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Blogging Know How

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So what’s the big deal with blogs anyway?

What is a blog? A blog is a website comprised of a combination of text, photos, video, and other communication mediums that is set up to attract attention and readers to a particular topic.

Blogs are often used with small businesses because of their applications as a marketing tool. When blogs are used properly, they attract traffic and attention to your business and to you. This can lead to sales and relationship building with your consumer base (depending on how you use it).

Blogging as a marketing tool

Marketing is all about what you’re saying, doing, and emphasising to promote your product, service, or business. Blog marketing is about attracting customers through your business by raising awareness of your brand and connecting customers with that brand as much as possible. Blogging is not about sales!

If you come off as a salesman, you’re not going to be a successful blogger. Try to think of your blog as a display case for your product. It’s not meant to provide all of the information or get the customer to buy, it’s meant to attract potential customers/clients to look at the ‘case’ so that you (the seller) has access to talk to them about it. This is the neighbour coming over for coffee, this is the friend telling you what they’ve heard, this is about CONVERSATION!

If some one feels that you have added something valuable to their day, they will come away thinking more positively about you AND your brand and product.

Conversation with a shopkeeper can easily end in a sale, but it’s far more engaging and effective if it doesn’t start with that agenda. Being pushy from the start turns a lot of people off. So make sure you’re using your blog as a conversation starter, not a billboard!

What makes this worth doing?

A lot of people develop great anxiety surrounding giving away information, particularly those selling information products. So why would people buy your product if you give away all of this information already for free?

Because you are not giving away your product, you are giving away a connection with your brand.

Yes, your blog may involve sharing bits of your product, or temporary access to your product, but these are teasers that are intermingled with conversation surrounding your product/your market/your niche. By talking to your clients ABOUT the business BEFORE trying to sell them on it, you open access to a lot of benefits from you.

  • You can build trust in you – convincing people of your expertise, your friendliness, and your desire to connect with your customer base
  • You can provide teasers that attract people to your product
  • You can target specific markets more easily, and thus attract your target market more easily
  • You develop a following who will start sharing what you’ve posted if they like what you’ve said (free marketing any one?)

The relationship aspect of business

Almost all of these things focus on the relational aspect of business. This is critical. Your best shot at developing a sustainably successful business is to connect with people. This is for several reasons.

1)    When people trust that you know what you’re talking about, they are eager to listen to you to get the ‘inside track’ on information.

2)    When people listen to you frequently, this encourages a loyalty as well as a trust to you AND YOUR BUSINESS. This is how you not only gain customers, but repeat customers! It’s in our nature, we want to stay with people we trust.

3)    When people are loyal to you, and you post something they like, they will be more inclined to share that content. This is free marketing!

4)    You can gain a lot of information when you see what your target market is sharing, when they are most interested, and how you attract them. You learn by seeing what they chose to share and seem to be paying the most attention to, and this knowledge can help you expand your business.
As you become more successful, you will want to alter your approach. The best way to do this is to gain all of the information that you can about what is successful in your market, and seeing what content has been shared is a huge part of this.

Sharing information with your clients and customers is an invaluable way to market.

EXERCISE: Take a minute and close your eyes now. Imagine a customer in front of you, your ideal target customer. Start trying to answer some of these questions about this customer:

1)    What would you do/say to address the customer?

2)    What particular needs/issues might they have with your product?

3)    How will you address those issues?

4)    What particular advice do you want them to have before using your product?

5)    What about your knowledge system makes you an expert in this market?

6)    What do you think people will love most about your product? What would make them want to share that information?

Step 1 – How to work your brand into your blog

Before we get into how to create a blog, we need to talk about what your blog will be focused on, your brand.

This is about much more than matching layouts between your website and your blog (which is important too), this is about the message(s) your business exists to communicate.

What is your brand?

Put simply, your brand is your message. Your brand is the underlying message beneath it all that you want your company to always communicate. It is related to your target market, your product itself, your competition, and how you plan to stand out from the crowd.

Your brand is the foundation of your business.

Your brand forms the foundation of your content in all areas, and if you lack understanding of yours you can greatly benefit from the resource I listed above or just figuring it out in general.

If you don’t yet know what your brand is, don’t panic! Take some time now and brainstorm what your brand might be made up of.

