How to Write a Compelling Blog Post Introduction

How to Write a Compelling Blog Post Introduction

When it comes to getting people’s attention with the introduction of your blog post, there are plenty of philosophies out there.

Why is the introduction so important? Well, it sets the tone for the rest of the piece, and it may have a huge impact on whether or not your readers will even bother to stick around to read the rest of it.

There are always times when a reader may not have been able to find what they were looking for on your post, but when you go to the trouble of distributing and marketing it, you hope that your visitors will take the time to read the content you’ve put so much time and effort into.

So, if you want to prove your worth to your visitors, you need a strong introduction. Here are some tips on how to draw people in from the first sentence.

Use Your Personality

In general, blogging should not be equated with writing a college paper. I can understand the desire to want to demonstrate your expertise, but I think we can all agree that using simple language is helpful, because it’s easier to understand; particularly if you’re talking about a confusing subject to begin with.

Write like you talk. If the piece doesn’t flow quite right, it may require some editing. Give special attention to the flow of your post.

Additionally, draw comparisons to things you like or know well. If you’re into fishing, then make references to reels or lures. If you like sports, consider using sports analogies.

Leverage the Power of Story

We are all drawn to stories. Jesus told parables that had lessons hidden within them, and that’s part of what made him so compelling as a leader.

At times, you may not have a story that relates directly to the subject matter, and that’s okay. However, make sure to inject story when and where appropriate.

Pulling a chapter from your own life is a great way to get to the core of the matter. If you touch people’s hearts, and you evoke emotion, you will have them for the rest of your post.

Relate to the Reader

You know what makes you more relatable? Challenges. We all have them.

I don’t know what your blog is about, but here at Outsource Blog Content, we talk a lot about blogging, outsourcing, and a bit of marketing. Do you think there might be challenges associated with those things? Absolutely.

First, the fact that you acknowledge a problem shows that you’re both transparent and bold. Second, it shows the reader that they’re in the right place, because they begin to realize that the challenges they’re experiencing are perfectly normal.

Find and Use Great Quotes

People love quotes. Moreover, when you use them in the right context, they serve to reinforce your points and built trust with the reader in the process.

Here’s an example via Brian Clark:

Brian Clark

Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.

See how nicely that fits with the theme of this post too? Even though you are the voice of your blog, you don’t have to be the go-to person for everything. You can tap into the expertise of others too.

Ask Questions

Most of you have probably heard that you should ask a lot of questions throughout your blog post, especially if you are looking to get more comments.

It just so happens that questions make for great blog post openers too. The fun part is that you don’t necessarily have to ask really specific questions.

If you’re going to start off a post with a question, it might as well be an open-ended one, or one that your readers will immediately answer “yes” to, and by extension will say “yes” to the rest of your post as well.

Use Attention-Grabbing Statistics

While I do feel that stats are a little over-hyped these days, they can still grab the attention of your readers.

Naturally, if you are in a field where data is more heavily talked about, you’ll probably be more inclined to use that information in your posts. That will help you connect with your target readers.

Stats – like quotes – can also add credibility to what you are trying to communicate. Though references aren’t always required, it’s also good for your readers to know where you’re coming from.

Conclusion

There is a lot of talk about headlines and intros with blog posts these days. Certainly, you can’t underestimate the importance of drawing people in to look at your content.

Conversely, I don’t believe that this is merely a game of getting the attention of your readers. I think there are greater things to aspire to as a blogger, like adding value.

If you consistently deliver the goods, people will keep coming back. However, if you disappoint them by baiting them, they may never return to your blog again.

So, if you enjoyed this week’s post, come back next Friday for another insight from Outsource Blog Content.

What I’ve learned from 6 Years of Blogging

What I've learned from 6 Years of BloggingI’ve been building websites since 1998, and I’ve almost always handled some aspect of content creation for those projects. Though there was a time when I updated websites manually and had some permutation of a blog – and I even used Blogger for a while – it wasn’t until 2009 that I seriously started using Content Management Systems like WordPress and Movable Type to build up my content archives.

