How to Make Money Online as a Freelancer

How do I get started as a freelancer online?

You may have heard about Freelancing at some point, but maybe you’re not quite sure about what it is. Freelancing is simply working on a for hire basis. When someone needs a job done, but doesn’t need someone full time they may post a listing asking for help. If you get hired on by this company you are considered a freelance worker.

Freelancing is great for someone that is trying to fund a business, but is also working a full time job elsewhere. It’s also great for someone that is running a business, but has a little time on their hands to do side jobs. Anyone can freelance no matter what skill you have. It could as simple as mowing lawns or as complex as creating a mobile app for a company. It all just depends on your skill set and hustle.

Where can I Find Potential Jobs?

So finding work online might be easier than you think, it just takes a little bit of searching to find the right kinds of jobs. I’m going to list a few places you can try out, but it is far from the only places you can go in order to find work. It all depends on your creativity level. Enough with the small talk though, let’s get to the freelancer list.

Fiverr

Fiverr* is one of the most common places you can go to sell your services. So if you’re looking to sell services, especially coding and design work, you can post your jobs here. The name Fiverr comes from the fact that work can start as low as $5 for people to buy. Despite this you can charge more than this if you’d like.

Upwork

Upwork is a site where freelancers can go in order to find companies looking for work. It’s a little different, and a lot more professional, than Fiverr. Users can contact you for work, but primarily freelancers are there to find work from businesses posting requests.

A business will post there requirements on the site and what price they’re looking to spend. From there freelancers will submit their offers and are given a chance to demonstrate why they’re the right choice for the job. If the company picks you, than you perform the work and get paid. Companies can rate you based on your performance so be sure to do awesome work.

Social Media

If you have a good following on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube than you can potentially have people reach out to you on there. You can simply make an agreement via email or messenger systems and bill them via a platform like PayPal for the work. When I do work like this I like to bill on a deposit basis. Basically the customer puts a certain amount down for the job and pay the rest at completion. I deal with websites so it’s less likely for me to get ripped off since I can always just take the site down if they don’t pay.

YouTube is fantastic for doing freelance work because you can make videos showing off your skills or even giving some tips for free. If you can gain trust via your free content you may find people more willing to pay you for your services on a freelancing level.

LinkedIn ProFinder

The LinkedIn ProFinder page is a place where people can find a vetted professional freelancer. To get listed on the ProFinder part of the website you’ll need to meet certain requirements. For starters you’ll need a LinkedIn profile, I would strongly suggest filling out all of your info and making sure your artwork looks good also. LinkedIn also likes you to have some recommendations or endorsements from some of your LinkedIn connections before they’ll put you on their ProFinder listing.

With that being said, if you have clients on your LinkedIn profile it would be a good idea to get them to give you some endorsements on your skills. Not only will it help you get into the program, but it will increase your chances of being selected by potential clients. Overall the ProFinder section works much like UpWork, but it is tied in with the LinkedIn system so one could argue it’s an even better option to find work.

Website

If you create your own website you can populate it with useful information and content to show off your skills. With a website of your own you can post portfolios, add blog articles, and place some testimonials from past clients.

Having a website can make your content easier to find via web search compared to the other options listed because everything on the site will be all about you. I highly recommend posting blogs and other informative content on your website to answer questions clients might have, show off your skills, and demonstrate to viewers why you’re the right choice for them. Similarly to social media you can set up deals via email and charge with PayPal.

<shameless plug> By the way, if you need help setting up a website you can always reach out to me. </shameless plug>

 

So there are a few ways you can get yourself a little bit of extra money by working freelance for clients. If you have enough skill and hustle you can easily turn this into a full time gig and potentially ditch your current job. How awesome would that be?

Have any ideas of your own that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about them in my comments section so please, let me hear it!

 

Do I Need A Website If I Have a Facebook Page?

So this is the one question I get from people the most when it comes to building a website for their brand. My answer to the question is typically the same for everyone.

This question is fundamentally flawed because it’s not a question of Facebook vs. Website. These two items actually should be used in unison with one another rather than being looked at as a competition. Facebook and a website have many pros and cons that can make it worthwhile to have both of them set up. I’m going to cover some of the different ways you can utilize the two places together to create harmony with your brand.

Facebook can be a great content funnel.

When you talk marketing you will typically hear about funnels quite often. Using your Facebook following as a part of your own funnel can be a great strategy to employ. The top of the funnel is market awareness, using a huge site like Facebook can really give you a boost in that regard.

If you’re someone that writes blogs has a lot of video content than it may be beneficial to direct users away from Facebook and over to your own personal website. The Facebook format doesn’t look the best for longer articles so it might make a lot more sense to push interested users over to your website. From there you’ll have a lot more options for formatting and branding your content.

