Erica.Biz

Welcome to the second episode of Author Platform Construction 101. In an earlier post I mentioned the modern author’s need to find ways to create an audience for their work. Preferably, before publishing their books. In the writing context, creating connections with potential readers is called building an author’s “platform.”

Blogging can be an effective way of creating these connections. However, there’s more than one kind of blogging. Some blogging styles are more effective at building an audience than others. There’s the casual, pure hobby style of blogging that is done without any forethought. And then there’s strategic blogging that is designed to encourage specific responses from readers. The hoped for responses can be any number of things, such as: consider a new idea, rethink an old idea, buy a particular product, engage in social activism, spread the word about something, or any combination of the above.

Even though the site is geared toward helping online entrepreneurs, Erica.Biz is an excellent resource for writers looking to blog with a winning strategy. Ms. Douglass’ free ebook, Blog Success Manifesto, gives great tips for quickly growing your blog to thousands of subscribers. By reading her ebook, I learned several key blogging strategies that will help me with my future projects. Check it out.

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15 Responses to “Erica.Biz”

  1. Karen R says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. What I take from this is that a blog needs to be planned, targeted, directed and sequential. I am going to study this as I plan to get my blog started. I appreciate your giving spirit in these posts that direct us toward making $$$ and controlling our financial destiny.

  2. Karen R.,

    You’re most welcome! I’m just paying it forward! 🙂

    You said, “I appreciate your giving spirit in these posts that direct us toward making $$$ and controlling our financial destiny.”

    Well, as you know, success is a team sport.

    Now that I’ve immersed myself into reading various White professional bloggers’ sites, I see that they’ve built their own mutually supporting, interlocking network. They boost each other’s readership by doing and soliciting guest posts for each other. They help sell each other’s information products by reviewing and giving endorsements of each other’s products. They’ve built a really nice, money-making thing for themselves.

    And I ain’t mad at ’em! LOL! I want to be just like them. That’s the next phase, 3.0 stage that I’m working on right now. I’m hoping that other AA women bloggers will take steps to further professionalize—and more effectively MONETIZE—what they’re doing.

    I happen to believe that a large part of effectively monetizing our online presence is by creating colorless structures that operate OUTSIDE provincial AA online circles. The AA consumer has peculiar habits when it comes to visibly Black-owned anything. Most AA readers are not inclined to support the monetization of AA blogs. They’re not willing to pay for premium, life-enhancing information—especially not when it comes from another Black person. There’s too much hateration among AAs for that. This is why I believe that those AAs who want online sites that are supportive of their business ventures have to mainstream what they’re doing; develop a mostly non-AA readership; and then get sales from this non-AA readership.

    I’m looking forward to reading your blog! You’re the 2nd person today who has mentioned to me that you intend to start your own blog.

    And on that note, let me mention something that I’ve been thinking about all day:

    Karen R., you and the other person who contacted me today (and she knows who she is—I sent her a reply email today—LOL!) are hereby invited to contact me for any behind-the-scenes assistance I’m able to give when you get started. And even before, while you’re still in the planning stage.

    I can tell from the materials you mention in your comments that you’re SERIOUS about getting the money! I like that—I’m ALSO serious about getting the money! LOL! So, please feel free to email me whenever you want to brainstorm some things.

    Again, success is often a team sport. Yes, there are many things that I can and am doing on my own. However, I believe that it’s best to try to form a loose network of like-minded, mutually supportive people whenever possible. Karen R., as you know from the Glazer-Kennedy stuff, Whites who are serious about making progress often form “MasterMind Circles” to share information and brainstorm strategies. Well, more of us need to get on that tip!

    Expect Success!

    • Karen R. says:

      Yeah for me!!! ;-)) Thank you so much.

      You said “I’m hoping that other AA women bloggers will take steps to further professionalize—and more effectively MONETIZE—what they’re doing.” Monetization of information is HUGE and exciting. We can get paid today and tomorrow and all the tomorrows for what we wrote yesterday.

      So many people have areas of expertise that they can leverage to make money and I know many of your readers are going to look into this. Maybe this time next year, we will all be attending the Sojourners Passport convention where all the info marketers that were birthed here can get together and celebrate.;-)))

  3. Rhonda says:

    Here’s another egg for your blog-basket: How To Make My Blog

  4. Rhonda,

    I just popped over there and that looks like a good resource. Thanks for sharing!