So even though I’ve probably been blogging for more than 6 years, I’ll forego counting the early years, because I don’t think I was anywhere near as consistent as I am these days. I hadn’t fully wrapped my head around CMSs or blogging just yet.

What inspired me to start anew was Steve Pavlina and the massive success he was experiencing. Some of you probably know that he is the top blogger in the online personal development field.

One of his most inspiring posts for me was Do It Now, which drove me to start making more productive use of my time, and look for ways to generate income online. I didn’t necessarily have a plan so I pretty much just followed his model of producing content and using ads to monetize. That was late 2007/early 2008.

My main website at the time was Arctic Sunburn (at arcticsunburn.com), a domain I still have today, but whose name and focus has changed considerably. Today, it is a video game and movie blog.

Back in 2008, the focus of the site was a little more general. I wrote about 30 day experiments, music, personal development, video games, movies, and more. I was updating the site manually, and eventually realized that what I really wanted was a blog, and not a site that required my constant attention and maintenance.

I think I had actually tried installing a CMS on my server previous to that realization, but I had not done anything like that before, and wasn’t terribly technical as far as backend stuff was concerned. I got frustrated and quit numerous times.

As you can imagine, I was really excited when I got an installation of Movable Type up and running. I learned how to customize sites to my liking using the platform, so it quickly became my preferred CMS. Customizing a site on WordPress was (and in my opinion still is) far more challenging.

For a while, I ran most of my sites on Movable Type. As I became more comfortable with databases and the backend of servers, I even started experimenting with WordPress and Joomla!. I had a myriad of domains, and a bunch of sites up and running.

It was fun to experiment with a handful of platforms, and looking back, that’s probably where I earned my stripes as a developer. I remember there were a lot of frustrations early on, be it coding, designing graphics, or setting up databases. I enjoy those things a lot more these days, and I’m a lot better at them too. I’m not necessarily an expert though.

I’ve taken away a lot of lessons from that period of learning as well as the subsequent years I’ve spent building various projects. Here are the key lessons I’ve learned from blogging.

Stick-to-itiveness is Imperative

Though I don’t look back on my years in learning and experimentation as wasted time, I do feel that if I had stuck with the projects I had been working on, I would be a lot further along than I am now. If I had had the sense to maintain a consistent publishing schedule with my blogs, there’s no telling where some of those sites would be at today.

In my early 20s, I was often trying to figure out what my passion was. It either wasn’t the best advice for me personally (i.e. find what you’re passionate about, and then find someone that will pay you for it), or I just didn’t approach it with the right mindset.

That passion question got me into some trouble, because I was constantly starting and ending and re-starting projects. The better choice would have been to find a couple of projects to focus on over the long haul.

The weird thing about life is that your passion can change on any given day. Over time, your interests certainly start to emerge, and those probably aren’t going to go away, but as your mind opens to the possibilities, you might start going, “Oh, I could combine X and Y to create Z!” That’s exactly the conclusion I came to when I thought I was going to get into video game music. After all, I loved games and I loved music!

You know what happened? I applied to a new media course (which would have covered video games). Unfortunately, though my student record was up to snuff, there weren’t enough seats in the class by the time I had applied. I think I abandoned the idea of getting into video game music soon after.

Life takes us in unexpected directions, and today I rather enjoy entrepreneurship, blogging, writing, podcasting, developing information products and so on. I still have a passion for music, and I do play games on occasion, but the timing just wasn’t right for me to get into video game composition (which I can only say in retrospect). I think there might be another time when it’s right for me.

Certainly, go ahead and ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Just don’t stay there. Once you’ve decided on a topic and you’ve started a blog, give it a chance to find its footing. Give it a few years; maybe even five to 10 years. The worst case scenario is that you’ll have several hundred or even several thousand posts on a single subject.

