Is September the New January?

Is September the New January?

Have you heard versions of this?

September is the new January!

Fall is a fresh start!

It makes perfect sense to me because, let’s be honest here, January is all about intention and often no action. Sure, we have big dreams. We set big goals. But, who wants to work on their beach body when there’s a foot of snow outside? Or dive into huge work projects when you know you have a whole year ahead of you?

September reminds us that the year is coming to a close. That we have a smidge over one quarter of the calendar left to accomplish all those things we wanted to do. It’s a perfect time to check in on those goals, reflect on what’s working, and change what isn’t.

Here’s my fail-proof, 5-step strategy for a successful Q4 that answers the question:

Is September the new January?

Nope! It’s much, much better!

  1. Assess. Pull out those goals you set at the beginning of the year. Tick off the ones you’ve accomplished, and review the ones you haven’t. Flip through your journal and daily agenda. What projects have you wanted to tackle all year that you just haven’t gotten to? What projects did you not plan for but did accomplish anyway? This isn’t the time to judge yourself (that comes later-ha!) but rather to note what you’ve done and what you still want to do.
  2. Celebrate! Does that sound strange to you? I think we self-directed folks tend to move the bar on ourselves constantly. Achieve one goal? Move onto the next! Get that one? Next! Now that you have a list in front of you of all you have accomplished so far, raise that glass and toast your wins! Better yet: Make it a habit! Celebrate your victories before you move the target on yourself!
  3. Plan. Go back to the list of things you haven’t yet finished for the year. Do those goals and projects still excite you? Are they things that will continue to grow you and your business? If not, maybe it’s time to let them go. (And that’s OK!) If they do, or if something had simply fallen off your radar, now’s the time to plan their completion. I like to start a new page in my notebook for each project. If you’re a digital planner, go for a tool like Trello. List out every tiny action that you need to complete, and–here’s the most important piece–assign a deadline to each minuscule step! Then, add each of those deadlines to your calendar. As the saying goes, Failing to plan is planning to fail!
  4. Execute. Now, do those tasks! And do ’em by their deadlines! No excuses. Just get it done. You’ll feel like such a badass if you can cross everything off by the end of the year.
  5. Repeat. Assess, celebrate, plan, and execute on repeat. Set a weekly date with yourself to go through these steps. Make it nonnegotiable. Put it in your calendar. A weekly session keeps you focused and on track, which ultimately means that you won’t need a September or January to reset!

How often do you revisit your goals and plans? Are you a big New Year’s goal setter? Or a September goal getter? Something in between?

Here’s to a fun, productive, and profitable Q4!

What I’m Working On…

What I'm Working on via MaggieMarton.com

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my work?

I write about pets! For a living! I couldn’t love a job more!

So, what have I been working on?

A colleague and I are writing a book to help other pet writers. This project is a deep passion and something we’ve wanted to tackle for ages. I am more excited about this book project than just about anything else on my plate. I can’t wait to share more when I can!

Beyond that, I’m striving to launch two new blogs: Bark is the New Black, which is a lifestyle destination for every kind of mama, and The Zero-Waste Pet, which is a partner site for my ebook, The Zero-Waste Pet.

These two site launches, along with the book project, take up the majority of my time right now.

And you know what?

None of it feels like “work” because I love these projects so much!

Plus, I still have client work, which I love as well. It never feels like drudgery. (Well, the admin stuff like bookkeeping sure does…)

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to be working on three gigantic passion projects all at once. This has been an awesome summer!!

How about you? What are you working on these days? 

There’s No Such Thing as Passive Income

Well, technically there is… but NOT how it’s defined by online salespeople. 

There's No Such Thing as Passive Income

What is passive income?

From BusinessDictonary.com: “Earnings from rent, limited partnership, or other sources of income (in which the earner does not take an active part), not including salary, wage, interest, or capital gain. Also called unearned income, passive income can be written off against passive losses.”

There is a section of the U.S. tax code dedicated to passive income as it’s defined above. It’s this.

In other words: Passive income IS NOT ebooks, info products, webinars, courses, downloads, workbooks, etc. that sell “in your sleep.”

That isn’t passive income. See the official definition above, whereby the earner does nothing active.

So, why is it that there are dozens and dozens of online salespeople who claim that their course, their ebook, their workshop, their mastermind will help YOU create a stream of passive income, earning you virtually six figures (why do they always say six figures?) while you sleep?

