I LOVE blogging.
It’s my passion.
It’s my motivation.
It’s the love of my professional life.
Yes, I love blogging… buuuuuut it hasn’t always loved me back.
I have name and brand recognition, traffic, community of readers – everything I need, really – to make Traffic Generation Café a financial success.
Yet it isn’t… Still.
I’ve recently had the ‘pleasure’ of discovering WHY.
might want to hear this, so here it goes.
First of all…
How DO You Make Money Online?
There are plenty of ways to make money online, but most of them are a form of
- paid advertisement
- affiliate marketing
- offering consulting/services
- creating/selling products
The way an online business owner might choose to monetize a business will most likely depend on
- type of business
- personal preference
I know, this is very rough around the edges, but since this post is not really about making money online, it’ll do.
Affiliate Marketing Was ‘My Thing’
…or so I thought anyway.
Affiliate marketing seemed to be a natural fit allowing me to blog AND pay my bills.
I was happy to let others put their blood, sweat, and tears into creating products. Do all the heavy lifting.
And I was equally happy to take 50% of their earnings selling their products!
Doesn’t affiliate marketing sound dreamy?… Easy-peasy…
Yeah, right… it’s anything BUT easy to make a good living off affiliate marketing.
After all, marketers who make tens of thousands of $$$ promoting other people’s stuff DO EXIST! It must be doable…
Yes, it is.
At a price.
The TRUE cost of promoting marketing tools
Internet marketing tools won’t make or break your business, but they WILL help you create a successful business a lot faster.
Time is the one commodity you can’t buy, thus you have to maximize every minute you have.
That’s where internet marketing tools come in.
They help you make the most of your time.
Problem is… which tools do it best? How do you find them?
Truth is there are only a handful of them – a very select few that will absolutely propel your business – that you, a business owner, really need.
And there lies a problem for me as an affiliate marketer.
The fewer products I promote, the worse my chances are to earn a good living doing it.
As a result, more and more affiliate marketers step into the gray zone of ‘this looks like a popular product… I don’t really like it myself, but the commission rate is great!‘… then they do it again, and again, and again.
Soon enough, they ‘recommend’ every tool under the sun! Not much of a ‘gray’ zone, if you ask me…
If a marketing tool is not a ‘HECK YEAH!’, then it’s definitely a ‘HECK NO’, as far as I am concerned, and I’ve never stepped over that boundary in my blogging career.
And so, I have a short list of ‘Heck, yeah!’ internet marketing tools I use and recommend.
Unfortunately, that’s not enough to turn this blog from a hobby into a business.
The TRUE cost of promoting marketing training
Next, we have marketing training: courses, bootcamps, webinars, etc.
Learning new skills in the always-changing world of business is crucial, thus marketing education is a MUST for any business owner.
Don’t let marketing education become a form of procrastination!
I’ve met too many business owners who continue to learn new skills instead of using the skills they already have.
Education should be a pattern of theory and application – that’s when you are truly maximizing the effort (and the money!) you put forth.
Education doesn’t come cheap these days – many marketing courses run between $1,000 and $2,000. Thus there’s serious money for an affiliate marketer to make.
However, just like with internet marketing tools, when you say to your audience who trusts you ‘This is good stuff. Buy it‘, you put your credibility and reputation on the line.
If a marketing course isn’t a ‘HECK YEAH!’, then it’s definitely a ‘HECK NO’, right?
Well, here’s what happened to me…
How Affiliate Marketing Almost Cost Me My Email List
In October, I ran an affiliate promotion for a marketing course – about 7 emails sent out over a 2-week period.
There was nothing wrong with that course. It was probably a very good one.
- I didn’t really know the course creator, I only knew of him;
- I couldn’t take a look at the course before promoting it, thus I was pushing a product I had no personal experience with;
- without personal experience, I couldn’t really personalize the promotion;
- my Traffic Hackers (Subscribers to my free Bite-Size Traffic Hacks email series) got bombarded by me, plus a slew of other affiliate marketers, with all the same emails…
…and all along I knew, had I been in my email subscribers’ shoes, I would’ve unsubscribed from my list in a heartbeat.
How’s that for a stupid business decision…
My email list is my biggest business asset, yet I was willing to jeopardize it to build up another person’s business with no guarantee of a penny in return!
Ahhhh… the reality of affiliate marketing…
Personal Relationships Do Trump It All
Yes, I did subsequently lose quite a few subscribers.
Thankfully, there was an upside to all this. Actually, a few upsides.
1. I was willing to admit I was wrong
Asking for forgiveness is never easy, but always the right thing to do.
I wrote an email to my Traffic Hackers telling them everything: what I did, why, how dumb it was, and how terrible I felt.
Some might say I went overboard, it wasn’t that bad, but at that time, that was the true reflection of my heart.
Here is the email, by the way; judge for yourself.
