Blog Like a Pro Lesson 2: Make Your Blog Matter (to Others)

This is Day 2 in our 7-day Blog Like a Pro (BLP) Challenge. If you missed yesterday’s lesson on knowing what you’re about, start there. Also, check in on Facebook to see what others are doing!

It’s one thing to write. It’s another to connect. Great writers understand implicitly the goal of writing is not just self expression. It’s connection.

matter to others

How do you know you’re doing your job as a writer? How do you know you have an effective blog?

Simple: you know because you’re connecting with readers. You’re getting feedback, people telling you that your work matters — to them.

Getting practical

How do you do this?

You build an email list. Forget what you’ve heard about email marketing and how people say it’s dead. It’s not. Email marketing is very much alive. In fact, email is the most universal way to communicate with most people online.

So how are you asking for people’s email addresses on your website? This is important. If you don’t ask people for permission to continue communicating with them after they’ve left your website, you’re leaving a lot on the table.

What does this take? How do you get people’s email addresses? You need an incentive for people.

Call it a lead magnet or an ethical bribe or whatever you like. I like to think of it as a reward for people’s attention. Whatever name you use, the point is to give people a reason to sign up for your email list and to give you an opportunity to stay in touch with them the next time you have something to say.

But where do you begin? By creating something brand new out of nothing? Not necessarily. The most effective lead magnets tend to come from existing content. So here’s what you should do:

  1. Repurpose an existing piece of content — a popular blog post, your recent manifesto from yesterday’s assignment, or something else — and turn it into a lead magnet. Edit it and then turn it into a short PDF eBook.
  2. Sign up for an email marketing service like Aweber or Mailchimp and set up a new email list to deliver your free lead magnet.
  3. Start collecting email addresses. Use a tool like Sumo (which is free!) to create a pop-up to deliver your free lead magnet. This is way easier than having to embed complicated code on your website. Watch this video to see how to get started.

The goal of this assignment is simple: you’re trying to connect with people. You want feedback so that you can get an idea of how your work is making a difference in people’s lives. We don’t find our voices writing for ourselves. We find our voice when we hear it resonating with others.

You have to put your work out there. And you have to give people an opportunity to respond. That’s what today is about: building an asset that will be the bedrock for how you communicate with your audience from here on out.

make it matter

Assignment: Take yesterday’s manifesto and turn it into a lead magnet. Once you have that set up (if you already have one, use this as an opportunity to create something new), share it here. The person who collects the most emails by 7:00 a.m. CT, Mar. 16 will win a free copy of Bryan Harris’s Get 10,000 Subscribers course.

Do you have a lead magnet? Share the link in the comments of this post (then update us again tomorrow with the number of new subscribers you got through this assignment). I’ll announce the winner in tomorrow’s challenge.

195 thoughts on “Blog Like a Pro Lesson 2: Make Your Blog Matter (to Others)

  1. I’m fairly certain I commented here but it must be way down the thread somewhere by now. I did get my eBook finished yesterday and got everyhting set up for my subscribers. I spent sometime last night redoing my collections forms, as well.
    My little sister has a blog too and her first book coming out next month so I got her write a short intro to my eBook which is My Personal Story of some life changing experiences. I’m proud of it. Just wanted to leave an update since Jeff said the challenge was exteneded.

  2. Wohoo… since this challenge, I’ve added 17 more to our email list! And even more than that who follow us on wordpress!!!

  3. So here’s the deal… I’ve had a stale lead magnet for a while and had been planning to do something fresh and more relevant – this came at just the right time! In the process of connected the new magnet, I BROKE THE OPT-IN MECHANISM!!! Grrrr…. Well, then, in the process of fixing it, I discovered that my leads were not pushing into my email platform – so I was able to export those leads and push them in manually as well as fixing that pesky bug. Bottom line, I’ve gotten couple new subscribers in the last couple days, but my total new when adding the orphaned addresses to the list is 11! 🙂

  4. Well, the email subscription is finally set up correctly (only took two days). And my magnet it ready also. Now I have to try and find the people who were interested but were unable to get the free book.

  5. Hi everyone! I have enjoyed checking out some of your links. Wishing you all success in your respective writing areas.
    Alas, I must be the sour note in the chorus here. When I check out a blog for the first time and get a pop up “Subscribe to this blog” window, the first thing I do is get rid of it. I never subscribe to a blog until I’ve read or at least looked at several posts and you can’t do that when you’re faced right off with that window. I hope in time there’ll be some way of putting this on the side or at the bottom somewhere, so it doesn’t hinder a viewer from reading the blog posts.
    One other thought: to make a blog user-friendly be sure a ‘Recent Posts’ widget is installed. The visitor can then see at a glance what topics this blog tends to cover.

    1. Aweber, and probably other services, let you choose how to do your pop-up, including not showing a pop-up after a visitor has dismissed it. In other words, if a visitor returns, he won’t see the pop-up for a set number of days–like 30 days, maybe.

      With the vast number of services and plug-ins available, you must never give up on getting your blog to be just as you want it to be.