    Another good resource I’ve read is Building a Better Blog from The Simple Dollar (a popular personal finace) blog.

    Expect Success!

  5. Faith says:

    Thanks for this Khadija. I’ve been thinking about the last post where you specifically mentioned these blogging networks helping each other. It’s so normal for other groups to pursue making individual moves but keeping the forward movement of their collectives in mind as well.

    We have strategic blogging platforms that others should recognize in a professional capacity for the care and thought we’ve put into them.

    I’m looking forward to reading your blog Karen R!

  6. Faith,

    You’re welcome!

    You said, “I’ve been thinking about the last post where you specifically mentioned these blogging networks helping each other. It’s so normal for other groups to pursue making individual moves but keeping the forward movement of their collectives in mind as well.”

    Elijah Muhammad taught his followers to “study the successful man.” That’s what I’ve been doing regarding these White professional bloggers. It’s been very instructive.

    I’m not so sure that these folks are consciously keeping “their collective” in mind as they move forward. I think it’s more a matter of Whites in general NOT having the sort of mental barriers against in-group cooperation that AAs have. Among every ethnic group except AAs, it’s normal and everyday behavior to have RECIPROCAL interactions and relationships within their group. As a collective, AAs are self-destructive oddballs.

    We’re also unconsciously VERY self-limiting. Without realizing it, we only think of possibilities within very narrow—and often very stale—parameters. This came up during the New Math For Authors post:

    When I speak of encouraging more African-American women to form publishing and production companies, I’m not talking about this in the traditional sense of “Oh, come join this holy and noble crusade.”

    Instead, I’m saying this because—in addition to being a good thing in terms of promoting healthier visions of sane living for Black women and girls—these are opportunities for you to make large sums of money doing things that you enjoy (for the aspiring writers among us)! I’ve never been interested in taking vows of poverty. For any reason. It’s quite possible and doable to “do well by doing good.” This has always been my motto and practice.

    If you’re savvy and you work it right, the writing biz can solve many of your financial worries while also being a lot of fun. The folks who are most adept at working the angles of the writing biz have found financial freedom! This could be you!

    As I mentioned in the sample blog post about the 5 elements of money-making nonfiction, there are a lot of people making good money with their writing without being on a bestsellers list. There are ways of doing this. Now, that’s what I’m talking about here. LOL! I’m not talking about the old, played-out “crusade” model of failed, idealistic African-American businesses.

    You said, “We have strategic blogging platforms that others should recognize in a professional capacity for the care and thought we’ve put into them.”

    I agree to disagree on this point. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood this remark, but I happen to believe that it’s a mistake to fixate on seeking “recognition” of anything. I believe that AAs are traditionally much too focused on less-helpful, less-practical emotional gratification types of things like “recognition.” Instead of being focused on getting the business (= $$$$).

    Talking about recognition has an aura of the traditional AA complaint of “White folks won’t ‘properly’ recognize what we put together.” Well, nobody’s under any obligation to recognize anything.

    Recognition isn’t on my list of priorities with my side business. I want to have mutually beneficial interactions with consumers. Interactions in which I provide valuable information in exchange for fair compensation. I help them help themselves for a fair price, and everybody’s happy. That’s where my attention is focused.

    Also, since my side business is intended to be colorless, recognition would not work to my advantage.

    Expect Success!

    • Faith says:

      I’m referring to first our own self-awareness of our endeavors having a purpose and not being random as well as then using whatever platforms we’ve generated to continue moving forward. I was thinking in terms of how some have dismissed blogging in not recognizing it as a viable medium.

  7. foreverloyal says:

    As usual, you come with the practical advice/resources. This could be a big help to me, thanks.

  8. Faith,

    Oh, I see what you mean now—I had previously misunderstood what you meant.

    I think it comes down to a lack of vision. For the most part, we think of and use various things for frivolous purposes only. Meanwhile, other folks are figuring out inventive ways to make money off of just about anything.

    A course that I’m working through right now has made reference to a site that promotes secrets about the care and handling of guinea pigs. This is at http://GuineaPigSecrets.com. If you visit the site, you’ll note that the individual who runs it is offering free newsletters about guinea pig care in order to capture the email addresses of qualified prospects (people who would most likely be interested in buying his related ebooks or whatever about guinea pig care).

    Apparently, there’s a niche market for this information. And that site owner is making some extra money. Lord have mercy, guinea pig handling. {chuckling} Now, I’m chuckling at the idea of selling information products all about guinea pigs, but that site owner is probably chuckling with his direct deposits. I ain’t mad at him! LOL!
    __________________________________________________

    ForeverLoyal,

    You’re welcome!