At that point, it will be hard for people to deny your understanding and expertise in your chosen field. Moreover, if money is your goal, you’ll probably have a better chance of earning more because of your extensive archive of content.

Counsel and Direction are Critical

If you don’t have anyone to guide you, you’ll be guided by those around you. Ask yourself honestly whether or not the people around you right now actually have any wise counsel to offer you. If no one you associate with has accomplished what you one day hope to, then you’ll have to learn to take their words with a grain of salt.

What you really want is someone (or several people) that can give you a balanced and wise perspective. If they’ve actually done what you one day hope to achieve, they have a right to speak into your life. If not, you’ll have to filter what those voices are saying to you.

This is really hard, so you may even have to distance yourself from people that just don’t understand what you’re trying to do for a while. You don’t have to cut them out of your life outright, but you may want to regulate the amount of time you spend with them.

If you’re trying to do something “crazy” like start a business or make money with a blog, you can rest assured there will be some objectors.

The key thing here is to bombard your mind with the right information so you can reprogram it. If you can’t find a mentor, you should at least start devouring the blog posts and podcasts that can teach you something. There is plenty of information out there.

Everybody has a default mode of operation that’s largely informed by education, upbringing, the media, and so on. Unless you had a particularly excellent upbringing, your default M.O. probably won’t serve you well in business or any long-term endeavor. At the very least, it didn’t for me. Realize that change will probably be a part of your journey.

Like I mentioned earlier, I somehow ended up circling back to the passion question numerous times, thinking that I hadn’t found what I was meant to do. If you feel that way, first realize that nothing is perfect. Even something you love can turn into a job if you spend enough time at it. There will always be time to try a different project later.

Being too choosy will probably stop you from actually getting started. This is what so many people encounter when they try to select a niche to get into; analysis paralysis. You might as well fire now and aim later.

Your goals are important, but your journey matters more. If you sacrifice five, 10, 20 years of your life for the sake of a profitable venture, you may end up regretting it. However, if you enjoy what you do on a day-to-day basis, it won’t just be a means to an end. The means will be the fun part. The end will be the reward.

Counsel and direction are hugely important; both what you take in and what you don’t take in. You have to keep your mind focused on your goals.

You Need to Cultivate a Buyer’s Mentality

A lot of people get excited about the prospect of one day selling their blog or business. They think about building an empire that attracts a lot of attention and eventually sets off a bidding war.

It’s great to have goals and a vision for your blog and to think about what you might be able to sell it for. However, if you get stuck in a seller’s mentality, you may end up not doing the things that will actually make it attractive for prospective buyers.

If you always have a buyer’s mentality, you’ll always be asking yourself the right question, which is “Would I want this blog or business?” If you can honestly answer “Yes”, then you know you have something that’s going to be attractive to others too.

On the other hand, if you have a site that requires full-time hours to maintain, update and keep relevant, then you have to ask yourself why anyone would want it.

There are a lot of important things you could be doing to make your blog better, but if you’re thinking like a seller, you’re probably putting off doing them.

Notice how this is totally relevant even if you’re not thinking about selling your blog one day.

Having the right mentality will move you in the right direction. You’ll begin to do the things that are tedious or boring or painstaking so that one day you won’t have to.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about setting up systems and documenting procedures, tweaking the design of your blog, A/B testing landing pages, cleaning up your site structure and deleting pages you don’t need, keeping old blog posts updated, and so on.

This doesn’t just make your site more saleable. It actually creates a better experience for your users too, and isn’t that the point?

You don’t need to make the site better just for the sake of making it better. That’s far too subjective to quantify. You need to make it better in the ways that your readers will appreciate and notice, and that usually means navigation, organization, usability, and so on.

This is also about developing an all-in mentality. A lot of people wind up on the fence, and that’s the absolute worst place to be. If you’re in, you’re in. If you’re out, you’re out. But if you’re in the middle, you’ll get squashed like a bug (remember Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi’s wise words?).

