School of Coaching Mastery

Coaching Blog

To Blog or to Do - Is That the Question?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Lately, I've been breaking a cardinal rule of blogging:

Blog frequently and regularly to create loyal subscribers. Studies show that the blogs that blog most frequently have the most subscribers.

Well, it's been about 2 weeks! We're fortunate not to have lost any subscribers, yet.

I find the more I have going on at School of Coaching Mastery, the less time I have to blog. But this is when we have the most to talk about!

There a lots of workarounds for this problem: Guest bloggers, extra articles written in advance, a blog editor. I know, I know.

All I can say is don't do as I do! But I promise new articles will be forthcoming this week. 

Thanks for reading!

Topics: blog, blogs, blogging, School of Coaching Mastery

How to Win the Best Coaching Blogs Contest

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best coaching blogs contestHave you ever wished you could get insider tips on how to succeed at something?

Like how to win a contest or how to attract more clients? Well, I'm about to give you insider tips for both.

Marketing experts say that blogging is one of the most important tools for client attraction in any type of business, particularly if you don't have a big advertising budget. That advice couldn't be more true for coaches.

That's why we sponsor the Best Coaching Blogs Contest each year. Coaching Blogs offer some of the most cutting-edge information about coaching and they are free. That's awesome for the consumer and it's a great marketing strategy for coaches. The contest highlights the very best and it's an effective inbound marketing strategy for School of Coaching Mastery. Everybody wins. But not everybody wins the contest.

Winning at Best Coaching Blogs is a lot like winning at blogging. Both will attract more clients to you, so listen up!

9 ways to win Best Coaching Blogs:

1. Know your audience. The easiest audience to write for is yourself, your friends, or your clients, in that order. But if you're writing to attract more clients, you need to work harder to offer value, to be understood, to create fans and attract clients. If you're writing to win Best Coaching Blogs, remember that your blog will be read by folks who don't know you and you'll need to win over both coaches and non-coaches. They are very different audiences.

2. Know the difference between a business blog and a personal blog. A personal blog, or weblog, can be quirky, weird and profane. A business blog can be all of that, too, depending upon your audience. Generally speaking, a business blog needs to offer more service and value and build more trust than a personal blog, because you ultimately want your readers to spend not just their time, but their money with you. That usually requires more discipline and perhaps less soul-baring. Service, value, trust and discipline will go a long way to help you win the Best Coaching Blogs Contest.

3. Actively create trust. Notice that the word, 'trust' is coming up a lot? You may have already created a fantastic level of trust with the folks who know you, but if you want to attract more people (and contest votes) via your blog, you'll have to create trust through your actual writing. How do you do that? Tell the truth. Give away your best secrets. And show up consistently, meaning develop a consistent voice and blog regularly and frequently enough that people start to count on your articles. As a rule of thumb, you need a minimum of about 20 articles to create blog credibility and you should be blogging once per week or more.

4. Titles are critical. Learn to write titles that engage quickly and pique curiosity. You only have a second or two to convince someone that it'll be worthwhile to spend their valuable time reading your article. Check the right-hand column of this blog for a list of our ten most popular blog posts and you'll see examples of many of the types of posts that engage and create curiosity. If people don't read your articles, you won't attract either clients or votes.

5. Make sure the article delivers what the title promises. Piquing someone's curiosity and then immediately pulling a switcheroo to get them to buy or download something is just plain rude. It's also marketing suicide and readers will mentally blacklist you in a heartbeat. Don't use your blog to sell. Also, don't use it just to write about a product or program, unless your audience tells you they love that. Do offer something of value at the bottom of your posts for people who may want more. Treat your readers with respect and they'll come back. They may even vote for your blog.

6. Be remarkable. Thousands of life coaches write about the Law of Attraction. Don't be one of them unless you have something different to say. Write what no one else writes. Empower your readers. Help them achieve their goals. Make them feel smart for discovering you and they will tell all their friends. And their friends will tell friends. Soon, you have raving fans for your blog and for your work. Fans vote with a vengence.

7. Be Social. Success in the blogosphere is achieved through cooperation, not competition. Read other blogs and comment on them. Link to the best ones. Guest post on some. And announce what you and other bloggers are up to throughout the social media web. This advice is especially important during the contest. Treat your fellow contestants like friends instead of enemies, because in the end, the semi-finalists choose the Top Ten Winners.