I also think Facebook is a great place to offer up free content that your users will find useful and share. When users share items on Facebook it creates instant discoverability to reach more people. If you become well known for providing awesome free content or advice you may become known as a bit of an expert in your industry. If this occurs you can always offer up premium services as well, this is where the website comes in. Whether you’re selling ad space, consultations, or physical products; this is going to be much easier from your own platform.

One final way I’ll mention to help use Facebook as a funnel is to create some awesome promotional content to share onto the platform. If you’re pushing a fun product you might make a cool video showcasing people using your product to do amazing things. Of course if the content is sharable it can easily reach thousands or even millions of potential customers. Once they’re aware of your product you can use your presence over on Facebook to direct them onto your site where they can purchase your product or learn more information.

Facebook Is a Noisy Platform, You’re Website is Not.

Facebook is active with over 2 Billion users monthly. That’s billion with a B guys, so just about anyone you could think of is on the platform. Don’t let this fool you though, while Facebook has a lot of users they also have a lot of noise along with it. The algorithm only shows your content to people that like your Facebook Page and even then not everyone will see it. With all of the posts users put on the site daily the algorithm is designed to show users the types of content the system thinks users will enjoy. Unfortunately this means that sometimes your content will get passed by unseen by many, if not most, of your page fans unless you’re willing to shell out some money for promotion.

On the other hand with a website you have complete control over the content on your page. When a visitor goes to your website they’re going to see the information you want them to see based on how you place them in the web design. This is a fantastic feature if you’re trying to promote a product, grow a newsletter list, or encourage users to view a specific video. You also don’t have to worry about other creators content being shown alongside yours, this is your space and everything on there can reflect that.

Facebook integrates with websites easily.

Thankfully Facebook plays very nicely with websites. If you have a site built on the WordPress platform you can easily add plugins to connect your website directly to your Facebook. This makes is much easier to share blog posts automatically, give users the option to share your content to Facebook, and so much more. You can even hook your feed up directly to your website which can be extremely beneficial when it comes to keeping visitors up to date. For example, if your news feed displays on your website you can easily update both locations simply by posting on your Facebook. This can be a great option for someone that wants to keep an updated web site, but doesn’t have the time or resources to continuously update multiple places.

On the other hand it also makes it easier for site visitors to keep updated about your business. They may not log in to your website every single day, but there’s a great chance that they are actively checking their Facebook on a regular basis. So adding a like button onto your site can increase your ability to stay in front of the consumers eyes.

Facebook can make customer support easier

With Facebook constantly improving upon their Messenger service it can make a fantastic way for you to keep in touch with customers. You might sell products on your webpage, but can easily handle many of the support issues or questions over on your Facebook page. If you choose to do this you could actually eliminate your need to have a separate chat program on your company website. Perhaps the best part of using Facebook Messenger (besides the fact that it’s free) as a support option is that it is easily usable on virtually all platforms and is maintained very well by Facebook.

Facebook does have an article that talks about some of the benefits for using them as a customer support option. Some of the great messenger features that could be beneficial to your business include:

  • Welcome greetings for users engaging you on messenger.
  • Auto replies that can be sent when users send you a message.
  • The ability to write away messages when you’re out of the office.
  • Easily gather customer info from their profile.
  • Save replies to use later for similar questions.

 

So as you can see the question shouldn’t be Do I Need a Website If I Have a Facebook?, but should instead be How Can I Better Integrate My Facebook With My Website?

If you’re interested in finding out how Facebook and a Website can work together to better suit your business needs than Contact Me in order to request a premium consultation to discuss your options.

Many Small YouTubers to Lose Monetization. Are you 1 of them?

The Bad News

On January 16th the news came from YouTube that many people will dread hearing. Previously YouTube required all creators to have at least 10,000 lifetime channel views in order to apply for monetization again. Many have felt this policy would be tightened and as of today that’s exactly what has happened.

This post was added to the YouTube Creator blog from Neal Mohan and Robert Kyncl. Here’s a rundown of the basics of this notice.

  • Channels must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of views over the last 365 days in order to stay monetiezed.
  • This policy is effective immediately for new channels, but won’t go into effect until Feb. 20, 2018 for existing channels.
  • 99% of affected channels earn less than $100 per year.
  • 90% of affected channels earned less than $2.50 in the past month.

What this means simply is that as of February 20th you will not have monetization anymore if you have less than 1,000 subs and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months. Sub count is easy to check for, you either have them or you don’t. When it comes to the watch time you’ll have to visit your creator studio to check how you’re doing there.