Figuring out what your brand is

Grab a drink and a piece of paper, sit down in a comfortable chair, and pretend there’s somebody in the chair next to you asking you about your business. What are you going to tell them about your product? Your business? The competition in your market? Your target audience? Your goals? Yourself?

Make some notes on your page. What stands out? What’s most important? What is your bottom line message?

Once you’ve thought about these things, you’ll be getting a better idea of what your brand is and, hopefully, you’ll be getting used to the idea of incorporating your brand into your blog.

Step 2 Blogs

So you’re thinking about your brand, you’re ready to set up your blog. Time to think about how you can incorporate your brand into your blog, who you want to read it, and your particular sales tactic (because the blog itself is not the sales tactic).

Two things we need to get out of the way first (and yes, we will say them again):

A blog is NOT a billboard. Its job is not to sell.

A blog IS a great place to connect with your clients

So the purposes of blogging?

  • To connect – First and foremost, your blog is your place to enter into a conversation with people who are interested in your product. Your blog can be significantly more personal than a website for this very purpose!
  • To walk people behind the scenes – Share those funny stories behind the development of your business. Draw attention to your unique features by explaining why they’re there.
  • To serve the market – In thinking about your target audience, think about what that section of the market needs/wants. What would they like to hear about? What stories do they enjoy? By posting content you think your market would actually enjoy, you will increase the chances of that content actually being shared by others.
  • To get attention – Search engines love blogs. Blogs are up to date, they are dense with keywords, and they can link back to your website – thus gaining traffic to your website.
  • To demonstrate knowledge – People like to buy from experts. They feel more confident when they feel like they are buying some one who knows what it is they’re selling. Your blog allows you the chance to demonstrate that you are that expert.
  • To connect with other market leaders – Connecting with other leaders in your market goes to establishing you as an expert, helps you to link build (when you guys begin sharing attention for the other), and gain attention (for being associated with market leaders).
  • To answer questions – Take a list of common questions you get about your product, review the answers, and watch how much time you have saved! Let alone how much interest you can garner by bringing up common features about your product and service.
  • To address objections to your product – Every one has certain things that stop them from making that final purchase. These can be based on almost anything from cost, to misconceptions, to fears. Your blog is a great place to directly address your clients’ objections that you have heard about or seen in action.
  • To build trust with your customers – regarding your expertise, your ability and desire to connect with your customers, and your commitment to quality can all be shown through your blog.
  • To help your customers get to know you – Let your personality shine through. The more genuine you are, the more appealing your blog will be. Be as real as you can.
  • To entertain people – Blogs can be quite amusing, and amusing blogs get attention. Don’t be afraid to recognize that this is a purpose of a blog.
  • To establish your brand – To take your primary message and get it out in the world. To establish the feeling/purposes behind the brand.
  • To show off your ‘wow’ factor – To be successful you need to stand out. Be funny, be genuine, be you! The more you come through, the more unique your blog will be, and the more it will stand out as a potential must read.

Step 3 – Content, content, content

You’ve already developed a brand, a target market, an understanding of the purposes of blogs. Guess what? You have something of value to offer the world! Too many bloggers get apprehensive about picking blog topics or having confidence in their abilities as a writer, but the truth is if you’ve been following along, you’ve already identified plenty of valuable information to share with your readers.

That being said, we can all use tips on content. This chapter will outline a few that should help you get well on your way to writing a successful blog.

What to write about

So you’re sitting down to write, and you realise you aren’t sure what to write about. What do you do? Consider some of the following topics when looking for foundational content for your blog.

  • Think about your target audience’s needs and how your articles can fulfil it.
  • Think about the things that you love and how you can incorporate those passions into your blogs!
  • Something within your market that you want to know more about, and think others might too
  • Think about your business and what you wish people knew
  • Tips and tricks for your products/services
  • Stories related to your business, your team, or your product
  • The wow factor – What is it that makes you stand out? Use that. Be out there, be surprising!
  • Think about what areas of knowledge you could be considered knowledgeable/expert in. How can you pass on that knowledge.
  • Think about a way to improve your customer’s lives (a giveaway, a tip article, helpful hints, frequently asked questions)
  • If you’re still struggling, check out other popular blogs in your niche. What are they writing about? More importantly what are they NOT writing about? Fill these gaps wherever possible.

If you’re still struggling to come up with topics

If you are still struggling to come up with topics, consider examining more about what inspires you, and then seeking that inspiration.

