5 Content Publishing Models For Your Blog — Which One Are You?

Maybe you love to write. Maybe you hate it…

Or maybe you are brand new to blogging and you feel like you lack credibility.

Whatever your situation, the truth is that it’s still possible for you to build a wildly successful blog.

Let me explain…

By focusing on the right publishing model, you may feel reborn with passion to finally share your voice with the world.

This article will show you how to identify the right publishing model for you and why this is a critical part of your blog strategy.

A publishing model is the format you use to produce your blog content.

And not all formats are created equal. These different models show you that there are many ways to create content.

It can be done yourself, by others, co-created, ghostwritten, or even “borrowed” for free from others.

Whatever the path you take, there is a model for you.

So, let’s dive into the 5 publishing models…

 

The Journal

The journal model is pretty straight forward.

It is primarily a way to express yourself and/or document your journey.

You could already be successful or you could just be getting started, and the topics may be all over the board.

Self-expression and inspiration trumps blogging for business or to make money.

Example of the journal blog Unfiltered.me by Brian Gardner

I admit. I should journal more.

When I am consistent with it, I have exceptional clarity and achieve more of my goals since they are in writing.

Even when it comes to problem solving.

I just open to a blank page and write. Usually by the time my hand gets tired, the solution appears to me.

But, what is even more powerful about the journal model, is the self awareness it brings from public accountability.

Let’s say you have a goal to lose weight.

By openly sharing your goals and documenting the process, you become a source of inspiration for your readers. They are there to support you, hold you accountable, and celebrate your victories.

I truly believe when you have nothing to hide, you become more committed to the process.

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” ― John Wooden

This can be a great way to start collecting content to one day publish a book. Or, how Crossfit gyms post the workout of the day for their clients.

You probably fit the journal model if…

  • You share random thoughts and maybe you are just doing it as a hobby
  • Your motivations are purely self expression
  • You want to document experiences and thoughts in your life
  • You are not as concerned in monetizing your blog
  • You may be building your email list, but you use it just to update your readers
  • Most of all the thoughts come from you and you don’t care to have guest bloggers

Examples: Unfiltered.me, Mark Cuban, Crossfit Defined

 

The Expert

The expert model differs from the journal when money becomes the motivator.

In fact, many blogs that start out as journal blogs evolve into expert blogs when they realize they can easily monetize their efforts.

But, being an “expert” can be a controversial topic.

If you have kids or you pay any attention to pop culture, Macklemore is responsible for making it cool for your kids to shop at the thrift shop.

Macklemore recorded a song entitled “Ten Thousand Hours”, where he sings about is journey to success as an artist. One verse from the song that always hits me is where he says, “10,000 hours, I’m so damn close I can taste it”.

The song continues…

I observed Escher
I love Basquiat
I watched Keith Haring
You see I study art
The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint
The greats were great cause they paint a lot

The whole song is based on a theory by Malcolm Gladwell from the book Outliers, where it takes 10,000 hours invested into a subject to become an “expert”.

Countless times I have held back at expressing my opinions because of a internal dialog of not knowing enough; worrisome of being judged and criticized by other “industry leaders”.

What helps me move past that every time is my intention. I’m not writing for them; I don’t care what they think and I don’t care to be a thought leader of my industry.

I’m writing this for you in hopes that this helps you and that is all that matters.

If Macklemore was paralyzed with fear of judgement from other rappers, he would not have changed the face of hip-hop with his positive music; voicing his opinions on topics of gay marriage, materialism, addiction and religion.

So, before you say “well, I am not an expert in anything”, realize that you likely already know more than your readers about a subject.

And in any scenario vulnerability will beat the “fake it until you make it” experts any day. And it brings you closer to your readers because they feel they can relate to you.

This means you don’t need 10,000 hour level mastery in order to build around the expert model.

Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience. ― Denis Waitley

You can become that “thought leader” of your niche by being the guinea pig much like Tim Ferriss does.

You probably fit the expert model if…

  • You prefer to write everything yourself
  • You are a wealth of information
  • You can talk about a topic all day long
  • You get fired up about teaching others
  • You enjoy the spotlight and telling your story
  • You want to turn what you know into a business

Examples: Kris Carr, Chris Mccombs, Tim Ferriss

 

The Host

On February 17th 2014, Jimmy Fallon ended Jay Leno’s 22 season run at the Tonight Show. Many including myself feel he knocked it out of the park with his humble opening monologue.

But, I want you to just put yourself in Jimmy’s shoes for a moment.