Visit your creator studio, go into analytics and change the time period to “Last 365 Days”. The magic number is Watch Time at 240,000 minutes. This number is equal to 4,000 hours. I’ve highlighted the sections to look at in the picture below.

As you can see, I am no longer going to be monetized as of February 20th.


What does this mean for me?

For myself and many creators like me, it means that I’ll have to hit these marks before I’ll be able to make money after this point. According to the article any site that is currently receiving monetization will be reviewed automatically upon reaching the required numbers. It’s worth noting though: If you’ve already made money via monetization you will still keep that money. I have seen this question asked in a few locations and thought I should put it here as well.

Personally I’m very close to the mark already so it hopefully won’t take me long to get there. I feel really bad for folks who are putting quality content, but aren’t anywhere near this mark. Even though YouTube claims most channels made under $2.50 in ad revenue, mine was much closer to the $15 per month ball park.

 

How are people reacting?

The comments contain a lot of what you’d expect. A large number of upset creators are expressing their anger. Comments include the following:

The soul crushing comment will probably hit home for many of you reading this. I agree, for many this news will certainly demoralize a lot of creators, especially the ones who were just recently approved. I feel your pain folks, I really do.

What does this mean for the future of YouTube?

I feel like many creators will certainly drop out of the game with this news. These are the most strict regulations yet. For those of whom currently meet the criteria I believe this is a good thing actually. This should hopefully drive up the demand as the number of potential advertising spots will be significantly less. It also means there will be, in theory at least, more higher quality spots available. I do however think it will reduce the competition slightly so if you’re not in it for money right away you might find yourself in a better position to be discovered.

So will YouTube fail now? Absolutely not. These issues facing creators mean absolutely nothing to viewers in general and there is still a lot of great content out there on YouTube. Remember, YouTube is the largest video site on the web and the 2nd largest search engine in the world. A few angry creators will not cause that to change too much.

What can creators do to combat this?

If you’re in a bind and are now finding yourself in a world of zero monetization you are not completely without hope. There are many other great ways to make money online with your videos. Smaller channels are still able to leverage methods like Affiliate Marketing, Merch Sales, and crowdfunding sites like Patreon. Sure, it’s a little bit tougher than uploading videos and collecting the ad revenue, but good businessman can manage these sorts of downfalls.



Other sites like Twitch and Facebook are doing some smaller testing with monetization options of their own, so trying other platforms may also be a viable option in the near future. Facebook is trying very hard to compete with YouTube on the video front and this could open a door for Facebook to attract some creators away from the Tube platform over to theirs. I don’t want you to take this paragraph as me saying “Yeah, leave YouTube now!”. I’m just pointing out there are some other options out there depending on what types of videos you’re making. The platform you decide to focus on is important and should take a lot of consideration before making a final decision.

I also feel like this is a great reason for users to have a blog of their own. By having your own personal space you’re in more control of ad placement and the content that is being pushed to users. By relying solely on these social media networks you become virtually a slave to their policies and algorithm.

Conclusion

So perhaps this comes as awful news to you, but don’t be discouraged. At the end of the day great content wins. In the long run it may be a great thing for the troubled monetization system. If anything we’ve learned today, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Multiple streams of revenue is the way to go, this is something that most successful creators know.

 

Want some free music, videos, and tools to help you with your content creation efforts? Click here to download my awesome freebie guide and you’ll find loads of great links to completely free, no gimmick content.

 

6 Super Useful (and Free) WordPress Plugins 

WordPress powers about 29% of all websites on the internet. These aren’t just blogs, they are websites that have a variety of different purposes. While WordPress in its most bare form is great for blogging, it requires a few additional plugins to make it really great.

With a wide variety of themes and plug-ins available, the system can be used to create practically any kind of site you’d like. I have built hundreds of WordPress blogs over the years and discovered many great plug-ins to improve your site. Today I bring you my 6 favorites. These ones are my go-to for many of the sites I build and they provide fantastic value.

The listing here are plug-ins that are free. Many of them offer premium versions of the plug-in, but the free versions should be good enough to handle the majority of your needs.

PowerPress Podcasting Plugin

This plugin by Blubrry is a must have for anyone that wants to integrate their podcast into their WordPress. With the PowerPress plugin you can easily create a podcast episode, upload it to the site, and even integrate it with iTunes and the Google Play store.

This plugin is free and pairs with the Blubrry service (also with a free option) to gather statistics for downloads and more. The website also allows you to use upgraded features, including media, hosting if you need them.