8. Play nice. Every year, at least one blogger succumbs to the temptation to cheat and it's the other contestants who notice it first. That's a dumb strategy, because the contestants are the ones who choose the winners. Either play nice or loose. 

9. Break the rules. Although I'm giving you awesome advice for writing a successful blog that wins like crazy, your audience may want something completely different. Pay attention to them first and foremost and watch your blog grow in popularity. Best Coaching Blogs is in many ways a popularity contest. Write for your readers (and voters) and win!

Go here for a related article called, Best Coaching Blogs: Why a Winning Strategy Might Not Win.

Are you a blogger or even winner in one of the Best Coaching Blogs contests? What strategies do you use that I've left out here? Please share your best blogging strategies in the comments below.

How to Blog Effectively

 

Want more ideas? Download the free How to Blog Effectively for Your Coaching Business ebook here.

Topics: coaching business, Best Coaching Blogs, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, School of Coaching Mastery, coaching clients, Life Coaches, How to, Law of Attraction

Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Winners

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Winners The Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Contest Winners Include the Awesome Business and Life Coaches Below:

It's been a pleasure running this contest with such a wonderful line up of business and life coaching bloggers. Coaches conducted themselves with grace and enthusiasm as they competed for popular votes and comments. And of course, great coaching content is what most makes them successful. Final voting by the semi-finalists was via a closed ballot survey and a run-off ballot to break a couple of ties.

Here are this year's winners of the Best Coaching Blogs Contest:

First Place goes to the Prosperous Coach Blog by Business Coach, Rhonda Hess. Congratulations Rhonda! Here are Rhonda's comments:

It's an honor and a hoot to win! And, I'd already won - more subscribers, juicy comments, camaraderie, and an intro to some great coaching blogs. What I love about this contest is that it's a pass-it-forward social cred building experience for everyone involved. Our savvy host, Julia Stewart, raised the profiles and subscriber lists of every participant, while attracting thousands of people to her own site. Brilliant! Thanks so much, ya'll! Let's keep the conversations going. - Rhonda

Second Place goes to the Mountain Moving Mindset Blog by Business Coach, Frederique Murphy. Congrats Frederique! Here's what Frederique had to say:

My winning mindset is probably slightly different from others: I never enter anything focusing on the end game; the key, is all about
enjoying the journey. And this is exactly what I did with this contest. For me, being in the top 10, already meant SO much, it was like
the icing on the cake! That means that my blog is impacting enough people, for them to take the time to visit, read, vote and comment.
For the last 4 weeks, reading those comments every day, seeing the ones that had been added overnight made not only my day,
but my year and more!!! Seeing that I truly live my mission is a wonderful gift. My blog is one of the vehicles I use to fulfil my mission,
which is to empower business owners, entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs to master their mindset, so that they can move mountains and
bring their businesses to the next level! And, those comments were a superb way of supporting this and seeing the motivation, inspiration
and empowerment, my readers are getting! And, I felt like a winner already. And, now, hearing that I won 2nd place, is such an extra plus,
like the cherry on top of the cake! This means that the other amazing top coaches also supported me and my blog, I am almost speechless,
but that would not be too convenient for a coach ;-) Thanks to this contest, my blog has gained extra visibility and extra exposure for the good
vibes that I am sharing, and giving me the chance to impact even more people. One blog post at a time, one mindset shift at a time ;-))

Thanks again Julia!
Frederique
 

Third Place is a tie and goes to It's My Life Blog and Solopreneurs Blog. Congratulations to you both!

The remaining six blogs that make up our Top Ten for 2010 are: Lisa Unmasked, Coaching Biz Tips, Business and Sales Coach for Introverts, Laurie Foley, Inner Resource Center and Personal Business Coaching. Great job everyone!

Although School of Coaching Mastery doesn't pick the winning blogs, we do sometimes award Honorable Mentions. This year, the title of 'Most Popular' goes to Grey Matters Blog for attracting the highest number of popular votes and comments and bringing lots of traffic to the whole contest. Awesome job.

If you're a coach or a blogger, you need to subscribe to these amazing blogs. You can find them all in one convenient spot, complete with descriptions and comments by readers. Read, learn and enjoy!

Want to enter next year's Best Coaching Blogs Contest? Subscribe to this blog by email or RSS.

Visit Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Winners

 

Visit and read Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Winners here.