Example sources of inspiration include:

  • Keywords related to your business
  • The news
  • The media (movies/music/youtube)
  • Popular comments or questions that you hear from those who use your product (or some thing like it)
  • Holidays
  • Pinterest, Facebook, other websites related to your niche!

Tips on adding content

  • Prewrite content – You don’t have to have hundreds of posts at the ready, but you need to have enough content available that you can update your blog regularly (particularly at the time of your launch). Writing content that far in advance also helps you to get a chance to refine your work, and to find that voice that is uniquely yours in the blogging world.
  • Share content from other relevant sources – Your blog is not all about your own material! It should focus as well on other relevant material in your market. Cool pinterest pictures, videos from youtube, or anything else you can give credit to some one else for. It’s good to show a willingness to acknowledge you are not the be all, end all of your market and you know it.
  • Be genuine – Be authentic to your own voice. You are a part of your branding! Just make sure that when developing how to present yourself in your blog, you don’t go into the realm of oversharing – nobody needs to know you and your boyfriend broke up yesterday, but they may be interested in a joke about how that lead to your latest inspiration.
  • Be creative – This could mean adopting the voice of ‘Granny G’ or ‘Fredo’, but it just simply means you should be creative in your blogging where possible.
  • Be focused on connecting, not selling – This does not mean that your blog will not lead to sales. This just means you are not to treat your blog as a sales pitch. The best way to make sales with blogs is by understanding that blogging is about connecting with your customers. If your target market feels you are an authority, and you are backing your website/product/business, sales will happen.

Using these tips and the methods of brainstorming above, you should be well on your way to writing a host of good content. There are several popular topic templates that can get you started on turning those ideas into structured content. See the list below for some structural suggestions for your blog post.

Blog post types

  • How-to instruction guides on how to use your product/service
  • Lessons/courses
  • Interviews
  • Video based/photo based/ audio based
  • Before and after
  • Advantages and disadvantages of elements of your product
  • Dos & don’ts
  • Quotes
  • Reviews
  • Response posts to comments you get or other blogs in your field
  • Statistics – Whether from surveys or from opinion polls, these can be great to use and discuss
  • Secrets of success
  • Humorous opinion posts
  • Introductory posts
  • Product launch posts
  • Descriptive posts

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and blog marketing

The process of search engine optimisation is designed to make your blog or website ‘rank’ in search engines. Ranking means coming earlier in the search results, so when some one searches a keyword you use, a ranking website would pop up first instead of 10th.

A lot of people use blogs to garner rankings for their website and their blog. One of the most popular search engines, Google, loves the structure of blogs because of how frequently they are updated and how much information they can provide. Blogs are pages that search engines reward.

So how do you take maximum advantage of that? You can optimise this ranking process by including certain key words in your blog post titles and throughout the articles. So if you do some research and find a popular Google keyword, you can write about it and maximise your ranking.

Where do you get ideas for the keywords? Think about the target audience you want to attract. What kind of things are they searching? Do some analysis on these searches and identify relevant keywords.

Good resources for SEO research? Google analytics, Alexa, Social Mention, and a host of others. The more research you do, the more useless keywords you can avoid.

How to write

Before you publish your first blog, you should have ten pieces of content that are ready to post.

This can seem intimidating for some one who is not a writer by nature, but don’t panic, we’re walking through this together.

1)    Get comfortable, and set yourself up with a notebook or computer to begin the writing process itself.

2)    Remember you do have something of value to offer your market

3)    Consider the following tips and get writing!

Tips on writing itself

  • Always make yourself comfortable before you write
    -Grab a drink
    -Comfy chair
    -Jot outlines for your posts
  • Make reading easy
    -Use a clear title
    -Break your post up into short paragraphs, headings, and bullets
    -Have a clear, concise call to action at the end of your post
    -Make sharing your post easy! (Use social media buttons, etc)
  • Be genuine
    -Write in a way that sounds similar to how you’re talking
    -Use your voice, nobody elses’. Your voice is the things that are uniquely you, and should not be sacrificed in an area where your goal is to stand out and gain attention.
  • Experiment!
    -Get creative
    -Try different blog styles and see how your readers respond (high engagement = great post)

Summary

Brainstorm topics, follow the links, and write your articles!

Be reassured, I struggled writing too. I wasn’t (and am NOT) a writer. But I can write! And so can you.