Woo Commerce

WooCommerce is a powerful add on for WordPress that allows you to essentially build an eCommerce website easily. The plug-in helps users add products, categories, and more. Here’s just a small list of the things that can be done with the free version of WooCommerce:

  • List products online for sale.
  • Accept payments with PayPal. (Other modules for a fee)
  • Manage inventory of individual products.
  • Limit amount of products someone can buy.
  • Suggest products based on what they are viewing.
  • Sell digital and physical products.
  • Calculate shipping easily.

There are a number of modules that can be added into the system, some of them are free while others make you pay. With all of the additions and tweaks that can be made to the system this could be a great solution for someone looking to sell products online.

If you’re interested in seeing a demo site of what Woo Commerce can do than visit this link.

Jetpack

This powerful set of tools is from the creators of WordPress themselves. This plugin adds a huge set of options for completely free. These options include:

  • Related posts plugin
  • Site statistics and advanced anayltics
  • Automated sharing on social media pages
  • Downtime monitoring
  • Secured logins and two factor authentication.
  • Additional sidebar widgets

I primarily use it for the sharing functions, but I enjoy the tiled and slider gallery features as well. Please be warned though, this will slow down you website slightly. There is another plugin late in this article that can help with that a little.

WP Live Chat Support

This plugin is fantastic if you want to provide users the chance to chat with you right from your WordPress website. I use this same plugin here on this page (check the little bubble in the bottom right).

My favorite part of the app is the amount of customization and adaptability the add on has. The features of the free version include:

  • Live chat box on all pages
  • Ability to customize color scheme
  • Ability to customize messages
  • Provide users with surveys about their chat experience.
  • Block IPs to reduce spam or harassment.
  • Allow users to leave you messages when you’re offline.

If later on you decide to upgrade to the pro edition you’ll have the ability to add multiple agents for businesses with more than one support staff, relevant document search, and more. There is even an add-on to this that allows users to perform support chats right from their mobile device.

WP Super Cache

In this day and age people are suffering from a shorter attention span. This is in part due to the ease of access we have to information. With the invention of high speed internet and 4G wireless data plans, users expect pages to load fast. In fact, studies show that the vast majority of users will leave a page if it does not load in the first 3 seconds.

One of the biggest complaints I see people have with WordPress is called “bloat”. This bloat is because of the additional coding that may not be necessary for the site, but still loads regardless. These extra wasted seconds could be the difference between getting your site viewed or not. Even worse, a slow loading site could negatively impact your ranking in search engines.

That’s where WP Super Cache comes in handy. This free tool creates a “Cache” of your pages and stores them. Basically it’s like this, WordPress uses a lot of dynamic coding. It’s extremely useful, but can load slower than traditional HTML websites. The Super Cache converts these dynamic pages into static HTML and serves them to viewers. Any viewer that is not logged into your site will be served the static page, causing it to load much faster.

 

Loginizer

If someone uses a Brute Force attack to hack into your website the consequences could be dire! Loginizer offers protection against this by allowing IPs a certain number of tries to login before blocking the IP from logging in. This is useful in preventing bots from hacking into your admin account and causing havoc on your page.

Other features include reCapthca, Two factor authentication, and Passwordless entry. There are additional features available in a premium version, but the free version delivers a lot of greatness on its own.

 

Hey Content Creators! Need some FREE tools and resources?

Click here to download the Freebie Guide

Of course everyone loves the price free, but many times there’s a catch to it. However my completely free resource guide offers a large variety of free music, videos, pictures, and programs to help anyone that produces content. Whether you’re creating a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel; this guide has a lot of great links to help you spice up your content.

Like I said, there’s no catch involved. You simply visit this page, fill in the form, and the download link will be emailed to you. You’ll receive a PDF file that you can easily reference at anytime.

Demonetization on YouTube: How to Fix and Prevent It

It’s the Yellow symbol that’s been striking nerves all over the YouTube community, the Demonetized logo. If your videos are coming up as being “Not Suitable for All Advertisers” than you need to read this article to discover why this is happening and, more importantly, how you can remedy the problem.

Why do videos get demonetized?

In February of 2017 it came to light that some videos promoting hate speech or terrorism were displaying ads. Advertisers were obviously not pleased to see their brands showing up on videos with unsavory content. By April most of the large advertisers on YouTube began to pull their ads from the platform. Creator profits from Monetization plummeted in an episode known as the “Adpocalypse”.

Due to the boycott from the major companies that advertise on the platform YouTube had to make some serious changes with their system to keep ads from showing up on the wrong videos. Part of this change was a machine learning bot that is designed to check videos over and determine if they’re advertiser friendly. The biggest problem with this new bot is that it makes a lot of mistakes about what is truly advertiser friendly or not. Luckily this bot is capable of learning from its mistakes, this should lead to fewer false positives.

How do I know if I’ve been Demonetized?