Imagine YOU are the one sitting behind that desk. Imagine it were YOU interviewing some of the most talented, dedicated and successful people in the world. Imagine it were YOU bringing laughter and inspiration to the world.

If you had the Tonight Show as your “platform”, what kind of connections and opportunities would open up for you?

The possibilities are endless, right?

Well, this is exactly what the host model is…

You get to leverage talented people for content by doing interviews like you would if you had your own talk show.

Sure, at first you must gain traction and credibility with your site, but once you do it will be a privilege to get on your show because who doesn’t want more exposure?

One of our Learn To Blog Insider students, Navid Moazzez, decided when starting his blog that the host model was right for him. He went from nothing to producing tons of traffic-pulling interviews with the top names of his industry in less than one year.

Example of the host model

Here’s what Navid told me about choosing the host model:

“I started doing interviews with successful entrepreneurs because I wanted to connect and become friends with the influencers in my field. It’s also a fantastic way to build your brand by association, since you’re surrounding yourself with many successful people. I’ve found it’s one of the most powerful ways to build authority when you are starting out with no experience.”

The host model is a great way for you to create a lot of content fast.

Let’s say you decide to do use the host model. You can do a video interview, post the video on YouTube, create a transcript for a blog post, and strip the audio for a podcast.

This gives you three different traffic sources for your blog; all without having to be the expert on any topic.

You probably fit the host model if…

  • You are great at interacting with people
  • You are great at listening and asking questions
  • You are genuinely interested in other people
  • You enjoy spotlight, but don’t really need it
  • You prefer to showcase others talents

Examples: Entrepreneur On Fire, Mixergy, Navid Moazzez

 

The Publisher

When you have others writing for you like a magazine, you are in a publishing model.

This is easiest achieved if one already has an audience or traffic. Since you are the “distribution channel”, the main motivation for people wanting to write for you is exposure and credibility.

The publisher model is one that is more scalable than the previous two if done correctly.

After six years of blogging, I have seen many blogs evolve. I have seen some evolve from journal to expert. Then from expert to publisher. Then even from publisher back to an expert model.

Miscues of the publisher model

In the publishing model (and every other model for that matter), quality trumps quantity. There’s so much content on the web for people to filter through, that you are much better off focusing on fewer higher quality, research driven posts.

Rather than having a cattle call for guest writers, consider cherry picking writers by reaching out to them and telling them an idea of a article you are interested in, why they are perfect for it, and what’s in it for them.

You know what your readers want…

So, when you do your research on a guest writer, it’s much easier to get a response from someone when you plant the idea in their head, rather than making them think of the idea of an article that is going to fit your audience.

Your intent is to get a response like “oh, I could totally crush that topic”.

But, not all people do the publishing model right correctly.

I’m sure at some point you’ve asked Dr. Google about a health related topic and chances are that you’ve run across an article on the Livestrong blog.

You know, the little yellow bracelets from Lance Armstrong?

I don’t support a lot of the decisions he has made, but I do love the mans courage and ability to overcome adversity.

Sadly, he went from being the face of his sport to the black eye of it when he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, was stripped of 7 Tour De France titles and banned from cycling for life.

The whole Livestrong brand has become another dent in his image as it has become greedy content farm.

Their goal is to publish articles that rank for every health term possible, so that they can get tons of traffic and and ad revenue.

But, if you actually read the articles you will see the are lackluster at best. There’s a reason that the articles have no comments on them.

This is a perfect example on what not to do with the publisher model.

The smart move is to post fewer articles of higher quality and spending more of your time marketing those articles.

You probably fit the publisher model if…

  • You are a networker and connector
  • You like working “behind the scenes”
  • You put experts to teach on your platform
  • You have great ideas for content that spreads
  • You’d rather promote guest writers
  • Traffic generation comes easy to you

Examples: TechCrunch, Copyblogger, Young and Raw

 

The Curator

Picture this…

You are scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed.

You are curiously stopped in your tracks by a post shared by one of your friends.

The catchy headline reads something like, “This guy was cut off in traffic and you won’t believe what he does next…”.

It’s accompanied by an irresistible image that makes it too compelling not to click on.

Greeting you on the other side is a two-minute video that provides immediate gratification to your curiosity.

You, my friend, just experienced the curation model.

Curation is finding content that is freely available around the web and repurposing that content for your site. This model has flourished with the popularity of video sites like YouTube.

For example, you find a video on YouTube, embed it on your site and write a quick review on them.

So, is it a sketchy way to get traffic or is curation a legitimate model?