Step 4 Where you should be blogging from

By this point you’ve got the brand, the topics, and some content, and only one question remains – where are you going to put your blog up? Who will host your blog?

This chapter overviews three separate website hosts, countless resources, and some advice I found helpful. It’s worth saying that the technical reasoning for picking a blog is not really my thing, but I have provided more than enough information for you to succeed.

The basics

You need three primary things to set up a blog: a domain (the name of your blog in the address bar, a host (who will allow you to post your blog), and a template (to streamline the blogging process for you, and ensure brand consistency).

Hosts

Blogger – Offered by Google

How to use it

Advantages:

-Free

-Includes templates, domain, and hosting

Disadvantages:

-Has a reputation as being used by newbies

-Using the free domain only adds to this impression

-Lack of ability to match brand between website and blog

-A bit unprofessional

-Hard layout

Squarespace

Advantages:

-Hosting and templates provided

-Domain can be used but once again, you may not want to

-No techie background necessary, very user friendly

Disadvantages:

-This costs money

-Not as many plug in options (so limited design options)

WordPress

Advantages:

-Free

-Designed for blogs

-Also has a domain option

-Flexibility in using themes

-Wildly popular

-Lots of online support available

Disadvantages:

-WordPress does not host. You need to find a host that will host your WordPress blog.

Choosing amongst the three options presented

Which option you choose depends a lot on your current situation.

1) You already have a website that you set up for yourself
Look seriously into adding a WordPress blog to your website (or another blog).

2) You already have a website that some one designed for you
Get back in touch with the programmer (or find a new one) and find out how much they would charge you to add a blog. It is worth the investment.

If paying money really doesn’t seem worth it to you then maybe it’s time you start figuring out how to do your own website maintenance. Just be careful that whatever you do, you set up a system that allows for the addition of a blog.

3) You don’t have a website
If you are starting up a business, you can either go the low cost, low risk option of using either squarespace or wordpress, or you can hire a web designer at will and have them help you through this technical process.

Connecting your blog and your brand

One of the key elements of a professional, successful blog is to make sure that it fits well with your brand. There are several elements of connecting your brand and your blog.

First of all, you need to make sure that your blog conveys your brand. It gets your name out there, it acts as the voice behind the curtain, and it clearly shows readers what your brand is about. This means having an About Me/About Business page, a tagline for your brand, and that you provide easy linking to your website itself

It’s also important to think about what the voice of your brand sounds like. Do you want to be funny or purely professional? Do you want to be quirky or fairly straight edged? Once you have thought about what the voice of your brand sounds like, you need to make sure your blog is a consistent representation of that voice.

Staying consistent also means taking the steps necessary to ensure that your logo, your color scheme, even your images all fit consistently with the message that your business aims to send.

If you’re sitting there thinking “I don’t have any logos to worry about” – now is the time to think about getting one! Logos can often act as the memorable image that keeps your business in peoples’ minds. A simple logo often works best, but you should have a logo.

The bottom line is to keep it simple for your readers to connect your blog with your brand. Make links to your social media sites on your blog, make it easy to share, and provide calls to action for readers to visit these other elements of your social campaigns.

Make sure your blog stays as simple as it can. This is best accomplished by using headings, short paragraphs, and an efficient layout. All of these things work to make a successfully branded blog.

Step 5: Your target audience

So you have a target audience in mind, but now you need to reach them. How do you plan to do it? The key will be to get the word out about your blog via self promotion and other methods.

Tips for getting traffic to your site

  • Link to your blog from your website and other websites (Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, etc)  Use social media in particular to self promote your blog
  • Add your link for your blog to your business card
  • Connect with other businesses by Liking them, following them, and Tweeting about them. When you follow other businesses you seem more human and less like an advertiser. And don’t just connect by clicking Like, actually engage where possible with others in your market.
  • Comment on other peoples’ blogs who are relevant to your market.
  • Guest post whenever you have the chance and invite guest posters on your blog. If you don’t have any one asking, ask them if you can guest post for them. If they say yes, take it seriously. The quality of your work will be your only promotion here, and it will serve to not only promote your blog but also your name (for when you ask others if you can guest post for them).
  • Find specific influential bloggers willing to partner with you in promotion. Promote their blog in exchange for them doing the same, guest post, or even interview depending on their level of influence.