You probably didn’t start a blog thinking it would one day be less exciting than it initially was. You probably didn’t anticipate putting a ton of effort into it that goes unnoticed and doesn’t yield any reward. You probably didn’t think it would be as hard as it is. Welcome to business.

Putting in the extra work will always separate you from the masses. Yes, work smart and not just hard if you can, but sometimes the only thing you can do to get ahead is work hard.

Get Used to the Messiness of Success

Most of us don’t know what success looks like, so we have a lot of false ideas about what it actually is and what it looks like. The reality is that success is messy.

Back in the day, I used to create hate sites. Well, not exactly hate sites, but anti-so-and-so satire type sites. My first one was an anti-Hanson site. It was trendy to have a site like that at the time, and a site called We Hate Hanson Girls! was getting a lot of traffic. I jumped on the trend, and built my own site around the same topic.

Though I did get the site listed in the Yahoo! directory (which was a big deal at the time), and the traffic did increase, it never overtook We Hate Hanson Girls!. This shouldn’t really come as a big surprise, since my English wasn’t really that great at the time (for reasons I’ll get into another time), and I was basically just following someone else’s model. It’s good to take pointers from other successful people, but there’s no point in being a copycat. I think the site peaked at about 20,000 visits after about a year.

Interestingly enough, I lost access to the site when I got tricked by an email that was purportedly from Angelfire (where my site was hosted), and ended up giving away my password. After that, I was no longer able to log in. However, apparently the hacker didn’t know how to edit the site, because it is still preserved in the exact way I left it many years ago.

Eventually, I started an anti-Britney Spears site. That one took off like nothing I’ve done before or since. First, I spent a lot of time and effort building it out so it would get listed in the Yahoo! directory. That took some time just like it did before, but traffic increased significantly once the listing was accepted.

The second humongous spike in traffic came when I managed to create a partnership with the guys at We Hate Hanson Girls!. They linked to my site, and I to them. Yahoo! was huge, but the traffic I got from WHHG far exceeded what came from search. The site got as many as 1,600 – 2,100 visitors a day when it was at its biggest.

I didn’t have a monetization strategy, I didn’t have a goal in mind, and I was beginning to feel conflicted, personally, about having a “hate” site to begin with. That’s when I let go of that project.

Through it all, I was bombarded by forum posts and emails from Britney fans, I kept creating more content and adding to existing pages, I kept redesigning the site, and I kept promoting it in chatrooms. It was kind of a manageable form of chaos.

That’s what I mean when I say success is messy. Believe me when I say I didn’t have a vision for building a site that would receive upwards of 1,600 – 2,100 visitors a day. What the heck was I going to do with all that traffic anyway? I didn’t know anything about monetization or what I could potentially do with the platform I had built.

I try to think back on all of the hours that went into the site. This wasn’t a small project by any means, but I don’t remember it being that hard. I was just equipped with enough knowledge to know what I needed to do to get attention for the site, and also the drive to do it.

Final Thoughts

When I started building websites back in 97/98, I had no way of knowing that writing and blogging would become one of my favorite pastimes. However, as we all know today, content is a critical part of building out and attracting more attention to any website. It tends to go hand-in-hand with online business.

The lessons I’ve learned through blogging help to bring perspective to what I do today. If I expect to reach my goals, I can’t bounce around between all of the projects I have and keep shifting my focus. I can’t change what I’m doing on an emotional whim. I have to see things through.

This is why knowing that success is messy is so important to me. I have perfectionistic tendencies, and if something is not going perfectly, I may up and quit or try to change what I’m doing. Instead, I have to embrace incremental improvement, and realize that I can make something better over time.

I don’t think the lessons outlined here are set in stone. They are subject to change, and I believe I may learn new things or possibly even contrary things over time. Time will tell.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, join us next Friday for another post about blogging, outsourcing and everything in between.