If your video has been flagged by the bot as being “non advertiser friendly”  you will notice the infamous yellow icon.

Unfortunately YouTube doesn’t tell you exactly what caused the video to be flagged. The answer could lie within the titles, description, or tags. It takes a little bit of tweaking to prevent your videos from being flagged in the future.

What to do if You’re Demonetized

If you’ve been demonetized it might seem pretty frustrating at first. Don’t worry, there are a lot of things you can do to not only get your symbol back to green, but keep it from turning yellow in the future.

1. Upload videos days ahead of when you want them public.

Usually the bot will flag a video within 24 hours of the upload. If you upload them as Private a few days before you plan on releasing them to the public. This can give you a chance to fix everything before it goes live and you can start off making money. Since most of your views should come in the first few days, this is important to keep you from losing too much ad revenue.

2. Request Review Immediately

YouTube allows you to request reviews on videos that you feel were flagged as non advertiser friendly by mistake. You can request a review even if your video is still private (which is why I said to upload it before going public). Although YouTube states your videos require 1,000 views in a 7 day period before it can be reviewed, this is completely false. All of my videos are uploaded at least 3 days before going public and they are monetized before going public.

To request a review:

  1. Go to Creator Studio
  2. Go to Video Manager
  3. Click on edit to bring up the Video Edit screen.
  4. Click the monetization tab.
  5. Click request review.

3. Check Your Meta For Potential Flags

Look over your Titles, Tags, and Descriptions for words or phrases that you feel could be potentially causing it to be flagged. Anything that may be considered unsavory or spammy can cause the bot to look unfavorably on your video. This can possibly keep your videos from being flagged in the future.

4. Make Videos that Comply with Community Guidelines

You don’t want to break the community guidelines, period. This can not only get your video demonetized, but can get you banned from the platform altogether. Here’s the link to the community guidelines page on YouTube

These guidelines restrict items like the following from videos:

  • Nudity or sexual content.
  • Harmful or Dangerous Content
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Violent or Graphic content
  • Spam and Scam Content
  • Hate speech or Hateful Content
  • Threatening Content

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that without advertisers the YouTube system wouldn’t be what it is today. There’s a definite give and take process between YouTube, Advertisers, and Content creators. If you’re very frustrated about the issue just try the tips I’ve mentioned and hopefully you won’t get as many headaches from it. Keep in mind that YouTube is actively working to resolve these issues and they’re still the only platform that pays users to upload content. If you focus on creating great content and gaining views you can still find success on this platform.

 

 

Why Your Subscriber Count Means (Almost) Nothing

Browsing through various internet marketing groups I see a majority of posts are from people talking about one thing: subscriber count. I’m here to tell you that subscriber counts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Sure, having a high subscriber count can be helpful in many cases. It can help you get a nicer initial boost on videos you post to YouTube due to the notification system. It also unlocks certain features like Super Chat that you can’t use unless you’re at a certain number (currently 1000). Other than that it doesn’t have too much weight behind it other than looking cool.



The fact is that many channels now have large subscriber bases so it’s no longer anything special to have thousands of people subscribed to you. Many of these large subscriber bases aren’t even watching anymore, they’ve just never bothered to unsubscribe to you.

So if I am down on the importance of YouTube subscribers than what IS important? Simply put: engagement.

Engagement is the force behind successful channels. It’s one thing to get users to watch a video or look on a page, but it’s an entirely different thing to convince them to interact with your content. Engagement comes in many forms: comments, likes, and shares being the most common. YouTube loves content that is engaging because it keeps people interested and can build a better community. So if YouTube likes it, you should like it too.

There are many other benefits to gathering engagement on your channel. Engagement tells us a lot about what fans like and don’t like. Likes/dislikes can tell creators what is going over well and comments are an option for further discussion or suggestions.  It also looks great to a potential sponsor because you are demonstrating that you have the power and pull to make people take action. After all, as a sponsor you’re looking for creators that can convince their user base to take action and look into a product or service.

So am I saying that subscriber count has zero to do with anything? Of course not. For one, it does give us practice with our persuasion skills. If we’re able to persuade people to subscribe to our content then maybe we can also use those skills to persuade them to check out a sponsor or buy a product. Another important detail we can gather from subscriber count is how much people value our content. Usually people don’t just subscribe from one good video. Most subscriptions come from the channel overview page and you’re more likely to get subscribers if your channel features a lot of content the viewer will like.

So while it does provide some value and insight on the health of our channel, the subscriber number is not what we should be focused on (especially in the beginning). Instead try focusing on your views and watch time. It is a well known fact that YouTube favors videos and channels that keep viewers on the website. You don’t do that by getting people to click a subscribe button. You do that by hooking viewers and keeping them watching your content for long periods of time. As for views, when you’re getting started you can try to gain search traffic by targeting relevant and valuable keywords.