Pawan Deshpande from the Huffington Post says that “curators are subject matter experts who have a knack for finding, organizing, and sharing the best and most relevant content on a given topic.”

Curation is not anything new. Deshpande says that “museums and art galleries have been doing it for centuries”.

But, the barrier to entry is just so low for anyone to start publishing content online.

With so much noise out there, it is hard to cut through it all to find what really matters. So, naturally there will be more of a demand for curators as more content is published online.

Recently, our team at Learn To Blog have been testing this model as a experiment by launching Riseable. The goal is to help small business owners cut through the fluff and find the best free content online that will help them grow their business.

Riseable

With only a few hours invested into the project, we generated 17 new email subscribers who joined the list for updates.

It’s nothing to scream about from atop the mountains, but the only cost was the purchase of a premium theme. We are growing our email list from free content and free social traffic.

We’re documenting the process of growing this site, so I encourage you to follow along so that you can learn from the experience.

You probably fit the curator model if…

  • You are good at finding great content
  • You want to quickly build a brand
  • You are okay with not “owning the content”
  • You are a great copywriter
  • Traffic generation comes easy to you

Examples: Upworthy, GodVine, Book Cover Archive

 

So, Which Publishing Model Are You?

Now, if you made it this far, I can predict exactly what you are thinking right now.

“Do I have to choose just one model?”

Absolutely not.

The goal of this article is to help you pick a path that you feel inspired by, not be limited by a box.

I suggest that if you are going to combine models, that you focus on a primary model and compliment it with a secondary model.

For example, most of your content is expert and every once in a while you sprinkle on an interview under the host model.

Like I mentioned before, many blogs also evolve over time. Maybe you want to start with a journal model and crossover to the expert and eventually to a publisher model.

It all depends on the vision for your blog. The canvas is blank and ready for you to create your masterpiece.

But, I’m very curious of your thoughts on this topic.

1. What publishing model do you fall into?

and secondly…

2. Why did you choose that direction?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Start a Content Curation Blog

In a recent post, we took a look at what content curation can do for bloggers as well as the audience you’re intending to reach. In today’s post, we’ll give you a blow-by-blow on the basics of curation in order to teach you how to start a content curation blog.

To begin with, it’s important to note that curation is a time-intensive activity which should be done consistently for weeks at a time if you’re ever going to see any results. You should use it as an adjunct to your content creation efforts to ensure that you’re giving your readers a variety of media to maintain their interest in your blog.

There are 3 major steps to start a content curation blog:

  1. Seek
  2. Sense
  3. Create and Share

We’ll take a look at the three more extensively shortly; however, let’s first outline a few things every blog curator should have or know.

First of all, it’s important to know your audience. You could have a blog that’s visited by a specific group of people but not know the details behind these people. Things you need to find out include the following:

  • The median age of the people reading your blog.
  • The gender makeup (do more males than females read your blog?)
  • The peak times when it comes to blog traffic.
  • The socioeconomic makeup of your audience.

One of the ways you can find out this kind of information would be to use the Google Analytics tool found here. A good analytics tool will give you real-time information regarding your blog audience makeup which will in turn help you target them in such a way that they’ll feel as if you really know them as well as understand their needs. This is, in essence, content marketing at its best.

Here are a few other analytics tools you can use in conjunction with Google Analytics:

  1. Crazy Egg
  2. Performancing Metrics
  3. Enquisite

Once you have your data ready, you can start curating your content.

The next step is to identify sources for curated content. The internet is a living organism with thousands of pieces of content of varying types being produced every minute. Your responsibility is to identify valuable and relatable content pieces and place them in your content box so you can sift through them. This discovery process is known as seeking.

Here’s a screenshot illustrating how to discover more niche ideas as a pastry blogger:

curation 1

By searching for the term ‘pastry blog’ via www.google.com/blogsearch, she’s able to find out what the trending topics are as well as the industry leaders as far as pastry blogs are concerned. With this in mind, she can check out various blogs to see what kind of posts are eliciting major reactions and stimulating conversation. This blogger can then copy these post links and put them in a spreadsheet for future sifting.

At the same time, you can use Alltop to look for trending news items. What’s great about Alltop is the fact that you can personalize your content search feature by using my.alltop.com.

Here’s what the MyAlltop signup page looks like:

Alltop

All you have to do is sign up, agree to the terms and you’re all set.