    Expect Success!

  9. diva says:

    I also suggest a site
    http://www.fantopro.com/
    this has a lot of info on digital pub, blogging, gaming, game design and general career; clearing house of links.

    I keep a brainstorming notebook with me at all times and spend at least 30 minutes each day planning and visualizing the skill sets I need to meet my goals.

  10. Diva,

    I just went over there and that looks like a good resource. Thanks for sharing!

    Expect Success!

  11. Magenta says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this info!!!

    I have been studying Erica’s site for the past few days, I can’t wait to start applying some of her techniques. It is amazing that so many people are getting paid from this. Thanks again!

  12. Magenta,

    You’re welcome!

    You said, “It is amazing that so many people are getting paid from this.”

    I’m extremely excited to see so many examples of this. Because I know that since they’re getting paid—and paid WELL—I can learn their methods and do it too!

    I’m much too busy to read up on this angle, but I’m fascinated by the contrast between what these White bloggers are doing, versus the “typical” AA learned helplessness mindset of coming up with all the reasons why something “isn’t possible.” Another aspect that’s so interesting to me is that not all of these White professional bloggers have the advanced educations, much less prestigious Ivy League degrees, that some of us “helpless” AAs have. This touches on the points raised by Carter G. Woodson in his book The Miseducation of the Negro, as well as what the Nation of Islam has been saying for decades: Most AAs have been miseducated into dependency. All we know how to do is look for a job that was created by somebody else.

    At best, we get professional educations so that we can “own” our jobs as doctors, dentists, lawyers, and so on. [Which is how the Rich Dad author describes these private practices. It’s still a JOB—the person is exchanging time for money—but now that person owns their job.]

    Not to harp on it, but I’m thinking of how these professional White bloggers have found ways to get paid to write, meanwhile many highly educated AAs are moaning and groaning—as various “good jobs” dry up and disappear altogether.

    I’m also looking at how very young some of these professional White bloggers are—in their young and mid-20s! And some of these folks have never been chained to a regular job. It’s amazing and inspirational.

    Expect Success!

  13. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    Greetings Khadija,

    Thank you again for sharing all this wonderful information. I checked out some of the blogs mentioned and they were very helpful.

    I wanted to offer that if anyone needs to troubleshoot the technical side of running a blog/website in the future, if they are not contracting out…then I am open…

    I am not a professional, but after a year of trial and error, having to start from scratch many times, having my hosting provider delete one of my sites, and surviving 2 system wide hacks I have gained some knowledge…

    I am familiar with WordPress, Drupal, SMF, and Moodle. I also have experimented with Zencart, Cubecart, Nucleus, B2 Evolution, Joomla, and PhBB. I am comfortable with a little html, but CSS throws me.

    The most important thing I can say if you are DIY is to make sure that your site is secure. Even if you are just beginning you can be targeted by redirects, content bots/scrapers, email harvesters, and spam.

    1. The first thing I recommend is to create difficult passwords, for your cpanel, ftp, email, and sites. Then change them every few months. I mean nonsensical passwords – like upper and lowercase letters combined with numbers and symbols. And long…

    2. Next make sure that all your file permissions are set high enough.

    3. Always keep your software, modules, and plugins up to date.

    4. Back up your database and files, no matter if your hosting company says they keep backups/snapshots. And keep a few versions of the backups, in case one of your backups is infected or has a backdoor. Going back a few generations is better than starting from scratch especially if you have a lot of content.

    5. Look into modules such as Akismet, Bad Behavior, Mollom, and The Honeypot project. These three modules counter spam, brute force attacks, and bad robots.

    6. PHP errors should never display to the public as well as directory information. You may have to locate or create a php.ini file to prevent this.

    Also if you are dealing with a hosting company:

    1. Never buy your domain from them and there is no such thing as a free for life domain. Always buy your domain from another company entirely and point the DNS to your hosting company. Your domain will be held hostage and you will get screwed.

    2. Before choosing a hosting company try to google and find out if there have been any major hacks to their servers recently specially on shared and cloud hosting. They are not going to publicize this, but people talk.

    3. Depending on which software you choose to use for blogging or content management there are some hosting providers that specialize in that system. For example some hosting providers are Drupal friendly etc…

    This is all I can think of for now… Hope this helps someone.