Why? Well, because people are willing to throw money at the idea that they can earn a ton without doing much.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but unless you are, say, a landlord or something that the IRS considers “passive,” selling anything online requires a ton of activation.

It’s the polar opposite of passive.

To make a living selling products online, you have to do one (or all) of three things:

  • You need to build a large, thriving, loyal audience–a feat that takes concerted, purposeful effort.
  • You need to spend a fortune on running ads, something that costs money and also a ton of your time because you have to figure out what types of ads convert, write the copy, create the imagery, run the campaigns, etc.
  • You need to create stellar products that deliver on what you promise at such a high value that your customers can’t wait to buy your next product.

All are worthy and worthwhile. None are passive.

They all take time.

They all take money.

If you don’t have an audience, you don’t have anyone to sell to, and it can take years of hard work to create that audience.

If you don’t have time and money to spend on ads, especially if you haven’t yet built that thriving, engaged audience for potential organic reach, no one will know your product exists.

And if you don’t create amazing products–something that takes a mountain of effort–you’ll find yourself with dissatisfied customers who demand refunds and, even worse, blast you on social.

Sure, once you have all that in place–a thriving audience, an effective ad campaign, and amazing products–you’ll make money while you sleep as products sell.

But you’ll never build a thriving, sustainable business with minimal effort. You’ll just end up with unhappy customers (which, btw, doesn’t stop MANY people from still selling online… they just funnel gobs and gobs of money into targeted ad campaigns to hit new people with each launch).

Instead of throwing your time and money at some online guru who claims to be able to help you build a six-figure income in your sleep, stop.

Take a breath.

Then attack your business with passion and purpose.

Save the money you were going to spend and create and run your ad campaigns instead.

Save the time you were going to spend and create amazing products that people can’t help but buy.

Save the effort you were going to expend and work on building your audience through authentic content creation and purposeful content marketing.

And if you need help with the content piece, check out my super affordable, you-do-the-hard-work guide, Authentic Blogging. For only ten bucks, you get:

  • Seven chapters to help you discover your authentic voice.
  • Worksheets to improve your blogging skills.
  • Appendices with resources to further your study.
  • Exclusive bonus worksheets to expand on the concepts.

Nothing about blogging is passive. Nothing about creating info products is passive. Nothing about selling online is passive. Don’t fall into the “passive income” trap! Do the hard work, and it’ll pay off in spades!

Blogging Is Dead… and Other Myths

How often do you hear it lamented, “Blogging is dead”?

Blogging is dead... and other myths

Just yesterday someone said that to me on a call, ironically, about her business blog.

I’ve said this before, and I know I’ll say it a million times more, but just because you don’t like or understand something doesn’t mean you can bury it.

And it isn’t just blogging that’s regularly declared dead. Let’s take a look at three of the most pervasive: blogging, Facebook, and reading.

 

Fiction: Blogs are dead.

Fact: Blogs are thriving.

In fact, by declaring blogging’s death, you’re likely hurting your business because this form of publication provides many benefits that you can’t accomplish in any other way. We’ll take a look at that in a moment, but I think here’s where people get confused: Blogging isn’t dead; however, it has changed dramatically over the past decade. If you haven’t kept up with those changes,  your blog probably does suck and feel like it’s dead.

Readers are picky. Google’s bots are picky. There’s less time and more content every single day. If you’re writing a diary-style blog, if you’re not carefully curating your content, if you’re not learning best practices as they emerge, if you’re slapping up content without any purpose or direction, yeah, your blog is probably dead. Or close to it. You’re wasting your time, in any case.

Blogging provides businesses with the perfect line of direct communication with customers and potential customers. The medium allows you to create trust and authority. It enables you to be found in search easier and faster.

If you think blogging’s dead, you’re not doing it right. 

Fiction: Facebook is dead.

Fact: Facebook lives.

I’m just going to say it: I hate Facebook. I suffer from Facebook-group fatigue. I’m exhausted and exasperated by the negativity. I struggle to maintain a presence on the platform because I never want to log in.

Facebook is still a top-three referrer to my blog on any given day.

It’s not dead. People, like me, are getting tired of it.

Will it die? Maybe. Doubtful.

Some realities, though: Facebook users are aging, and younger folks don’t want to use the platform. (Why? Their grandmothers are on there, as are their moms and dads and high school English teacher.)