Twitter is also a great way to find trending topics which can, in turn, help you curate timely content pieces. The almighty hashtag is a godsend for all content curators. However, you should use the hashtag in combination with tweets to find the meat and not just the bones. You can also use Twitter Search which is essentially Twitter’s Google.

When collecting your sources, you should always be careful to pick only high quality ones. Additionally, you should scan more than you capture, and you should make it a habit to define topics and organize sources as you go along. Seeking should generally be done for 15 minutes at least twice daily.

When used in a synergistic manner, you’ll be able to collate and collect content from all parts of the Internet in order to successfully move on to the next stage of the curation process: sense.

After collecting your articles and placing the links and relevant clips in a central place, you can begin to sift through them and find meaning and relevance in most of them and then discard any that might not be relevant for what you’re trying to communicate.

For example, if you have a blog which focuses on celebrity style and fashion, you could figure out how to tie that in with current trends and draw parallels in order to come up with an interesting pictorial conversation with personal commentary added in to give it a bit of your personality.

Making sense usually involves distilling and condensing information in order to streamline it into one theme.

Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to help make better sense of collected content:

  1. Will this content add value to my reader’s lives? Curated content has to appeal to your readers from an emotional standpoint. Whether your blog covers accounting or new developments in interior design, you need to make sure that each curated post is identifiable and if possible applicable to your audience’s daily life. This will help you create a bond with your audience on a long-term basis.
  2. Does the content I’m about to curate establish me as a thought leader in the blog circles? The last thing you want to do is copy what everyone else is doing. This will make people overlook you and you might get washed up in the sea of content because there are other bloggers out there who’ve perfected what you’re trying to do.

Here are some of the things associated with the sense stage of content curation:

  • Put your blog post together by merging links with your own commentary and maybe one or two photos or videos to give the post some pizzazz.
  • Annotate where necessary, archive articles and links, and apply changes within your blog if needed.
  • The sense stage of content curation should typically take you about half an hour to an hour every day. This might take longer if you decide to include different forms of content to your blog post because you have to find a way to make the curated content work for you and your audience without creating disconnection or confusion.

Creation and sharing is the last stage of the content curation process and perhaps the most delicate one. Presentation is everything, and you need to know what forms of sharing will resonate with your target audience.

There are various ways that you can use to create and present your content, with the first one being lists.  People love lists as it helps them get information in a compact manner, lessening the time in which they’ll have to go all over the internet looking for content.

A great tip here would be to look at the top 15 trends in your niche and come up with a great list linking out to the best posts on the web talking about these trends. Make sure to use appropriate attribution and keep the commentary short but meaningful. You can also ask your readers what kinds of lists they’d like to see in the coming days and weeks.

Another way in which to present your curated content would be through the use of infographics. These are usually data-based with a touch of visual esthetic thrown in. Infographics help you convey less than interesting information in a fresh an exciting way without taking away from the subject at hand.  Get into the habit of saving interesting and impactful data snippets as you go about reading and curating content around the web. Every once in a while, streamline these data bites and create a curated post based on them.

Yet another light and popular way you can use to create and present your curated content is through the use of humor. People like to laugh as it makes them feel good. At the same time, humor helps with information retention and is found all over the internet. For example, if you’re a food blogger, you could come up with a blog post where you feature a video snippet by a standup comedian lambasting the paleo diet. After the video, you can add your own commentary and then add a couple of memes to break the monotony of the post. Finish off with a snippet of an article extolling the virtues of the paleo diet and then invite your readers to leave you their opinions and thoughts in the comment section.

Here are a few closing tips on what to pay attention to when curating content for your blog:

  • Create a Tumblr page so you can have an account you can use to curate rich media such as videos, high resolution photos and sound clips.
  • You can curate social updates and comments to help stimulate or start a conversation regarding your blog. This can be a great way of getting to know your audience at a much deeper level. These can also be used to add depth and validity to your curated content.

At the end of the day, you need to consistently be on the lookout for new content as well as consistent with your efforts if you want to build a following, a unique voice and be considered as a go-to blogger for knowledge and information on a specific topic or genre.

Content Curation for Bloggers: A Short Review on How to Boost Your Blog Readership

Content Curation

Content curation is the new buzzword that’s got every blogger and Internet marketer talking and clapping their hands in glee. We all want to be thought leaders in particular subjects, or authorities that people trust to provide them with timely information as it breaks. Content creation is only the first step that your typical blogger should take in building his brand. Content is king; however, other aspects of content creation need to come together in order for successful blogging to take place.

What in The World is Content Curation?