Getting views and watch time will lead to some real magic in the long term. Views and watch time will lead to higher search results and more appearances in the suggested videos column. This will cause (hopefully) your subscriber count to rise as more viewers will see your content. If you’re getting the eyes on the channel and providing good value it will lead to a more consistent flow of subscribers, I promise. It also doesn’t hurt to ask them to hit that subscribe button either. A good call to action can do wonders for you.

The bottom line is this: Views and Watch time lead to subscribers, not the other way around. If you’re new to YouTube and constantly find yourself checking your counts try to stop focusing so much on it. Believe me, I’ve been there and I understand the excitement of seeing a channel grow. However over time you’ll see the same thing I did; if you focus on providing a great value on a consistent basis the rest will start to fall in place over time.

8 Special Factors of a Viral Video

We all would love to create a video that goes viral. There’s only one problem, it’s not very easy to do. Creators can spend their entire lives working to make that one video that everyone just has to see, only to have it end up all for nothing. On the flip side, someone can do something incredibly stupid on film and end up the next big thing (Cash Me Outside?)

The truth is that what goes viral is often unpredictable and at the mercy of the masses. There is absolutely no “fool proof” method to making a viral video. Anyone that tries to offer this to you is simply full of crap. Sorry, I see it all the time on Fiverr and it makes me laugh. Do people really think some generous guy is going to sell his ability to make any video viral for the low price of $5?

While there may be no perfect method to making a video go viral, there are some factors that many of these smash hits share. By aiming to make videos that have these attributes, you can increase your chances of having a viral success story.

Evokes Strong Emotion

We are humans after all and sometimes we just can’t help, but get emotional. When you’re dealing with a topic that people are passionate about it can get them sharing. Usually you see humor videos or cute cat videos go viral because they evoke a happy emotion and for the most part we all want to be happy.

It doesn’t just apply to happy emotions though. Many sad stories or videos that bring anger also can go viral. Social media is a place where people sometimes go to vent (we all have that one friend that is always angry about something). If it causes a strong enough sense of anger in someone they may feel the need to spread it out there to get other people talking as well.

Shareability

If you take nothing else from this article, take shareability to the bank. In order for something to go viral it has to be shared a lot. If you want this to happen than the content had better be worth sharing around.

What makes content shareable? It all depends really, when you see something online and think to yourself ‘I bet Jan would love to see this’ or ‘I can’t wait to be the first to share this’ ask yourself why. What is it about the content that makes you so eager to spread it around? Is this something you can replicate?

Covers a Large Demographic

If you want to go viral you need to have content that would apply to a large group of people. Although I preach niche all the time, viral videos typically have a very large niche of people. For example, kitten videos can be enjoyed by most pet lovers. This niche is very large and tough to crack, but if you do the possibilities are huge.

Another style video would be things that most of us experience. Whether it is a video about celebrities or common life events, most of us can relate to these topics. Smaller niche videos such as the niche I operate in, content creation, may not have a large enough following to truly go viral in. Fortunately this doesn’t mean you can’t have success with smaller niches, you might just never go viral with it.

 

You might also like: Why Your Subscriber Count Means (Almost) Nothing

 

Enticing Title or Hook

Humans have a short attention span and it’s statistically getting shorter over time. This means that video creators have even less time to get users to keep watching their content. That is where an enticing title or hook comes into play.

We see titles like ‘You’ll never believe what he did’ or ‘It was a normal day until her boyfriend did THIS‘ and they are kind of annoying. Usually the articles are a let down, but you will continue to see these types of titles regardless because they have historically produced clicks and interest. We can’t help ourselves, we just have to know what the boyfriend did. It’s simply human psychology.

Titles that also perform well can include lists ‘5 things only 90s kids will understand’ or titles that have strong wording also increase clicks. Words like Beware, Deadly, Horrific, Crazy, or Warning can grab the attention of the reader and cause them to click.

Timely

What good is a Christmas video in March? Exactly.

This also applies to news stories that are very time sensitive. If you can get the jump on other creators it could help propel your video into the spotlight.

Luckily there are a lot of tools you can utilize to see what people are searching for and what it hot right now. Google Trends is one of the most popular tools, it shows you certain search patterns that are trending. It also allows you to search specific terms to see how they perform during certain times of the year in the past. Other great sources would be the Trending Now bars on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s important to note that some content is “evergreen” meaning it can be reasonably consumed anytime. A lot of content viral content is evergreen making timeliness less of an important factor for those particular videos.

