you’ve been blogging and trying and scratching your way out for months.

Only to realize that there is not enough interest out there in this. Or I’m too all over the place.

To get people excited about what I really want them to be excited about.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Do you find that the bigger the niche the more the opportunity is out there?

Mike Allton: No.

Not necessarily.

Because what happens is the bigger the niche.

That’s potentially more competition.

Matthew Loomis: Absolutely.

Mike Allton: It depends on what you mean by bigger.

Matthew Loomis: Maybe I should just say.

The narrower the niche.

Mike Allton: Well.

The narrower the niche the more opportunity to an extent.

You can get too narrow. If you narrow it so far down that there is virtually nobody searching. On that particular niche on a month to month basis. That’s too narrow.

Matthew Loomis: Right.

Okay.

Mike Allton: I don’t mean to turn this into a commercial for brainstorming.

That’s one of the cool things about that keyword tool is when you’re doing a search you can actually tell it to ignore the stuff that is too narrow and too broad. You can’t even see that stuff in your results.

The keywords that don’t even get any searches. Or get millions of searches every month and therefore it’s jus unreasonable to expect to compete in that.

What you want to look for is that stuff in the middle. You want to find that sweet spot where you’ve got a good amount of people who are actually searching for that particular topic or related topics every single month.

There isn’t too much competition already in place. That’s the opportunity that you’re looking for.

Matthew Loomis: I just thought it would be good to clarify that.

The lack of focus.

You want to have a laser focus on your target and produce that content n accordance to that.

Mike Allton: Right.

My ascension then is the monetization.

Once you have figured out your focused topic, your niche.

And once you have figured out what your target audience is going to be.

And you are right, some of this takes a long time to really get this figured out and I’m still trying to figure out my audience part. Once you figure that out then you can focus on your monetization.

If I decided that I’m going to focus on a corporate audience and then display ads. That’s totally going to be a total waste of my time. They are not going to click on display ads.

They’re going to be looking for relationships. They are going to be looking for high-end recommendations, right. They are going to want to talk to me about HootSuite enterprise.

Matthew Loomis: Especially.

Ad Sense Ads are not going to work.

Mike Allton: Oh yeah.

That’s totally going to be a waste.

They’re not going to click on little links.

If I’m focusing on individual bloggers as a group they are probably going to be more inclined to be receptive to the kind of monetization opportunities that might be conveyed through a display ad.

Thay might see the ad for Agora Pulse which is on my sidebar right now and be intrigued

Matthew Loomis: That’s not Adsense.

That’s your own like you said you made that ad yourself.

Mike Allton: It’s a display ad.

Matthew Loomis: A display ad that you did yourself.

Mike Allton: Exactly.

Matthew Loomis: Yeah.

Which I agree. That would be a better way to go.

Than some picture of some weird bug, you know.

This one thing helps you cure cancer.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

You mentioned my book and for a while, I was still blogging regularly about HootSuite and I would have a graphic about my book in the sidebar and those two together were extremely effective.

Actually two graphics. One for the book and one just to try it with HootSuites free trial. So people would be reading content about HootSuite and what you could do with HootSuite.

And after reading it they notice that they can read a book about HootSuite for a few bucks.

Or you can go try HootSuite for FREE.

Matthew Loomis: That makes sense.

Mike Allton: That kind of stuff together.

Works very well.

Now that I’m not writing about Hootsuite as much as I used to. I’ve had to kind of back off on the display ads because there’s no longer that direct contest between the content that’s been written and read on my site.

Matthew Loomis: Bloggers need to understand this.

That ad sense is not going to always automatically pull up like HootSuite.

Mike Allton: No.

The ad sense is more likely today to bring up something totally unrelated to your site.

But trying to be related to what that person’s been visiting or searching on recently. Some might if they’re been doing researching cars you going to want to see car ads on your site.

That’s just the reality.

Matthew Loomis: The way these twenty actresses look today.

Mike Allton: For those who are listening.

He’s talking about related content.

That I keep testing because I’m hoping that someone gets it right.

Shareaholic offers it, Disqus offers it.