Facebook still converts… but not organically, not anymore. Now, it’s a pay-to-play system, aka an advertising network.

If you think Facebook is dead, shift your mindset. It’s for advertising, not organic.

Fiction: Reading is dead.

Fact: People read more than ever before. They just read differently.

Think about it: People around the world have unprecedented access to reading material via the internet. In my opinion, when anyone declares reading dead, it’s a matter of using a too-narrow definition of reading.

Yes, video is hot right now. Yes, imagery is incredibly important.

And written content still rules. Whether that’s online–blogs, social media, news outlets, etc. etc. etc.–or in print, writing is everywhere, which means readers are everywhere. If you neglect your website or skip posting on your blog or avoid Facebook status updates because you don’t think anyone’s reading, you’re losing out on potential customers.

Plus, storytelling creates loyalty. Stories sell.

If you think reading is dead, expand your definition of reading.

Bottom line: Just because you don’t like something or understand something doesn’t mean it’s dead.

Take the time to learn what works and what doesn’t on a platform. Study and implement best practices. Figure out what your audience and your customers want from you. No, not every platform works for every brand. If you’re trying to sell to 19-year-olds, Facebook probably isn’t for you. Try your hand at Snapchat. The point is to learn and grow, not throw in the towel simply because you don’t “get it.”

BTW, if you’re someone who truly doesn’t get it, it’s OK! I’m here for you! I help small- to mid-sized pet and lifestyle brands thrive online. Let me know how I can help!

How to deal with criticism online

Fact: Everyone online has an opinion about everything.

How to deal with criticism on your blog _ maggiemarton.com

Some of those folks are able to express their opinions in clear, constructive, kind ways. They’re able to have robust discussions with friends on social or in the comments section, and they understand that many issues have many sides so it’s easy to stay respectful of others since we’re all so different from one another.

Then there’s everyone else.

Seriously, though, trolls make up a small group. They’re just so LOUD. And they’re usually pretty good at isolating a personal issue and attacking, which can feel crushing… and raise our hackles.

 

Instead of fighting back, here are a handful of productive tips on how to deal with criticism online…

Take a few deep breaths.

Inhale through your nose and into your belly. Repeat several times, as many times as it takes for your blood to stop boiling. Then…

Re-read the comment. 

Hard truth: Sometimes there’s a grain of construction criticism or even, gasp, accuracy in the tough comment. Maybe the person’s intention isn’t to troll you at all. Maybe they’re trying to help you. Re-read the comment after your blood stops boiling and assess from an honest place.

Then, you have two options:

First, accept that there’s a nugget of truth in what the person is saying, despite perhaps missing the mark on tone. Thank them for taking the time to share their critique, then figure out how to change or improve upon their point.

Second, realize the person IS being a jerk, not helpful, just mean, or attacking you. If that’s the case, go back to those breathing exercises for a few…

Take action.

You can reply and defend yourself, thereby engaging the troll (aka “feeding” the troll), and keep the vitriol coming.

You can delete.

You can delete AND block the person.

Or, you can go with a combo and reply with an overabundance of generosity: “Hey, there. While I appreciate that you took the time to share your insights, your comment is {{fill in: mean, offensive, inappropriate, unhelpful, etc.}} and violates this website’s comment policy. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here and thinking maybe you hadn’t had your coffee yet, but if your further comments are in this same vein, I won’t hesitate to delete and block. Now, if you have something constructive to share on the topic at hand, please do! Otherwise, go get yourself that cuppa Joe!” 

Easy? Nope.

Worth it? Usually yes, though if the person was hateful, racist, aggressive, threatening, etc., go with the delete and block option, and don’t look back.

Otherwise, fight shittiness with kindess.

That’s my rule! At least when it comes to my tips on how to deal with criticism online!

3 Things to Check on Your Blog ASAP

3 Things to Check on Your Blog ASAP

While you focus on creating fresh, new, engaging content for your readers, chances are a few spots on your blog are gathering dust.

It happens: You want to keep your blog fresh, of course, but that makes it easy to “set it and forget it” with your blog’s static pages.