Content Outsourcing Experiment #1: Fiverr

Content Outsourcing Experiment #1: FiverrRed Flame is the owner of multiple web properties (though it doesn’t have much of a web presence at the moment), including the site you are looking at right now (Outsource Blog Content). Each site serves a different niche, which means that unique content must be created for all of the different sites.

Granted, some sites are currently getting a little more attention than others, because I can only focus on so many things at the same time. There are brands that I want to put more energy towards building right now, and there are others that already have a substantial archive of content. And then there are others that I’m not putting any energy into right now, but plan to later.

One of the sites Red Flame owns is a video game and movie review blog called AS Movies & Games. This site would fall under the “already has a substantial archive of content” category, but it still makes sense to push the occasional update to keep things fresh.

The AS Movies & Games Website
The AS Movies & Games website.

I recently watched the movie Elysium, and wanted to write a review about it. The issue was that it wasn’t a high priority. That’s when I decided to put our first content outsourcing experiment into motion. My goal was to find a writer on Fiverr and give them the task of writing the review.

Finding a Writer

Finding a writer on Fiverr did not prove terribly difficult. The main thing was to whittle down the candidates. There were those that were highly rated and keeping busy, which basically meant that they weren’t going to be able to get their deliverables done in a shorter period of time because of how many orders they were in the process of fulfilling.

Fiverr
On Fiverr, you can hire people to do a variety of different things for only $5.

I didn’t feel like waiting around forever for the post, so I didn’t go with anyone that had a longer waiting period.

The second criteria I had was post length. Most writers on Fiverr don’t appear to be doing more than 500 words, which is not surprising. I normally charge $10 per 100 words for my writing, so having to work on anything longer than that for such a small amount of money seems pretty crazy. However, that is kind of the neat thing about Fiverr.

With a little bit of searching, I was able to find a writer that did 600 word posts, did not have a longer queue, and was also highly rated. That’s where my search ended. I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time looking for the right service provider, as long as they could prove their eligibility with ratings as well as a well-written service description.

Ordering the Post

Fiverr gives you a couple of payment options, including PayPal (and Bitcoin I believe). PayPal was just fine with me, as I had recently received payment for some of the work I had rendered for a client.

After making the payment, I received a notification email confirming the purchase. This was followed by another email that said “Your action is required for order”. I had already specified the keyword (Elysium) as well as several simple instructions for the writer including:

  • On a scale of one 10, assume the review is an eight.
  • Tone of the post should be personal and funny.
  • Include a certain phrase when talking about the action of the movie (I ended up not using this phrase in the final review, as the writer could not make it fit).
  • The rest is up to you!

Anyway, I re-submitted this information to the writer just in case they didn’t get it the first time. I had initially submitted it before I got the email marked “Your action is required for order”.

As you can see, I didn’t exactly have stringent guidelines for the completion of this post. I was basically just looking for optimized content that would fit in with the tone of the site.

Delivery

The expected delivery time for the post was two days. As the deadline approached, I got a notice saying that the post would be delayed but should be completed by 7 PM EST of the same day.

So, while there was a little bit of a delay (maybe a few hours), I was willing to give a little bit of grace here. After all, what if the writer actually had to watch the movie (if they hadn’t already seen it) to be able to write a proper review? This is a $5 article, so you weren’t going to hear any complaints from me if the provider ended up having to put 109 minutes in to watch the movie, plus however long it would take for them to put their thoughts down into writing.

By the time I got home from work (at about 9 or 10 PM) the same day, sure enough, the article was ready. There were no further delays.

The Post

The post itself was reasonably good; not something I would publish without editing, but it adequately captured the spirit of what I was after.

The writer did not use headings to break up the post, so that was something I was going to have to put some thought towards. His thoughts weren’t entirely organized either, in the sense that he seemed to jump around from one topic to another. This is where providing established headings might have proved worthwhile.

Ultimately, I was already anticipating the need to edit, so I wasn’t heartbroken when the article wasn’t perfect.