Image result for Logo for shareaholic

Image result for Logo for Disqus

 

 

If you go to CNN and places like that. You’ll see at the bottom of the articles – Powered by Outbrain or Tabular and they’ll do a grid of other articles other stories that you might be interested in.

But they can’t seem to get away from clickbait garbage. No matter what! And I keep trying to work with them and say, this is isn’t going to work. I’ve tried it on my audience and it’s not going to work on other sites like mine that are better specific niched focused.

I don’t know if they’ve got supply issues. Or it’s a demand issue where they are making plenty of money off of CNN. That and just general news sites.

Matthew Loomis: Let’s face it.

The clicks are where the money is right?

Mike Allton: Exactly.

Matthew Loomis: I mean, we’re all susceptible.

To the garbage temptation, like junk food.

Mike Allton: Yeah.

How To Connect with Mike Allton Online 

Matthew Loomis: So Mike,

If someone wants to connect with you online.

Where can they find you?

Mike Allton: Well.

The Social Media Hat dot com – It’s my hobby site and my personal blog. That’s where all of my best content is.

Image result for Logo for the social media hat

Other than that you can follow me on Twitter –  mike_Allton  That’s, A L L T O N

And yeah I’d love to connect. I have so much content on my site, I guess I’ve been blogging for so long. I used to blog six to fourteen hours a week. I’m obviously skilled at that and pretty busy, it’s easy to blog that often when you don’t have work to be perfectly frank.

At least that’s not the case anymore but these days I try to publish at lease once a week, sometimes twice. That means that’s a lot of stuff and it’s hard to find. So if you’re looking for something, if you have questions or you want to learn how to do something. The odd’s are that I have an article  that I could steer you to.

Or maybe there’s someone else that I can recommend.

By all means, come to me with your questions. I’ll be happy to help.

Matthew Loomis: Your site is fabulous – The Social Media Hat dot com

Mike Allton, I want to thank you for coming on The Blog Chronicles!

Mike Allton: My pleasure!

Appreciate you for having me.

Hope we get together soon.

Matthew Loomis: Definitely.

It’s been a lot of fun.

Mike Allton: Absolutely!

Thank you.

 

Show Notes

Mike Allton – The Social Media Hat

Blog Promotionology

The Social Media Hat – Linkedin

The Social Media Hat – Facebook

The Social Media Hat – Twitter

The Social Media Hat – Mike Allton

The Social Media Hat – Google+

Mike Allton – SiteSell

Evernote

Grammarly

HootSuite

SEMrush

AgoraPulse

Triberr

Buffer

Tailwind

Post Planner

Socialoomph

Friends+Me

Ali links

Peg Fitzpatrick

Michael Hyatt

Trafreze

Google Keyword Planner

Shareaholic

Disqus

Outbrain

Brainstorming Tools

Thank’s For Tuning Into This Episode of – The Blog Chronicles.

Image result for images of Matthew Kaboomis Loomis

I’ll see you next time on The Blog Chronicles!

Author Bio:

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter

6 comments

  1. Amazing podcast… I’m a big fan from Mike. It was a great insightful discussion between you two.

    Also, Matthew your transcript is amazing… I mean, the edition must have taken so much time. So you (or the one who helped you on that) desserves many congratulations.

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Hi Jean-Christophe,

      Glad you liked it! We covered a lot of ground. I could have made this a two-part interview. Mike was gracious with his time.

      I appreciate the feedback on the transcript. They do take some time. Fortunately, I have someone who helps with them. I will let her know what you’ve said here.

      Stay tuned for more Blog Chronicles coming soon. 🙂

      Matthew

  2. Mandy   •  

    Hi Jean-Christophe,

    Thank you for the wonderful compliment on the transcript.
    I really love doing them and take my time to make sure that are enjoyable and informative.

    Stay tuned for more intriguing informative and intelligent interviews.

    From The Blog Chronicles!

  3. David   •  

    Great interview!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Following Mike starting today!

  4. SURESHA B   •  

    Great one Matthew and thanks for sharing incredible conversation. its helps more.

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Hi Suresha,

      I’m happy you enjoyed this rocking conversation with Mike!

      Keep on blogging, my friend.

      Matthew

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