Content curation can be defined as collecting various pieces of content and then sifting through them in order to find meaningfulness and usefulness. After providing commentary on these pieces of content, you can then go on and share this content on your blog. This may seem easy to do, but it takes commitment, discipline and persistence in order to become a star content curator in the eyes of your readers.

Limited Attention Spans

Most people who go online today have limited attention spans thanks to busy schedules as well as the wall of ever-changing content which fights for their attention at every click of the mouse. Because of this, people are looking for easy ways to get vital information in a fast and convenient manner. As a content curator, you’ll be able to give your readers this kind of service. With time, these web visitors will come to you in a habit-forming way, expecting more curated content which in the end builds reader loyalty and trust.

Curation vs. Aggregation

Before I go on, I need to point out the difference between content curation and aggregation. Getting news from feeds and automatically sharing it on social media via scheduled tweets and status updates cannot be considered as curation. This is because automation lacks that human touch as well as personalization. In order to build a certain level of engagement with your blog readership, people need to feel and see that you understand what they really want. By providing commentary along with your curated content as well as being meticulous in vetting the news stories and content pieces reaching your target audience, you’ll encourage a conversation and even get opinions of what your readers really want. Give them what they need, and you’ll earn their trust for a long time to come.

There are various tools which can help you curate content. Here’s a short but exhaustive list:

1.  Google News, Google Alerts or Google Plus search gives you access to trending content as well as breaking news.

2.  News aggregators such as Alltop, Techmeme and popurls.

3.  Curation tools such as Storify, Scoop.it and Flipboard.

4.  industry-specific newsletters which you receive via email.

5.  Press release websites such as PRWeb, Marketwire and PRNewswire.

6.   Links to content shared on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Reditt and StumbleUpon.

All these sources should form the preliminary stages of your content curation process. Poring over them and looking for themes that are in alignment with your blog’s theme will help you pick the best and most impactful pieces of content for curation.

Themes and Sub-Themes: Layer it On

After selecting your content, you’ll need to organize it in terms of relevance as it relates to the information you’re trying to convey. Additionally, having sub-themes where you curate content in terms of style will help bring harmony and uniformity to your efforts.

For instance, if you want to point out the commonness of a particular trait, you could decide to curate bars, charts and graphs for a single post. This will help put the message across in a more impactful way. Another sub-theme would be to curate slideshare presentations found all over the internet in order to convey a singular theme. Lastly, another way to curate of content would be to create lists or tips using certain keywords in order to drive traffic to your blog.

Content curation may look easier than content creation; however, the reality is that it may take up more of your time of effort given the various steps you have to go through. For example, content curation needs a certain amount of timeliness as well as the ability to know if a piece of content will still be fresh or relevant in a week or so.

There are three things that you need to keep in mind when curating content:

1. Your curated content needs to be insightful. This means that it should give your readers information that they may have never come across or repackaging old information in a whole new way. You should aim to motivate and teach your audience so they leave your blog better informed than when they came in. At the same time, your content needs to be injected with your voice in order to build a relationship with your readers.

2. Curated content also needs to be relevant to your blog’s theme. For example, if you have a beauty blog, it would beat logic to publish curated content touching on electronics or sports. This not only shows carelessness on your part but also destroys the trust between you and your readership. You should always aim to be an expert in your field at all times.

3. Curated content should be so good and interesting that it should inspire people to share. This will in turn help drive more traffic back to your site as well as give your blog the needed visibility in social media.

Curation as Part of Marketing

Marketing continues to supplant advertising; people are looking for information to help make their lives better in the here and now. This is especially true for bloggers who want to raise their profiles within a short amount of time. Curation is a form of marketing since it takes information from other sources and repackages it to convey a message that’s similar to the one found in the curator’s blog.

Pay Attention to the Law

Having said all of this, it’s important to pay attention to a couple of things when you’re looking to curate content. To begin with, you must apply relevant attribution and link back all your content to its originators. At the same time, copying large swathes of texts amounts to plagiarism and may land you in trouble for infringing on copyrighted material. When it comes to content curation, the mantra you need to follow is: ‘when it doubt, leave it out.’ Giving credit to the original creator will also help create a rapport with other bloggers and help in the exchange of ideas and resources you can use for future blog posts.

 Conclusion

Empathizing with your reader’s interests and curating high quality content will boost your readership with time and give you a unique selling point in the blogging world faster than content creation.

Lastly, don’t forget to create original content and mix it up with your curated pieces; at the end of the day, attacking something from numerous angles will help you get the best results compared to relying on only one strategy.