2. They graciously accepted my apology
Turned out most of my Subscribers liked me enough to quickly forgive me.
Moreover, I got hundreds of emails in response to my apology… in fact, I spent a better part of the next two weeks just talking to my Subscribers.
It was wonderfully refreshing. I learned so much about them, their businesses, their struggles, their victories…
That intangible personal connection that makes you stick with someone for better or worse was restored.
3. They inspired me
It was incredibly wonderful and uplifting to get so many compliments, praises, and pats on the back, I won’t lie.
Sincere, genuine and yet lite. You have a gift.
I like your newsletters because they’re actually useful, they contain just the right amount of information without overwhelm, and keep me informed of things without me having to track everything 24 hours a day.
~ Rick Lowe
In a stormy sea of dubious and confusing information, your newsletter always offers sunny, solid ground. More than once, your headline summaries have clued me in to something important. You are a valuable, trustworthy resource!
~ Ando Mierzwa, SenseiAndo.com
You are the right person for all beginners. Do you know that for the past 3 years i’ve being struggling to generate traffic, and your simple strategy is the best i’ve come across. You have turned on the creative engine within my marketing spirit. You’re awesome!
~ Obed Projects
Very impressive email, Ana. Extremely personal and vulnerable. AND you made a valuable takeaway point.
One of the best emails that I’ve read in a while, it’s one of those emails that I file away somewhere in my brain as a great example of “voice.”
Your stuff is among the best.
~ Barry Feldman, FeldmanCreative.com
As a matter of fact, I told my Subscribers in my next email “Had I known you’d be so awesomely wonderful, I would’ve turned your inbox into a confessional a looooooooong time ago!”
But… there was something even more precious in your emails than praises (imagine that, right?!!)
Your willingness to HELP.
It’s like the entire Traffic Hacking community came together and said “You’ve got a problem. We want to help. Let’s sit down and figure out what the solution might be.”
I was down with that… after getting over the initial ‘are you really trying to tell me what I should do?‘ reaction. ? ?
I can tell you are sitting on the edge of your seat right about now… relax. There was no revelation. You didn’t say anything I hadn’t heard or thought of before… OR DID YOU?…
And now, after some 1,500 words above (I had no idea I could write that much in under 2 hours!…), I am finally getting to the point of this post. Phew!
My A-HA! moment
I knew that the best way for me to make money online was to create products.
Unfortunately, creating products happened to be the last thing I wanted to do…
So much so that in 5 years of publishing Traffic Generation Café, I have not ONE product to show for it. Not even a miserly $7 report of any kind.
So when my dear Traffic Hackers unanimously told me I should be creating my own products, I wanted to stomp my feet and scream ‘no, no, nooooooo…‘
And then something amazing happened… I actually listened to what you were saying. To be more precise, I listened to whom was saying it.
My most loyal readers and followers.
The people who gave me their email addresses trusting I wouldn’t sell them to thousands of direct marketers and spam the heck out of them.
(I did that very well on my own during that last promotion, thankyouverymuch!…)
The people who seriously want to learn how to drive serious traffic back to their websites.
My Loyalists. My Heros. My LIST.
They told me exactly what they wanted me to teach them and that if I did create such a training, they’d buy it.
Sure it was inspiring to know you had more faith in me than I did in myself… however, there was still an iceberg in front of me I had to navigate.
On the surface of things, I childishly refused to do the one thing that could actually turn this blog into a true business. That’s a stupid excuse though… even I can see that.
But what’s underneath all this?
The answer came to me in a few days – took some sleepless nights, but was very worth it.
For a very observant and insightful (if I may say so myself) person, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before.
Fear cripples, incapacitates, undermines, discourages
It’s scary enough to start a business… and then we have to make hundreds of decisions, big and small, on a daily basis, that could make or break that business!
We struggle with…
Am I good enough?
Who am I to teach, give advice, speak in front of people?
What if I can’t master the skills I need?
What if I am not creative enough?
What if I don’t have what it takes to see it through?
Will I be laughed at if I fail?
What if…The only failure we should be afraid of is never doing it at all.Click To Tweet
Truth is we’ll never know… until we do it.
The fear of failure is worse than failure itself
If you are struggling with the fear of failure, you might like to know you are not alone. Far from it.
(By the way, I was blown away to find out there’s a scientific term for the fear of failure. I was just trying to be clever and come up with my own ‘phobia’… turned out the fear of failure was waaaaaaaay ahead of me!)
According to this list of top 100 fears, Atychiphobia – the fear of failure – takes #15 spot.
Atychiphobia (comes from the Greek phóbos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear” and atyches meaning “unfortunate”) is an irrational fear of failure that might affect an individual so strongly that they refuse to do anything that they can’t guarantee their success in.
However, in that definition of Atychiphobia hides the good news, if you read it closely enough.