Editing

The main challenge at the editing phase was trying to make the post into a cohesive, easily readable piece. I went through it about three or four times before arriving at a revision I was finally happy with.

In the end, it felt a bit like a collaborative process. The writer provided me with a post that I could have never written on my own. Together, we developed a post that neither of us could have written on our own. That was a pretty neat realization.

Once I finished editing, I put together a nice-looking header graphic, and formatted and scheduled the post. I decided to give myself a couple of days before publishing the piece, as I wanted to put a little bit of thought into marketing.

Elysium Review Header Graphic
Not bad, right?

Marketing

Marketing is where I decided to really put my noggin to work. I could have opted to publish the post and let it do its thing, but instead I decided that I really wanted to announce the return of AS Movies & Games, as it had been down for about a month while I was transitioning from one web host to another.

In addition, having spent money on the post (even though it was a mere $5), I wanted to get the most value I could out of it. Funny how paying for something increases its perceived value, huh?

In any case, this is the marketing checklist that I came up with:

Post Marketing Checklist
I ended up adding a lot of items to this list.

This was going to be a lot of work. I actually ended up adding a lot of items to this list as time went on, because more ideas started coming to me.

Email

The first thing I did was add an opt-in form on the post. My main sites already have signup forms on them, so this wasn’t anything new or revolutionary to me. However, I did end up doing a few things I had never tried before:

  • I used a red arrow graphic to draw attention to the signup form. It’s such a simple thing, but I couldn’t believe how much it drew me in when I looked at it.
  • I inserted the signup form within the post. I often use “After Entry” widgets in WordPress to place the opt-in forms, but in this case I decided to put the form smack dab in the middle of the post.
  • I created a custom ”Thank You” page. I don’t have an excuse for not having tried this sooner. I blame my own laziness.
Email Opt-in Form
Pretty amazing how much that draws your attention, right?

Then I wrote an email I would be sending out to people I didn’t know. This is the basic script I used:

Hi [Name],

My name is David Andrew Wiebe, and I am the founder of AS Movies & Games (at http://www.arcticsunburn.com/).

[Say something about their site that you liked or caught your attention].

Just the other week, I published a review of Elysium, and thought your readers might be interested in it. Here is the link: http://www.arcticsunburn.com/elysium

I would really appreciate it if you would share it with your community (on your blog or on your social networks). As we all know, marketing content can be tricky, and I am reaching out to get as much coverage as I can.

By the way, this new post is part of a secret marketing experiment, the results of which I have been documenting and will reveal at http://outsourceblogcontent.com/experiment1 on December 5th.

Should you choose to share this post, and if there’s anything I can do in return, please let me know.

Thanks!

Basically, I used a bit of a curiosity approach to get the attention of the recipient. Then I started making a database of people to contact. This proved more difficult than I thought. There are far too many mainstream review sites out there. I was hoping to find lone bloggers, or perhaps a small collective of them.

Thank You Page
This is the “Thank You” page I put together for those who opted in to receive email notifications.

The first few pages of Google’s search results of the key term movie reviews were laden with big media companies. I started to think I might be going about this all wrong.

So then I decided to search for sites with a review of the movie Elysium. Wait a minute…

Plagiarism!

This is when I discovered something awful. The writer had not written a unique piece at all! They had copied it from another site, and deleted entire sections from it. No wonder it didn’t make sense, but this is not what I had asked or paid for!

Duplicate content can get you penalized in Google, and I definitely wanted to avoid this.

I immediately looked for ways to report this user to Fiverr, which I could not find. However, I did let the writer know that what they were doing was not right.

I knew that plagiarism would be a potential risk with a site like Fiverr, but this was a little annoying (to say the least) this late in the game. Not much I could do now. I had already teased about this marketing experiment as well as the post, so I would have to write it myself after all.