-Try to make sure that this relationship is truly mutually beneficial by partnering with businesses on the same level of influence as yourself. You will still get traffic, but you can both benefit more equally this way.

  • Make it easy to share from your blog – The easier your blog is to share, the more likely people are to share it. We’ve said it once, we’ve said it again, keep it convenient and you will reap the rewards. This means adding links from your website and your social media sites to your blog.
  • Participate in competitions whenever possible – Look for competitions in your market and enter them, this can be a great way to garner attention for your blog.
  • Write reviews for products within your market. This gets your name out there and can build your credibility depending on how seriously you take them.
  • Start a newsletter/subscription service that spreads the word about new posts, products, and information relevant to your blog. People may not read every single sentence, but a newsletter can be a great way to keep your brand fresh in their minds. Here’s how to write a great little newsletter.
  • Connect with your readers in any way possible. Whether this means featuring a specific fan/follower or simply answering their comments back, a HUGE part of building your brand (and indeed your reason for creating this blog) is connecting with your readers.
    -Make it easy for them to reach you and reach them as well
  • Submit your blog to big blog directories (http://allaboutbiz.com.au/australian-business-directories/)
    -These can range from free to paid, small to big, or even by type of blog. Do your research before you submit, this can be a very effective way to get traffic.

There are plenty of ways that you can gain attention to your blog. The best way is to make a commitment to quality that will show through in your blog style, in your consistency, in your guest posting, and in your ultimate traffic results.

See the next section for a mini-chapter on how to politely and effectively guest post!

Guest Posting Guide

As we’ve already touched on, guest posts are awesome. They can be a great way to get traffic to yourself and to others, and help you to connect with others within your market. There are a few important elements to making an effective guest post.

Finding blogs

Before we need to talk about how to write a guest post, we need to talk about finding some place that might want you to write for them. Use the directories we gave you access to above to find specific blogs relevant to your market.

Pay attention to commonly liked people or businesses amongst your target audience. This means watching Facebook and paying attention on Twitter, but really pays off in the end if you guest post on a popular site!

Build connections before trying to guest post

Cold calling a fellow blogger to guest post will often fail unless that blogger has reason to say yes. Try to make a personal connection with the blogger before you ask about guest posting. Get involved in their posts first, share some of their content, and show that you care about their business too.

When you put just a little effort in, you can see some amazing results.

Asking to guest post

You have to ask in the right way, or it’s not worth asking. So how do you do this?

When wanting to post for some one…

  • Read some of the blog content and think about how you might fit in with their target market as well as yours. This is about two businesses, not just one.
  • Look for guidelines on guest posting that the person may have
  • Be flexible with any requests on length, timing, or link building. The easier you are to deal with, the more the blogger will want to deal with you.
  • Prepare a description of yourself and why you think you’d make a good guest poster. If you have expertise or influence in the field, say so. Why should they let you post?

When wanting some one to post for you

  • Look to see if there’s any indication that the blogger has guest posted before, and what type of content they usually write
  • Read some of the blogger’s posts, get to know their style. Chances are, it won’t change just for you.
  • Write a description of who you are, what your site is (and what its stats are like), and why you think they’d make a great guest poster
  • Offer general information regarding content ideas, suggested deadlines, and word counts.

No matter who you are asking to guest post, prepare a professional level request for them, a pitch. And, as with customers, the easier you make this for fellow bloggers to do/accept, the higher the chance that they will accept your proposal. SO BE FLEXIBLE!

Guest posting etiquette

  • Use original content. Blogs generally need you to have unique, original content, to really add value to them. Writing for some one else is no exception to this.
  • Submit one post per blog – ie Don’t send the same blog article you guest posted for one person to several. This makes a very negative impression.
  • Don’t repost your article on your own blog – link to theirs. This promotes their blog and connects the two of you!
  • Be genuine in your request to guest post. Try to avoid sounding too formal or too general about what you’d like to do, this can come across as a spam type of email.

Declining guest posting etiquette

If you are declining a proposal to post for a blog, be respectful about it. It’s fine if it won’t work, but try to at least briefly explain why. This person took the time to write a proposal for you, take time in declining it.

Guest post guidelines for your blog

As your blog gains in popularity, you may get more requests to guest post or more requests from others to guest post for you. This is when you may want to start thinking about laying out a document with general guidelines for guest posts and your blog.