Strong Value

As with most videos you want to provide a strong value. Whether you’re providing entertainment or education, the content has to be deemed as valuable by the user if you expect them to share it.

The best way to determine this would be to gauge the comments, likes, and dislikes of content you post. People that find it to have value may comment on it or give it a thumbs up. However people that do not think it’s valuable may abandon the video early or leave some nasty feedback for you. Another suggestion is to take a good hard look at your content before publishing it and ask yourself this: ‘If it weren’t me in the video, would I still watch and enjoy this video?’ If you can’t honestly say yes, than how can you expect others to do so?



Simple to Understand or Share

Most people aren’t going to be interested in complex reading or long-winded content. They want something that is simple to understand and easy to consume. The content also has to be easily shareable. If you make it super easy to share content to Facebook, you’ll likely see more shares than someone that doesn’t take the time to add share buttons. Simple and Easy is the name of the game here. I’m not saying people are lazy… or am I?

Correct platform

The platform you post the content on matters as well. Places like Instagram are meant to showcase short videos or photo content. YouTube, however, showcases content of a variety of lengths. Other factors that can affect the platform of choice is the demographic that’s consuming it. Apps like Snapchat can attract a younger audience, but maybe that’s not where your viewers are. Getting the right platform for the type of content and type of audience can really help launch it towards success.

 

Don’t let this article fool you. There is plenty of success to be found in small niches that are less likely to go viral. So if you’re a content creator this means you don’t have to focus all of your energy on filming cute animal footage. Small niches are likely easier to break into and should have less competition. It’s more important to create content for value and based on your passion. Creating content for the purpose of going viral specifically rarely works, so don’t sweat it.

 

Cover Photo Credit: Photo by Casey Clingan on Unsplash

Build A Website: 5 Reasons You Need a Website for Your Brand

I push and push the concept quite a bit. If you ask me, you need a website no matter what type of online content you’re creating. I get a lot of different excuses for why people don’t feel they need a website for their brand. Among them are:

  • My brand is still small.
  • I don’t know how to code HTML.
  • I don’t have a lot of money.
  • I don’t see why I need one.

Well heck, I can tell you exactly why you need to get one and break down some of these excuses that prevent you from going forward with a page.

It cannot be taken down easily

So let’s imagine for a moment that you have an Instagram that does very well. What if for some reason it gets flagged and your content is taken down? Your users will no longer be able to find you. That’s a scary thought. In the blink of an eye your entire web presence is gone, *POOF!*

Thankfully if you have a website for yourself than people can always reference it when they’re looking for you. Plus, it cannot be taken down as easily since you own the domain and the web hosting is paid for by you. Essentially you are the boss here and everything on the page is geared towards you. No other profiles are shown, only the content you choose for them to see. Isn’t that kind of control great?

It is more professional

When you mark your brand with a .com you also get email addresses. This looks exponentially more professional than the old yahoo.com or gmail.com one you may already have now. By all means, keep those Gmail accounts handy, but it’s best to use your personalized domain email for business communications.

A web domain is also good to put on business card and can be remembered much easier than other URLs. It also looks good to have your own space in the world. It makes your brand appear more professional and because many of your competitors may already have a name, it may be a great idea for you to grab one also.



Building a Site is Inexpensive

People seem to have this idea in their heads that building a website is expensive. Turns out the costs of maintaining a simple WordPress is actually quite cheap. I use HostGator for my website, the cost of hosting there can be as low as $6.95 per month. Many times you can get a discounted price on a domain name when you first sign up. Personally I use NameCheap.com for my domain name registrations. It can get as cheap as $8.88 a year.

Don’t be afraid to shop around for deals. There are many other awesome web hosts out there that will give you great service as well. I have made a page that lists the various web hosts you can use, they are all regarded as solid web hosts and are included on the list because of it. Don’t worry, I try my best not to hook you up with poor services.

It’s the perfect home base for Brand You

So you’ve made the perfect brand for yourself, why not put it all together in one place? By having a website you are creating a home base that can link all of your social media networks together. Chances are you have a YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Instead of directing users to “Like my Facebook, Follow My Twitter, Follow My Instagram, Blah, Blah Blah, Blah, Blah…” you can just simply tell them to visit your website.

From there you can include everything about yourself in one place. Consider the website to be like the Walmart of your brand, get it all in one easy to remember place. Plus since some social media sites do not allow many links, you’re able to promote yourself and your products much more freely. So while many social media networks don’t like you sending people off of their platform, it may be worth it to send them over to your own personalized space.

It’s easier than you think

If you’re creating a simple WordPress blog than the need for coding knowledge is minimal. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated away from building a blog because you think it’s going to be too hard. The truth is that many themes in WordPress are fully customizable without ever having to open up the HTML of the page itself.