Most of our fears are irrational – they make no sense, in other words.The fear of failure is worse than failure itself.Click To Tweet
Fear is a part of business as it is of life
Fear might never go away, but we have to take away its power over us.
Love this quote from Life of Pi:
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Name your enemy. Shine the light of words upon it. Express it. Fight it.
O Ana’s fear, what is thy name?
What was I so afraid of?
…enough to keep myself away from the true financial success all these years?
It wasn’t really the fear of not being good enough.
False modesty aside, I knew what’s sitting inside this head of mine was GOOD. Awesome, actually.
I put it to work for my business. I taught a few blogger-friends to do the same for theirs. So I KNEW it worked.
So what was I so afraid of?
I was terrified of feeling responsible for someone’s lack of success!
“What if people don’t achieve success following my methods?…”
Since I knew my methods worked, the only way to make them work in another person’s business was… to do the work for them.
Hmmm… I was starting to see why my fear of being held responsible by people who weren’t successful was an irrational one.
What if those people fail because they fail to do the work?
What has been your most effective monetization technique, and why?
My most effective monetization technique is the hard work I do every day publishing, syndicating that content, engaging, building relationships… and framing/extending my personal brand.
What has been your least effective monetization technique?
The least effective monetization technique I have found is hoping others will do that work for me.
Yes, yes, YES!
? ? ? ❤️, Ted!
Had I dealt with that fear about 4 years ago, I would’ve had an extremely successful consulting business right now… That’s how I made money off Traffic Generation Café back then and did a LOT better than I’ve ever done with affiliate marketing!
Of course, there was another ‘little’ problem getting in the way… ? ?
Telephonophobia (also telephobia, phone phobia) – the fear of making or taking phone calls.
How Am I Dealing with My Fear?
I am going for the very jugular of my fear and doing what I’ve been so fearful to do all these years – creating my very first bona fide training!!!
Since I am…
- …so excited about it, plus
- …making it so public that it would be too embarrassing not to follow through
…I am going to tell you all about it.
Introducing: CONTENT BOOMERANG Pilot Training Course
The topic of my future course came very easily and naturally.
1. This was exactly what the #1 topic my email subscribers asked me to teach them about.
2. This post at Traffic Generation Café has consistently attracted the most quality links of all my posts.
3. As of late, every podcaster/interviewer who has invited me to share my traffic generation wisdom with their audiences wanted me to talk about this every topic.
4. I was recently contacted by Social Media Marketing World event organizers (? ? ?) and asked to speak at the next conference in San Diego, in March, 2017. On THIS VERY TOPIC!
Two things to mention about speaking at SMMW17 (besides being overwhelmingly excited and honored!):
1. Don’t turn down ANY request for an interview – however big or small, known or unknown the source seems to be. You never know who might be listening! It is during one such podcast interview that I was ‘discovered’ by someone from SMMW team.
Don't turn down ANY request for an interview - you never know who might be listening!Click To Tweet
2. Can you guess what other phobia is on the world’s top 100 fears list?
#13. Glossophobia (from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning ‘tongue’, and φόβος phobos, ‘fear’ or ‘dread’) – the fear of public speaking.
Never a dull moment, huh??
Oh yes, the topic… [drum roll, please….]
How to Repurpose Your Content to Maximize Traffic and Leads
Here’s a conversation I’ve recently had with my email list Subscriber, Ralph Moorhouse, who owns a site dedicated to vacation rentals in France.
Ralph: I feel your pain – constantly trying to write blog posts to support my vacation rental business – other things always get in the way.
Ana: Why do you keep writing content for the site? Who’s reading it?
Ralph: Basically I haven’t a clue – just hope [misguided it seems] that I will start getting traffic [bookings] through website.
It took my breath away when I heard him say that, yet his is a common cautionary tale of the content that never could.
Here’s how it goes:
You, a business owner, create content. You have great hopes for it – traffic, leads, sales. Yet nothing happens… the content just sits there… on your website… right where you put it.
What’s the problem? Location, location, location!
How’s your content going to fetch you traffic and sales if all it does is…yep, just sits there!
Now, imagine your website is a cute little shop off the beaten path.
Sure people would love it IF they had any idea it’s there to begin with.
So what do you do? Can’t just sit there and twiddle your thumbs hoping your customers will somehow make their way into the shop, right?
Here’s what I’d do: I’d put together a bunch of product samples, stick a card with the store name and address on them, then take them to the busy city streets, shops, markets, etc.
Then and only then I could hope those samples would bring back customers and sales, right?
And this, my dear online business owner, is exactly what content repurposing is.
What is content repurposing?
Content repurposing is a marketing strategy that puts your message in every format and on every platform your potential customers are looking for it.