Topics: business coach, life coach, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging

How to Start Blogging for Your Coaching Business

Posted by Julia Stewart

coach bloggingI think blogging was invented for coaches.

Or it may as well have been! Blogs are a natural fit for us partly because we are social creatures and partly because we have a lot to say.

We're naturals at forming meaningful relationships, because we're all about service and listening. That makes us social. And blogs are a highly interactive, highly social form of communication.

We've got a lot to say, perhaps because of all those hours we put in while coaching, asking questions and being silent. We learn quite a lot in the process and sometimes we're bursting to share it! No wonder then that coaches write so much and create thousands of hours of audio that they share freely.

And where better to post our philosophical musings, our solutions and our favorite tools, than on a public blog?

Blog effectively and you will attract new clients and like-minded colleagues. A blog is a marvelous place for people to get to know you. But do learn the basics of blogging before you dive in. Otherwise, your blog could be hard labor, instead of a labor of love.

In honor of the Best Coaching Blogs 2010 contest that School of Coaching Mastery is hosting right now, we're releasing a brand-new free ebook on how to get started blogging effectively for your coaching business. Even if you've never blogged before, you could be ready to win in time for Best Coaching Blogs 2011!Get the free ebook below and get started now.

How to Blog Effectively for Your Coaching Business free ebook Go here to download your free copy of the 'How to Blog Effectively for Your Coaching Business' ebook

Topics: coaching business, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging, How to

Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Open

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Coaching Blogs 2010Best Coaching Blogs 2010 opens this morning. Enter your blog to win!

The Best Coaching Blogs 2010 contest 'officially' opens this morning. A few of last year's participants entered over the weekend, so you can begin voting right away.

However, we will still be in the 'entry period' until the end of May, adding new blogs as they are entered. Right now is the time to enter the coaching blog contest.

How does the Best Coaching Blogs contest work?

Any self-described coach who blogs on coaching themes may enter for free. You'll get a badge, similar to the one above, to post on your blog, website, and social profiles, with a link to the contest, so your readers, clients, followers, etc., can all vote for you. Only one vote per blog entry, per IP (computer) address. And of course, you'll want to blog about it and post about it on social sites. Last year, major coaching organizations, professional coaches and even student coaches all entered - and won!

'Thanks again, Julia, for this competition. I joined for a lark, and got into the top ten! Incredible!' - Coach Gaye Wilson  

How are Best Coaching Blogs winners chosen?

Initial votes are cast by the public, so be sure to mobilize yours. Final results will be determined by the Semi-Finalists, themselves, in a closed vote (online survey). Criteria for winning include the quality of blog content and good sportsmanship. A summary of the final vote counts will be made public in a downloadable PDF document. The contest winners will be announced in this blog on July 1st.

 What do the Best Coaching Blogs win?

Every blog that makes it past the initial entry period will get a badge that describes what level they won (1st Place!) to display on their site, plus bragging rights. And this year, we're adding prizes - winners will receive free memberships to Coaching Insiders. More on that later.

Why should you enter Best Coaching Blogs 2010?

Well, you just might win. Last year, 50 blogs entered. New coaches, as well veterans, competed and won. There were 30,000 hits to the contest page within 2 months and visitors continue to visit the list of last year's winners, which links to their blogs. Winners also got picked up by other online lists of best blogs.

'Wow, thanks so much! This means a lot to me, especially considering the standard of the other blogs - many colleagues whose work I know well (and love reading regularly) were featured in the competition. So this is a real honour. Thanks to everyone!' - Coach Cath Duncan, 1st Place, Best Coaching Blogs 2009

Perhaps the real reason to enter is that you'll get new readers and perhaps new subscribers and clients. That's what last year's participants told me. They also told me the whole thing was a lot of fun!

'...an amazing experience. I'll be following some of the blogs from the contest and have had new people subscribe to my blog and newsletter. It's great to share with those of like mind and receive inspiration and support along the way.' - Coach Marian Kerr 

Last, the Best Coaching Blogs contests are designed to spotlight great coaching and how it helps others do great things and have better lives and more successful businesses. Coaching is changing the world.

'We are very honoured to have been voted one of the ten best blogs - especially among so many other incredible entries!' - Coach Linda Dessau, editor IAC VOICE

Please share this post with as many people as you know, especially coaches. Our social share buttons at the top of this post make that easy for you. And if you decide to enter, good luck!