I did get a response from the writer later on, simply saying “I can make this pass Copyscape.” That’s a pretty tall order these days as Google is on the lookout for spun and duplicate content, and in the end that wasn’t really the point. He was supposed to provide unique user generated content. In retrospect, I should have ran the text through Copyscape immediately after getting the post.

Writing

In all, the writing of the new post probably took a little over 60 minutes. I was able to salvage some of the writing from the editing phase, and in the end had an article that was longer than the original. I was also able to express more of my own thoughts in the new post.

I went ahead and edited the scheduled WordPress post, which was now up to 29 revisions because of everything I had changed and added to that point.

Marketing: Part 2

With the new post ready to go, I could finally turn my attention back to marketing. I had most of my content assets in place, but had yet to build a list of people I was going to contact.

Email

My search for Elysium review turned up similar results to the key term movie reviews; large media conglomerates. That rabbit hole wasn’t looking terribly promising either. So, I searched for movie blog. Ah, that’s more like it.

Finally, I was able to build a short list of contacts to send my new update out to. Unfortunately, it was proving tedious, and in many cases I couldn’t find contact information for the blog owners.

Then I came across a post entitled 600 Movie Blogs You Might Have Missed. Hmm… this seems promising.

With the help of this post, I managed to build up my list of contacts to 38, but that’s not great considering how many blogs I sifted through. The list was organized by category, so there were some categories that I skipped over completely, and there were plenty of blogs that either didn’t exist or were not updated anymore.

Contact List
I built my contact list in a Google Drive spreadsheet. Vital information has been blurred out to protect the innocent.

At first, I was surprised by how many movie blogs were out there. The next thing that I was surprised by was how many people were using Blogger or WordPress.com to host their blogs.

In any case, I reached out to my database of 38 contacts and left it at that. Clearly, finding independent movie bloggers was not going to be a walk in the park.

In summary:

  • I sent out 10 emails to friends and family members.
  • I sent 38 emails to blog and site owners.

I also sent a text over to one of my friends instead of an email. I had chatted with him on the phone, and he was game to share the new post with his network.

Illustration

As you probably saw in the marketing checklist, I came up with the idea of putting together a hand-drawn illustration of Max Da Costa, Elysium’s protagonist.

I decided to film the actual drawing of the illustration so I could also put together a time-lapse video for YouTube to promote the new post.

The video didn’t turn out perfect by any means, but I’ve had the idea to do something like this for a long time, and I’m glad that I finally had the chance to experiment with it.

I posted the video to YouTube the same day the post went live, and I also created a new post on the AS Movies & Games blog matching the title of the video.

After digitally coloring the illustration, I also uploaded it to my DeviantArt account. Of course, I added a link to the Elysium review in the description too.

Social Media

First, I loaded up the AS Movies & Games Twitter stream with scheduled tweets to start engaging. This was done in HootSuite. I wasn’t just looking to promote the new post. I wanted to make sure to announce to the world that AS Movies & Games was operational again.

Along with tweets containing links to content on the site, I also pinged our friends at The Doge Pound, and added silly comments to the stream as well. In addition, I teased about the new post in fairly non-descript ways.

Once the post went live, I posted tweets containing the header graphic as well as the illustration I mentioned earlier on Twitter.

From there, I went on a sharing frenzy on all of my social accounts, which I have entirely too many of. I covered the bases as far as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ were concerned. The post and the video were also submitted to StumbleUpon, Pearltrees, Delicious, and Digg. I didn’t bother submitting the post to Reddit (knowing how critical the community can be), but I did submit the video.

When all was said and done, my social counter indicated that the Elysium review had 53 shares. Most of those were me or one of my many social accounts, but at least it gave the appearance that the post was getting some attention.

Video

I had a few videos in the can for AS Movies & Games that I had never posted to the YouTube channel before, so I decided to take this opportunity to edit and upload the content I hadn’t gotten around to using yet.