In other words, content repurposing (also referred to as ‘content recycling‘) takes your core content and gives it a fresh face, life, and purpose (thus, re-purposing), then SENDS it to where your customers are to bring them back to your site in the form of traffic.
Sort of like boomerang… Content Boomerang!
Let me give you a practical example of content repurposing in action.
How could Ralph Moorhouse, my email subscriber and vacation rental website owner, recycle his existing content to finally give it the much-needed legs to go into the world and bring back to his site traveling aficionados dying to go to France and… oh, look at this cute B&B conveniently located right where they’d want to be!…?
I’d tell him to start with an existing blog post he’s worked so hard to create and tell the story in visuals.
He’d create a PowerPoint presentation (I could show him how to do it in a few minutes even if he’s never used PowerPoint before!) full of enticing images and short, but impactful text excerpts with a call to action at the end to come back to his site for more.
Then, he’d save the presentation as a PDF and publish it to SlideShare.
He could later embed that SlideShare presentation in posts all over the web: LinkedIn, Medium, guest posts on various travel sites, social media, etc.
Then, he’d do a voiceover (or just add a music soundtrack, don’t freak out!) and turn that presentation into a video to be uploaded to YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram…
He would then go back to the PowerPoint presentation and save it as images. And where could he use those images? EVERYWHERE. All pointing back to his site. All working hard to bring back traffic and leads.
The ultimate circle of content life! Ooooo… I like the sound of that….
In other words, what Ralph will have on his hands are endless possibilities to send his content out into the world and come back to his site in the form of traffic.
My pilot Content Boomerang training will show him how to turn those possibilities into realities.
I will teach Ralph how to drive serious traffic by repurposing content like I do.
Possibilities & Realities
Would YOU like to turn these content repurposing possibilities into realities of traffic and leads for YOUR business?
The good news is that the ONLY thing that stands in your way is the lack of skills.
That’s where my pilot content repurposing training comes in.
I will teach you everything I know the only way I know how: step by step, with screenshots and videos, explaining my entire process in a clear and logical way.
In other words, I won’t be teaching WHAT to do, but rather showing you HOW to get it done – even if:
- you are not a techie
- have never worked with PowerPoint (or any other program like that)
- don’t know the first thing about creating a visual
- terrified at the sound of the word ‘video’ (I was too!)
- think this might be way too time-consuming…
…Wait, what? You can’t afford to spend time on getting more traffic, more leads, more sales for your business?… Nah!
So put all the fears above to rest and discover just how simple it is to turn your existing and future content into a perpetual traffic-driving machine.
Ahem… suppose now I have to give you the link to where you can get your hands on this wonderful content repurposing training…
Only I can’t. NOT kidding.
Here’s the deal: it’s a pilot training, which means you and I get to create it side by side.
What’s in it for you? You get to…
- tell me how to teach you better – what you get, what you don’t get, what you’d like to know more about;
- ask me questions;
- get ideas and help from other students in a private Facebook group;
- boss Ana Hoffman around!…
- all that at a fraction of the price of the full content repurposing course!
Speaking of price, I think you’ll be very happy to learn it won’t come anywhere close to what those other guys are charging these days… $1,000? $2,000? I heard one was even charging $4,000!!!
I am sorry, but I believe that GREAT training at affordable prices shouldn’t be a unicorn.
What’s in it for me? I get to…
- use your feedback to create exactly the kind of training you want – no more guessing;
- allow myself to present it to you without polishing it to death – before the training runs away and hides from me;
- leave myself no choice but to actually follow through this time;
- challenge myself to grow by doing something I’ve been afraid to do for so many years.
The Content Boomerang Pilot Training is currently open to new Members, but for a very short time. It closes Friday, January 13 at 11:59pm.
If you are reading this post after the deadline… here’s the next best thing: join the waiting list!
The full Content Boomerang training will be released in March 2017; so make sure you know when that happens.
One more thing.
While I wouldn’t know how to intentionally sell anyone on anything, I am indeed very passionate about this. Everything above comes straight from my heart to yours.
I truly want you to be the next content repurposing success story.
I truly want to teach you the best of everything I know.
I will guide you. BUT…
YOU will still have to do the work.
I am offering you possibilities.
It’s up to YOU to turn them into realities.
From Ana with
PS Just couldn’t resist – an hour and a half and ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ of coffee later, this presentation was born:
Now I can turn it into LITERALLY hundreds of pieces of content to publish to various platforms where my audience is hanging out RIGHT NOW… and bring them back to TrafficGenerationCafe.com.
…like I’ve turned it into a video, posted it to YouTube, plus embedded it at the top of the post as a post trailer. Not bad, right?
A couple of hours of work with a much better return on investment as opposed to writing yet another blog post (takes me about a week), then still having to promote it – it just refuses to bring traffic all on its own… how dares it!!! ?
Ahhhh… BEHOLD THE POWER OF CONTENT BOOMERANG!