Enter Best Coaching Blogs

 

Enter Best Coaching Blogs Here.

Topics: Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coaching blog, coaching blogs, contest

Coach: Stop Agonizing Over Your Website

Posted by Julia Stewart

coach websiteOne of the many hurdles that a new coach might struggle with is getting up that first website.

Honestly, most coaches make this harder than it has to be. And if you're waiting to fill your business with clients until after the website is up, you're giving yourself an unnecessary delay. Why?

  • Unless you're an marketing genius, most of your clients won't find you through your site, anyway. At least not at first.
  • In fact, most of your clients don't care if you even have a website.
  • There are so many other ways to to be found on the web besides a traditional website (social networking, directories, blogs, portals, etc.) that are probably juicier ways to attract clients, anyway. 

But a site's a good thing to have, so if you're struggling with it, here's a great way to get a site up in less than an hour. Buy a URL (web address) and point it to your 'personal web portal' (Bribe your 13 year old nephew to handle the web address, or pay a webmaster, if you must. GoDaddy and HostGator are 2 sites where you can get the address for a few bucks.)

Where do you get a 'personal web portal'? Here are 3 possibilities: flavors.me, chi.mp, and unhub. Watch the demo below to see how flavors works. Easy enough that even you can do it (Let's face it, your nephew's taste in graphics just won't work for your coaching site, anyway.)

Once your portal is up, add links to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MCX, Flickr & YouTube accounts. Then remember to add a link TO your portal from all the social sites and directories that you belong to, so people can find you on the web. You can add your new web address to your business card and Voila! your website problem is solved.

 

Flavors.me from Jack Zerby on Vimeo.

Coach 100 eBook

 

Get the free Coach 100 eBook for a better way to attract coaching clients.

Topics: Coaching, blogs, Coaches, Coach 100, coach, twitter, clients, YouTube

Best Coaching Blogs 2010 Preview

Posted by Julia Stewart

bloggerLast year's Best Coaching Blogs 2009 was hugely popular.

Over 30,000 visitors read and voted on their favorite blogs and the winners, from all over the world, ranged from big coaching organizations to new coaching students.

We're getting ready to do it again. After reviewing a variety of approaches to help us upgrade security and fairness, we realized we already have eveything we need to run another great contest.

Who can enter Best Coaching Blogs 2010? Any self-described coach who already has a blog. Please don't enter if you aren't at least a coaching student and obviously don't enter this year if you don't already have a blog.

What's the benefit of entering Best Coaching Blogs 2010? Hundreds, if not thousands of new readers, potentially getting picked up by lists of top blogs, connecting with other thought leaders in the coaching world, prizes and bragging rights (including a badge for your site) if you win. Oh yeah, and it's fun!

Right now, we're looking for sponsors to help kick in some prizes in exchange for a little promotion on our site. If you offer a product or service that coaches would be interested in and want to be a contest sponsor, let me know here. (Sorry, contestants can't be sponsors, so you have to choose how you want to play.)

The contest last year ran from May through June, but we'll be accepting entries earlier this year. Watch this blog for upcoming announcements. I recommend you subscribe by email or RSS.

Why do we hold a Best Coaching Blogs Contest every year? Lots of reasons, including:

  • Reading blogs is one of the best free ways to learn about this business.
  • Participating in the blogosphere is a super way to establish yourelf as a thought leader, even if you don't have your own blog.
  • Connecting with bloggers and readers can bring you ideas, opportunities, collaborators and clients.
  • Much, much more. 

Subscribe to the Coaching Blog

Subscribe to the Coaching Blog above right, to keep informed about this exciting coaching contest.

Topics: coaching business, Coaching, Life Coach Blog, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, Coaches, coach

Announcing Best Coaching Blogs 2009 Winners!

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Coaching Blogs WinnersWe have our winners for the 2009 Best Coaching Blogs Contest!

Forty-five wonderful blogs were entered and I've heard  from countless people that it was a terrific introduction to blogs and coaching. Kudos to everyone who entered and participated faithfully. Watch for an announcement about next year's contest in this space. 

But you want to know who the winners are, right? Here they are.

Congratulations to our top three winners!