 

Ask yourself a handful of Qs about your blog’s static spots:

  • When was the list time you revisited your about page?
  • Is your privacy policy up to date?
  • Has anything changed with your email, social profiles, or affiliate programs?
  • Is your headshot current? (Current = last 5 years NOT that awesome snap of you looking tan that one summer in college!)
  • What’s new in your footer? Is your copyright date current?
  • Is your contact form GDPR compliant?

OK, so maybe now you’re feeling overwhelmed, and that’s certainly not my goal. Instead, let’s get empowered to fix the most important things now, then schedule the rest in your schedule for future pockets of free time.

Check these 3 things on your blog ASAP:

Your Privacy Policy

Seriously,  guys, this is a big one now that GDPR is officially in effect. Now, I’m not a lawyer. This is my informational-purposes-only advice: Either have an attorney draft a compliant policy for you OR hire a lawyer to review the one you draft. Don’t open yourself up to major problems because your site isn’t compliant.

Normally I’m all about the blogging-by-your-bootstraps method of everything. (If it can’t be YouTubed, it shouldn’t be done!) This is one area where I say: SPEND.

The  Ways to Contact You

Let’s say your dream brand discovers your blog (YAY!), devours your most recent posts (YAY! YAY!), decides to hire you right away (YAY! YAY! YAY!), then can’t find a way to contact you. Or, they click “email me” and it’s a dead link. Or, they can’t figure out where the heck you are on social and who has time to Google this stuff so let’s just find someone else!

Oof.

Reality check: Readers–whether they’re brand reps, publicists, PR firms, or your average blog reader–are impatient and have very little time on their hands anyway. You want them to be able to contact you, right? Make it easy, intuitive, and functional!

Check every single “Contact Me” spot on your blog right now. Make sure the links are valid. Make sure your social channels appear at the very tippy top of your site. Make sure that when someone fills out your contact form that, first, it’s GDPR compliant, and, second, that you actually receive the correspondence.

About Page

Chances are you’ve achieved new heights since you first drafted your About page. Can you include links to publications on other sites or profiles of you or your blog? How about adding links to your most popular posts so new readers know where to start when they first discover you? If you have an external package like a media kit linked to your about page, does it open the most recent version? Is your Privacy Policy linked here? How about any other policies–like your comment policy, affiliate disclosures, etc.? Retire old clips and replace with new, relevant ones at least every three or four months.

Once you’re up-to-date, what’s next?

Once you’ve made sure these static pieces of your site are current, set a reminder on your calendar to review these on a quarterly basis. I’m a big fan of using time-bound cards on Trello with checklist reminders. Keep your digital home clean, shiny, and dust-free with regular, routine maintenance so you can focus on doing what you do best: creating that fresh, fun, engaging content! 

Does blogging have an environmental impact?

What is the environmental impact of blogging_ And how can we diminish our tech footprint_ _ MaggieMarton.com

Can you work online and minimize your impact on the planet?

Whether your job is entirely digital or not, chances are you spend a chunk of your day consuming digital media. It’s inescapable.

If you do create in a digital space or if you simply consume, the reality is that your tech habits do have a significant environmental impact.

What is the environmental impact of social media?

Can we use our online businesses to diminish our carbon footprint? Let’s look at three of the big problems and then consider ways to reduce that environmental impact:

Tech Waste

According to Rubicon Global, “Electronic Waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste stream. It encompasses all broken, unusable, or outdated/obsolete electronic devices, components, and materials. In addition, e-waste also encompasses items that can be e-cycled (electronics that are going to be reused, resold, salvaged, or recycled).”

How much tech waste do we create? According to DoSomething.org, “20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.”

Bloggers use a LOT of tech.

Think about your own tech footprint: How many cell phones have you used over the last decade? Or gaming consoles? Or TVs, laptops, and all that obsolete tech like fax machines and land line telephones?

Resource Guzzling 

Producing all that tech takes a ton of resources, of course, but so does keeping it all up and running. How often is all your personal tech turned off? Or, conversely, how many glowing lights are around your home and office? How often do you have something plugged in somewhere charging?

Same goes for all the services you hire to run your blog: Think about all the servers and 24/7 support centers, the overnight (or same day!) shipping, and so on.

Consumption Lifestyle

According to that same Rubicon Global piece, “Between June 29th, 2007 and November 3rd, 2017 there have been fourteen iPhone releases – from the original iPhone (First Generation) to the latest iPhone X.”

Sheesh.