  6. I joined this challenge as my blogging enthusiasm had plummeted to 0 out of 10 but completing the first exercise has produced more clarity. I already have a lead magnet about kick starting your creative life,and it is pretty compatible with my manifesto. Check it out here… ,

    There is also a lead magnet at my education site, basically a freebie for educators of young children. It is called “Making Friends One Day at a Time”.

  7. This challenge was awesome! It pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to not only learn something new, but make a commitment to my goals of growing my readership. If you want to be inspired by random acts of kindness, subscribe today and receive my idea sheet for “6 Simple Ways to Pay-It-Forward”!

    1. Hey! Your popup looks good! I’m hoping to do something similar except that I can’t seem to get it to work. I thought it was because I didn’t own it, but I see yours is a free site, too. How did you do it? Thanks!

  8. This challenge took me two days to finish with a teething baby, but I’m excited to have it done!!! Subscribe at and receive an exclusive copy of “Letters to Little: A Persistent Heart” directly to your inbox!

  9. Thanks for the video Jeff! You have come through once again, supporting, encouraging and not just telling what works but showing us. My blog has had such a huge make over in just two days and I have accomplished so much more than I thought possible in that time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  10. Working on my opt-in and sign-up form has been on my list for too long to tell you! Having this task on the Challenge is the perfect kick in the seat I needed! I am loving everyone’s comments and plan to click through and read and comment on your posts – such great work here!

  11. Did a new lead magnet based off the first day’s assignment and got SumoMe set up today! I’ve added 20 but I also did a guest post this week and I think most of it came from that.

  12. A day late and a dollar short on this one. I created the PDF of a lead magnet AND got set up for MailChimp, AND got SumoMe set up and happy on my site…only now I’m not sure that I’ve gotten the PDF actually attached to any email a subscriber would receive. Any thoughts, y’all?

    1. Aweber allows you to send “trial” emails. Mail Chimp probably does the same. Send your email to your own address and you’ll see exactly what your subscribers will be seeing. It’s worth a bit of bother to be sure you’re sending the right thing.

  13. I am an active duty Marine currently on deployment overseas. Seeing your blogs about the 7 day challenge really inspired me. I saw them the very first day and it started some sort of fire in me.Since then my entire free time ha been devoted towards it. I built a complete website, mail chimp, sumo me, and started blog posts. I currently have 45 subscribers.

  14. — I have 9 NEW subscribers since the Day 2 challenge started — (6 of those were in the last 24 hours… the second half of the challenge)

  15. I’ve created my PDF ebook (by editing a previous doc) but Word Press only allows the Mail Chimp pop up sign up form. I’d prefer not to use it as I always delete pop ups.
    How do I add a static sign up form with an ebook link for subscribers please? I’ve been searching the web all day for an answer …

        1. Like so that when someone subscribes the link comes up in the “thank you for subscribing” email?

            1. yes. It isnt something you have to do through wordpress. Log in to your mail chimp account. Go to lists and find the subscription list. Hit the drop down arrow and click on signup forms. CLick general forms. Once you’re there at the top of the page should be another drop down arrow that says sign up forms. Click on the final welcome email and hit edit. You can now add a link with your pdf in this message.

              1. Thanks for this. Word press only allows Mailchimp pop ups so I guess I’ll have to comply. I’ll also take a look at Sumome, as Sian suggests above; that might be the answer. Thank you both!

                1. Have just discovered that doesn’t let me use Sumome so I’ll have to use the MailChimp Pop up after all. Is that what all you Word Press users are using?

        2. If you use Sumome, as Jeff suggests, you can create click triggers so that when they click to accept your offer, the subscribe box pops up.

          1. Sadly, I see Word blogs can’t use Sumome. It’ll have to be a Mail Chimp pop-up. Is that what all you Word users are using for your subscriber sign up forms?

            1. If you’re only just starting it is well worth starting again with FreeVirtualServers has a really easy one click install for it.

                1. It’s well worth it. Don’t forget to copy and paste the content of your blogs somewhere so that you can put them on your new site. I use the Travelify theme which I downloaded from Colorlib. It’s easy to set up and change colours. Don’t use dazzling at the moment as the new upgrade crashes your site.

                2. Thanks again, Sian.
                  As I’m hopeless at the tech side of blogging I’ve decided to simply put a Subscribe box in the side bar and will send my ebooklet as an attachment to a Thank you email.
                  Hope it works!

                3. If you want to change blogging platforms, you don’t have to copy-and-paste anything. Under “tools” choose “export” and tell WordPress what all you want to export. (I’d tell it to export everything.) When you start your new blog, go to Tools and choose “import.”

                  The only downside is that your image library won’t be exported/imported. Everything else, including menus and comments from visitors, will be transferred to your new site.

    1. I don’t understand what you’re saying about WordPress. Here’s my blog: . There’s a sign-up form, but no pop-up.

      For my bribe, I made a PDF and put it on a page of the blog that isn’t on the menu. When a person subscribes to my email list, they get a letter containing the link to the page where my bribe lies in wait. It’s not “secure,” but if my bribe falls into unauthorized hands, it won’t be the end of the world.

      Best wishes–hope you get it all figured out quickly. 🙂

  16. Wow! I fell way behind in this challenge. I’ve got my pdf ready for the lead magnet but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to setup the lead in Sumome on my wordpress blog. What am I missing?

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