Some of the things that these guidelines could include (not an exhaustive list):

  • Types of content you specialize in or types of content you need more of
  • Who your target audience is
  • Information about post promotion (where does it occur, when, how regularly)
  • A little bit about your business.

Step 6 When you should be posting

The number one key to successful blogging is consistency. We all get busy, life goes on, but so must the blog if you want to establish a consistent reader base. The best way to ensure consistency is to establish a plan for your blog.

This plan should include:

  • Some variation in content – This means variation in topics, variation in author (have some guests if possible), vary your length, and see what the impact is.
  • Regular posting days (how often will you post, when will you be uploading it, etc). The more predictable your distribution of your blog is, the more readers can rely on it and anticipate it! Be regular in your posting.
  • Structure of content – Are you going to include a monthly review or an interview a week, a regular guest poster or some one different every time – Having a consistent structure goes to being reliable and letting your readers know what to expect when they read your blog post.

Holidays/Events! Does your business have any particular holidays/events that apply? If not what will you be doing around the holidays in terms of holiday content? Here’s a calendar of events that might inspire you.

Step 7: Monitor your blog!

The final (and most important) step to making a successful blog is selecting (and using) methods for measuring your success.

You’ve put time and energy into your blog, even money into hosting it, and you need to watch carefully to make sure that you are maximising your chances at a profit with it.

What can tracking statistics tell you?

  • What content is most popular
  • What consistent categories of content get the most attention
  • How effective your keywords, titles, and topics have been
  • Whether the day you are posting is making a difference

The most important tracking statistics

  • Traffic (how many people are visiting)
  • Keywords (which were most effective, less effective)
  • Number of comments, shares
  • Click throughs
  • Bounce rate (how long are people staying on the page)
  • Subscribers

Methods of tracking blogging statistics

Alexa– This is a toolbar which collects browsing data that you can then download and view. This is a good place to see where you are ranking and what keywords may help.

Feedburner – A subscription monitor service which helps you keep track of who is signing up, who is sharing, and how effective that sharing is.

Google Alerts – A free service that will send alerts based on your business factors like keywords, target market, and product. This helps you keep track of how many searches are done in those areas.

Google Analytics – Another free Google service that provides detailed graphs and charts to explain who is visiting your website, how often, and when.

Observation – Track your own engagement. What topics have been the most successful, which have not? Why do you think that is? How can you expand on popular topics?

Social Mention- Google Alerts, but for other forms of social media. It will tell you when people are sharing your content.

Conclusions

This is it, this is the end. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope it helped! I have included a few sheets to make your work easier in the pages to follow.

My advice to you? Follow the advice you’ve been given. Re-read chapters if necessary and always make notes as you work with your own publications.

If you’re focused on putting out a quality product, it will show. Pay attention to your target market and how they respond to your field in general and your product in specific. Work to make your blog the best it can be, and make it easy for people to share its content!

Two final tips: Produce something people will love, and something that you love. The most effective blogs are the ones where the writer clearly has a passion for the content, and the reader clearly enjoys the content. Find where the two paths cross for your business and stick with it!

Most of all? Remember that you have things of value to say, and people will be happy that you spoke up to share them!

Good luck!

 

 

 

WHO – Who is your target market, what do they want to hear, and what can you specifically offer them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT – What type of content are you offering? How will you present it? How does it benefit your readers? What are your overarching goals?

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN – How often will you be posting? Make a plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHERE – Where will you be distributing? Where are most of your goals going to happen? Where will you get the things that you need to attain your goals?

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY – What are your goals? Why should people go along with them? What is your call to action?

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW – What is your brand and how will you consistently use the strategies you have planned above to promote it?

 

 

 

 

 

WATCH – How will you know when you have succeeded?

 

 

 

BONUS ACTIVITY: Create a vision board full of things that inspire you!

 

Setting up your vision board

 

And why it’s important to be grateful

 

A vision board is an easy to set up, yet powerful visualisation tool that reminds you what your goals in life are and manifests those pictures into feelings that activate the universal law of attraction. This law states, that we attract into our lives anything that we give attention to, regardless whether it be positive or negative.