Do you need to blow through 14 phones in 10 years? Most likely not, but lots of people do… simply because they *need* the latest and newest model. You’ve seen the lines outside Apple stores on launch days, and–ironically–everyone standing in line to buy the next-model Apple phone is playing on their current-model Apple phone.

This consumption-driven habit isn’t relegated to only the iPhone. Striving to keep up with every changing style and trend to keep your Instagram feed fresh results in this same disposable behavior with everything from fad diets and ingredients to clothing to cosmetics.

How can we lessen our digital impact on the environment?

Demand Better Tech… and Use Your Stuff Longer

Is there a company or product you’re loyal to? Write them, and let them know that you’d like to see their products made with environmentally-responsible materials in a responsible production facility. Or, perhaps, encourage them to make a “green” version of the product you love.

Commit to using your stuff as long as possible. Instead of swapping out for a new version each year, stick with yours until it’s no longer serviceable, then find a way to re-purpose, reuse, or recycle. For tech waste, my town offers a once-a-year e-waste recycling drop-off day where they’ll take any tech for free.

Switch to Responsible Service Providers

A couple years ago I changed hosts to Green Geeks (<—– that’s an affiliate link because I believe in them so much) and haven’t looked back!

When it’s time to renew a contract–whether it’s with your host, your ISP, your utilities, or your recycling pick-up service–take some time to research and compare. Make sure you’re subscribed to the most environmentally-responsible service providers available to you.

Consume Less

This is the big kahuna. Use less stuff, and you generate less waste. This goes with tech waste and also utilities like electricity and water.

Before you buy anything, ask yourself: Do I truly need this?

If the answer is no, give it a second thought before you make the purchase. Because, ultimately, every single little decision–like keeping your iPhone for a year longer–adds up to big change.

We all can and should do better whenever and wherever possible! 

On a final note, if you’re a pet lover who’s interested in learning more about your pet’s impact on the planet, check out my ebook project, The Zero-Waste Pet. We–people, pets, the planet–are interconnected and related in so many ways. Our tech waste has a massive impact on the animals we so adore, as well.

Always, always learn. Strive to do better.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Facebook to Build Your Audience

Can you please hand me that rag so I can dust off my soap box?

Facebook.

Love it, hate it, or love to hate it, Facebook pervades every part of our existence.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Facebook to Build Your Audience

Facebook has never been in our daily conversation more so than now.

I get that folks are upset. I get it. I do.

Except…

Facebook isn’t a charity. It’s not a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting you with that classmate you kind of liked in the third grade, nor is it a community outreach program that links your birthday with causes closest to your heart. (I mean, it kinda does that, but still…)

Facebook is a corporate entity whose goal is to make money.

How do they do that?

Well, they sell data about people to other companies so that those other companies can craft really specific, high-targeted, customized ad campaigns to get you to buy stuff.

You get to connect with that kid from third grade, support your favorite charity, share pics of your kids and pets with all your family and friends around the globe, organize local events, sell your car, market your blog’s content, etc., etc., etc. not for free, but for the cost of your data.

That has been the cost, the exchange, since the day you set up your profile.

I’m OK with that. I was pretty clear what I was trading to use the platform, and I thought it was a pretty decent deal. I got a lot of connectedness in exchange for some details about my life that I was already willing to share on the internet. Anything I’m not willing to share? Well, they don’t get that “payment” from me.

Not everyone is OK with this exchange. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why because targeted ads also make online shopping a heckuva lot easier these days, and you’re the one choosing to publish private info and family photos and your birthday on the internet.

But I digress.

Not everyone is OK with this exchange. That means some of your readers might not be OK with it and might quit Facebook. That means some of your readers might stop checking Facebook minute-by-minute and, rather, do a quick weekly scan of their timeline.

In other words, all this attention on Facebook’s data-selling business might diminish your audience.

Plus, a ton of publishers are up in arms that Facebook is charging companies to have their content seen. (See previous point re: Facebook not being a charity.)

I mean, I have to hand it to them: It was an epic bait-and-switch. Facebook got us all to create pages to promote our content. We did. We built an audience. That audience grew and so did our readership. The more you shared, the more engagement you got, the more you kept your readers on Facebook, the bigger your numbers became. Awesome, right?!?

PSYCH! Now you gotta pay!

With their new algorithms and rules of engagement, Facebook prioritizes paid content.