Again, I started creating posts on the blog with titles matched to the videos. I figured this would be a pretty good way to engage while everyone was waiting for the unveiling of the post you are reading right now.

At this point, I still have more content to upload, and hope to get that done soon. Some videos were really long and took a long time to upload.

Posts

I tried something a little different with the Elysium review and Max Da Costa drawing time-lapse posts on the website. In the Elysium review post, I embedded a Facebook post, and in the time-lapse drawing post, I embedded a Google+ post, just for fun. It doesn’t look like they’ve been engaged with, but cool to know you can do that nevertheless.

Facebook Post Embed
Embedded social media posts could prove valuable to driving more engagement.

Additionally, on Compuxor – which is another Red Flame web property – I made a brief post about the new content that was being published at AS Movies & Games, and linked over to it.

Podcasts

I was planning on releasing a new podcast episode promoting the Elysium review as well as the new experiment. Then, I was going to re-purpose that audio and use it in a video update on the AS Movies & Games YouTube channel. As of this writing, I haven’t actually gotten around to that yet.

However, I did make mention of this experiment on my other long-running podcast, DAWCast: Music Entrepreneurship.

The Results

Where do we begin…? It’s a little hard to estimate the exact impact of an outsourcing and marketing experiment like this one. It’s also hard to know what metrics to track. For now, let’s go strictly with the most prominent numbers.

Perhaps the weirdest thing that has happened since the publishing of the Elysium review has been that the movie review of A Guy Thing has gotten 57 views, making it the 5th most viewed post on the site.

So far I have not been able to come up with any logical reason for this. There have not been any new backlinks to the post, so it seems unlikely that someone mentioned it on their site or social profile.

It isn’t the most shared, or most well-written post on the site either. The only thing I can think is that it’s ranking more highly in search for some reason. I did share it once on the AS Movies & Games Twitter stream, but I doubt that would have done it. Anyway, I slapped an opt-in form on that post too, just in case.

Either way, it didn’t really matter because I didn’t get any signups for the mailing list.

I’m going to continue to keep an eye on the results as I implement a few more things. You will probably see more updates to this post in the near future.

Would I do this again?

I think this is the ultimate question when it comes to figuring out the exact value and ROI on running an experiment like this.

As you can see, what began as an outsourcing experiment pretty quickly turned into an all-out marketing experiment, because that’s where the majority of my time ended up going.

The Elysium review was supposed to have been written by another writer. That part of the project utterly failed. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have some fun with this.

It was a lot of work, and even as I put the finishing touches on the first draft of this post, there is still more to do.

However, I didn’t name this experiment #1 for nothing. Experiments are experiments because you don’t know exactly how they are going to turn out.

I look forward to outsourcing more work, seeing what kind of results I can get, and reporting on them in the future. It may be some time until I’m ready to do another experiment, but you can still expect to see weekly posts here on Outsource Blog Content.

Final Thoughts on Our First Outsourcing Experiment

As I write this, it’s barely been five days since the publishing of the Elysium review, and roughly 12 days since I began working on this project. At this point It’s still hard to say exactly what the outcome of this experiment has been. I believe I created some content that has potential long-term value.

So far, I have only seen one email back from my outreach work, and that was from a friend I had pizza with recently. It may be several more days before I start to see social shares or a little link love.

Considering that I didn’t really have any predetermined goals for this project, a 277.78% increase in traffic is pretty impressive. The best part is that it seems to be self-sustaining. There has been a bit of fluctuation (the numbers always seem to be lower on any of my sites early in the week), but overall it seems to be keeping a steady pace.

Although the site hasn’t earned me more than $0.17 in advertising revenue since the publishing of the review, it still validates – at least to me – that it is possible to earn some money from ads. Traffic numbers would have to be significantly higher for it to be really worthwhile, but it’s still cool that my effort yielded some results.

Finally, there is still more work to do, be it promoting this post or uploading more videos to the AS Movies & Games channel. I will continue to update this post with my progress.