 

There is a science behind this theory. There is a part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). This part sorts out all the data that comes into your brain and can distinguish what is important and what is not for your survival.  However it cannot distinguish between reality and non-reality. “Perhaps the most important function of the RAS is its control of consciousness; it is believed to control sleep, wakefulness, and the ability to consciously focus attention on something.” That’s where the vision board comes into play. Continuously focusing on the images on the board and most importantly the feelings that go with those images influences the RAS. Vision boards serve a programming role to the RAS to focus external stimuli that helps us move closer towards our intentions, to activate the law of attraction in our lives.

 

WHAT IS A VISION BOARD?

 

A vision board is simply a board where you display pictures and words or a collage of what you want to do, be or have in your life.

 

You simply select the pictures and words that you like, that elevate your positive feelings. There are no bounds here. Select the images based on your inner wants, be as crazy as you like. The universe has no bounds, you create the bounds in your life yourself, even if you don’t realise it.

 

Is it financial freedom, a successful business, a new home, a healthy lifestyle that you want? Whatever it is keep all your images congruent to the ultimate goal. In other words fill your board with the things you would like in your life if you had financial freedom or a new home for instance. You might think you just want ‘stuff’ but there is always the deeper meaning behind the ‘stuff’. What is yours?

 

HOW TO CONSTRUCT YOUR VISION BOARD

 

Your vision board is only limited by your imagination. You can be as simple or as creative as you like, it’s all about you. Your subconscious mind works in images, so make your vision board as visual as possible with plenty of pictures.

 

All the pictures on your vision board need to evoke a positive emotional response in you. Your vision board should make you feel happy and motivated every time you look at it.

 

It should be positioned in a place where you see it as often as possible. This might be your study, kitchen or bedroom, wherever you can focus on it intently every day.

 

Hang it in a private location if you think you might be ridiculed. It is important that the board brings you positive, not negative feelings.

 

To create your vision board follow these easy steps.

 

1. Buy a large board that will fit nicely where you want to see your vision board daily. The board needs to be made from something you can either pin or paste your pictures. You could have a cork-backed board from one of those cheap shops, eg; Crazy Clarks style. I actually had a framed picture I wasn’t using so I removed it from the frame, got rid of the glass and then covered the picture in a thin foam and then the fabric. I then crisscrossed it with the ribbon and secured with upholstery tacks and then put it back in the frame.

 

You’ll also want to buy a packet of Command Picture Hanging Strips. They are easy to remove later without damaging the paint and wall.

 

2. Collect some magazines and flip through them looking for pictures that stimulate a positive emotion in you and relate to your ultimate goal. Cut them out neatly and put them aside for later.

 

Perhaps you have some photos of your own you can add or you could ‘Google’ some images of your choosing. Remember that each image needs to resonate a feeling of joy in you.

 

3. Now you can start to arrange the images onto the board in a way that visually pleases you. Keep rearranging until you are totally satisfied with the outcome before you stick or pin them down. Writing or printing out and adding some positive affirmations to the board is also good.

 

4. The next step is to simply hang your vision board where you want it to go and where you will see it most during the day.

 

Please remember that your vision board is an evolving piece of art. Keep it updated with fresh and emotionally charged pictures. Keep your passion alive when you look at the board and continuously add and subtract from it whenever you like. You want your vision board to continuously inspire and uplift you and keep you focussed on your ultimate goal.

 

BEING GRATEFUL

 

Being grateful is generally a way of feeling happy and appreciative in your life. We all have to remind ourselves of what is good in our lives and not dwell or focus on the negative. This is important if you want to live a better, happier life. Stopping the negative mind chatter, that little voice in your head that bombards you with negative beliefs, is a daily struggle, but replacing those thoughts with thoughts of gratefulness is a good way to start. To do this you must change your own ‘negative self talk’, with positive affirmations.

 

Every time you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, make a conscious decision to think about something that makes you feel good. I think of my grandson and I can’t help but feel good when I do. He makes me smile!

 

Using positive affirmations also works. You have to give it time though and not give up! That’s why I use my grandson and then think of a positive affirmation. He always sets my positive mood.

 

 

 

Here are a few positive affirmations that might help you.

 

All the things I want and need come to me.

 

I always receive more than what I need.

 

I am grateful for life’s abundance.

 

I am grateful for opportunities to grow and learn.

 

I am a confident and positive person, and confident and positive people gravitate toward me.

 

I am caring, loving, smart, supportive, loyal, and fun to be with.

 

I am worthy as a person.

 

I deserve all the good things in my life.

 

I am healthy.

 

I am grateful for the people who are journeying life with me.

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