Unless you “pay to play” your content isn’t seen even by your own audience that you build following all their previous rules. Now? In order for even those folks to see what you create, you have to kick in some cash.

And who’s to say that won’t change again down the line? Maybe Facebook will go all-in with Bitcoin, and none of you use Bitcoin (I mean, honestly? Who does.) Well, then you’re stuck.

Really, they can decide anything they want because it’s their platform.

Know what isn’t their platform?

Your blog.

Your email list.

You shouldn’t rely on Facebook to build your audience. Facebook connects you to your audience, sure, but it shouldn’t be the place your pour your time and energy into (unless, of course, Facebook growth is somehow critical to your business’ success somehow for some reason…).

Pour your energy into your blog.

Pour your time into building your email list.

Those are the things you own. Those are the things you control.

Why build a house on someone else’s land?

Don’t rely on Facebook to build your audience!

And now I shall step off my soap box, but I’d love to connect with you on this topic… tweet me @maggiemarton your thoughts on Facebook and audience building! 

Annoying Business Jargon: Avoid these 5 in your writing

Meaningless at its worst, trite at its best, business jargon clutters up your writing.

When writing anything–whether it’s an email or a proposal–your goal is clarity. Duh, right? You want your readers to understand what you’re saying.

Toss in a whole bunch of annoying business jargon, and you risk losing the clarity of your presentation.

Annoying Business Jargon_ Avoid these 5 in your writing _ MaggieMarton.com

So, what is some of the most irritating “corporate speak”? Here my five biggest annoyances:

Move the dial: Also, move the needle. This means that the task or project has a visible impact. Remember the most important tenant of good writing? Show, don’t tell! Instead of saying something will “move the dial,” tell them how, what, and why your idea has impact.

Drinking the Kool-Aid: I’ve heard this one a lot lately, and while I agree that blind allegiance makes zero sense, I’m also not fond of comparing office politics to an actual massacre.

Moving parts: This one crops up when someone wants to convey that a project or task is complex. Instead of the vague, “There are lots of moving parts,” quantify what those parts are to create a greater impact.

Synergize: I hate this word. It’s meaningless. What are you really trying to say or convey? Write that instead.

Out of pocket: This one bugs me. The intent is to convey that you’re not at you’re desk. You’re out of the office. It cropped up ages ago to imply that you were so important you’d still be working but limited to the Palm Pilot or whatever was in your pocket. Now? It’s misused, overused, and needs to go!

Ditch these annoying phrases; your writing will be succinct and clear. Plus, you won’t annoy people! 🙂

Authenticity and SEO: Can you have both?

Of course!

OK, see ya next week!

Just kidding… sort of…

Authenticity and SEO: Can your blog have both?

I recently had a conversation with someone who was griping about having to write “SEO copy” and coming off sounding awkward and forced.

Hmm.

That can happen. That does happen. I read awkward copy all over the web, copy where you can skim it and say to yourself, “OK, this guy’s trying to rank for XYZ.”

But it doesn’t have to be like this! There’s a better way!

Here’s the big secret.

Ready?

Write for people, real people, not for bots. 

See, all the SEO tips and tricks in the world are designed for the bots that skim websites to catalog and rank the copy.

Writing for a non-human results in non-human copy, and no one wants to read that.

OK, so how do you write good, authentic copy AND appease the bots?

Write for people! 

Seriously, write for your readers. Cover the topics that your readers are interested in, and write in the way that is unique to you and your style. Create posts with passion. Write well. If you deliver the copy your audience wants, people will find you. They’ll stick around (another important, but often overlooked, ranking factor). They’ll share your content. The bots will notice.

It can’t hurt to have an idea of what you want to rank for. So, for example, if you’re a blogger who covers training reactive dogs (HI! My name is Maggie, and I would love to read your blog!), you obviously want to rank for phrases like: how to train a reactive dog. So, write a post with that as the headline. Work that phrase into a post here and there as a header IF and ONLY IF it fits that post naturally.

That is truly the secret sauce for SEO. Write for people. Write your blog, write your topic, write your passion, write your best. Then you will have authentic, search-friendly copy, along with hordes of readers who love and adore you! At least, I think that’s how it goes… 🙂

Want to learn more about authentic blogging? Need to figure out how to discover and use your authentic voice? Check out my ebook, Authentic Blogging, for a self-paced mastercourse in blogging with authenticity and style!