WordPress is not your only option though. Squarespace and Weebly are a couple other places you can turn to for some easy GUI based web building options. So remember, it doesn’t have to be hard. Things are so automated today that you can have a nice looking website up and running in less than a day. Heck, I can have my WordPress blogs ready to launch in one afternoon pretty easily.

Conclusion – If you need more help

So there’s my 5 reasons. Don’t be afraid to get yourself a website. If you’re still a little nervous or have some questions; I understand. If you want some extra advice from me don’t hesitate to get at me over on Twitter @ericminermedia. Give me a follow, send me a message, and I’ll be glad to help out wherever and whenever I am able to do so. Till next time, thanks for reading this one. Keep mining for your social media gold.

Do You Have The Grit to Make It? – Entrepreneurship Dictionary

Grit

When I hear the word Grit I immediately think of someone like John Wayne or someone in an action movie that fights all of the odds to become the victor. In many ways, Grit is not always as glorious as the sports star that overcame injury to win a championship. Grit is not always right in your face like the solider pushing through a battle to save lives. Sometimes grit is subtle, sometimes grit goes unnoticed by people because they’re just not looking hard enough. Regardless of how grit is shown, it is a crucial trait for someone looking to be a successful entrepreneur. In fact it’s so important that I decided it had to be the first entry in this series: The Entrepreneurship Dictionary.

Merriam-Webster defines Grit as such:

firmness of mind or spirit :  unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger

Does this seem like a trait you have? Don’t let the text fool you, hardship doesn’t have to be something like homelessness or losing a job. A hardship could be missing an important deal, losing a major client, losing a good friend, or even the death of a loved one. For many these types of events can be crippling or life altering.



When you’re trying to become an Entrepreneur you’re going to experience a lot of ups and downs, but believe me when I say this: How you handle the downs define your character more than anything else in this world can. If you can leave a bad situation with a continued desire to move on and a willingness to learn from your mistakes than you, my friend, are showing some major grit.

Remember that when things are down you have to dig in deep to get them back up again. By handling these bad times you’re growing as a person and you’ll be much more capable of handling them well in the future also. Famous social media expert Gary Vaynerchuck says that most entrepreneurs born into money will fail because they’re “soft”. I completely agree with this opinion. By having to scratch and claw your way to the top you’ll be able to stay more grounded and you’ll be more likely to take your hits and continue onward.

So do you have grit? When you lose big do you keep on trucking or just throw in the towel? If you’re someone that loves to fight the odds and buck the trends then you just might have grit. Since no startup or business venture goes without a hitch, you’re going to be taking shots from many different angles. They could be from competition, regulation, or even your own staff; but I can promise you they’ll be there.

It’s for the reasons listed above that Grit is so important for an Entrepreneur and is why it must be in every Entrepreneurship Dictionary. So stay tough, don’t let others sway your commitment to your goals, and most importantly never stop fighting for your beliefs.

Work Hard. Believe. Accomplish.

What trait or word do you feel is absolutely necessary for the Entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments below and maybe I’ll feature your word in some upcoming Entrepreneurship Dictionary posts. Thanks for reading!

Give Up! Getting to be Your Own Boss Sooner.

So are you trying to become your own boss by running your own online empire? Well you should give up! Here’s what I mean and here is how it can help you get to your goals sooner.

When I say give up I obviously don’t mean to give up on your dream of becoming your own boss. It’s a play on words that hopefully can gain some attention. Instead I am talking about giving up the silly things that are running you into some money that could keep you from ditching your employer sooner than you’d like.

Think about it, if you’re blowing money on stupid things that aren’t really necessary than you could be delaying (or even killing) your ability to branch out on your own. It’s time to take some inventory on your budget and figure out what fat you can cut in order to start keeping more of your hard earned money in your pocket. Once you’ve cut some items out of there you didn’t need you can actually be your own boss sooner since you won’t require as much money to live day to day.

I know some of you may say to me: “Eric, I love my Starbucks. I feel like I deserve that little bit of extra to keep me sane.”



Hey I agree with you! You shouldn’t cut your budget down to a point where you’re miserable, but also you can try to cut things down, but not entirely. For example I love to dine out and enjoy someone else cooking, but if I can cut that in half I can still get my fix without having to spend an entire fortune on dining bills. So in the case of your Starbucks addiction I would say moderation is the key.

It all comes down to priority in the end. What’s your biggest priority? Having your Latte every single morning or being able to make all your own rules? If you find more joy in a cup of Espresso than I have no issue with that, just don’t complain on your Twitter about how much you hate your employer.