1st Place: Mine Your Resources by  Cath Duncan

Here's Cath's reaction to learning that she won:

"Wow, thanks so much! This means a lot to me, especially considering the standard of the other blogs - many colleagues whose work I know well (and love reading regularly) were featured in the competition. So this is a real honour. Thanks to everyone!"
Cath has a new coaching site that goes live today:  www.bottomlinebookclub.com

2nd Place: Good Vibe Blog by Jeannette Maw 

3rd Place: Stirring the Spirit Within by Jude Eastman

Jude's reaction to winning third place: 

"Wow-I'm in Hawaii enjoying the surf, flora, and fauna of the big Island. It's hard to imagine winning third place! I feel like Woohoo! I write my blog as inspiration for others who are trying to change their lives. Hopefully,they will be pulled forward into their highest and best life whatever circumstances they are currently in." 

The following seven blogs complete our Top Ten Winners:

Somedays Syndrome

Prosperous Coach Blog

Laurie Foley

All Paths to Victory

Your Web Coaches

Lose the Excuses


Sixteen additional bloggers were semi-finalists. All in all, this has been a really fun project. I've been introduced to some amazing coaches and blogs and learned a lot about how to run a contest! 

Our ultimate goal was to compile a list of Best Coaching Blogs that anyone can visit to learn more about coaching and personal & professional development.

Visit all our Best Coaching Blogs Winners here.

Topics: Coaching, Life Coach Blog, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coaching blog, Coaches

Best Coaching Blogs Solution?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Coaching BlogsI must say, I feel a bit better about the Best Coaching Blogs snafu.

Based on the comments, it seems the rules need to be clearer and the "vote down" option needs to be removed. Plus we need intelligent protocols for checking what's going on. Otherwise, the competition is too tempting for some and too demotivating for others.

I think maybe, just maybe, I've found the solution. After a Google search (gotta love Google), I found  www.strutta.com, which has some very intelligent looking contest software. I enquired about their security system for ensuring fairness and here's the speedy reply that I got:

'Hey Julia, 

I'm glad you asked. This one is a point of pride for us. Here's the official company line on our voting system and fraud prevention. First, quoting Mike Holly, our Senior Developer: 

"Our users are required to verify their accounts (by clicking an activation link sent in an email) before voting. All new votes and entries are kept in a "pending" state until the user clicks the email verification link. When the verification link is clicked, the user is notified that their votes have been made permanent and finally redirected back to the contest site. Once at the site, the user can clearly see that their vote has been recorded.

By default our software will allow one voter, per user, per entry for the duration of the contest."

So Julia, some voting software will only allow one vote per IP address to prevent more than entry coming form one computer or physical location. We understand that often times several employees of one company or members of one family might wish to vote from the same IP address with different emails, so we've installed filters to alert our staff and the contest creator whenever "suspicious" activity takes place. Wherever multiple votes are cast from a single IP, they are caught in a "filter." Once one of these filters catches a pattern and alerts us to potentially suspect voting, we review each case and evaluate it using a number of other criteria to ensure that all voting is fair, and that no cheating of any kind has taken place.

In the event that fraudulent voting has taken place, the contest creator is given the option of dismissing any and all fraudulent votes. It is up to the descretion of the contest creator (you) to decide whether entries should be disqualified, bearing in mind that it is not always the entrant that is responsible for the fake votes, it could just be one bad voter apple in the barrel. 

I hope this is helpful. If you have other questions, you can send them to us directly using http://www.strutta.com/contact.'
 
Given that helpful explanation, I've set up a "test" or "mock" contest and I invite all Best Coaching Blogs contestents to enter this test contest and votes with impunity. It is live until 2:30 Eastern/NY Time, tomorrow, Sunday, June 21st. There is no winner.
 
The point of this test contest is to get a feel for how the contest software works and how it may be confusing and to try to 'break' the security system.  Go ahead and dump your cache, close and reopen your browser, vote from different computers and with different email addresses. I want to see what happens. In other words, break the "rules". Please don't invite your readers, though. This mock contest is just for testing purposes.
 
The layout and look is very different. You will be invited to enter "text". Enter an engaging description of your blog and a link to it. Also enter "tags", title and a short description.  You must set up an account to do this. It's easy and fast. Please add comments about the mock contest to this post.
 
Ready?

Topics: Coaching, Best Coaching Blogs, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, Coaches

Cries of Foul Play in Best Coaching Blogs Contest

Posted by Julia Stewart

Best Coaching Blogs 2009Last week I wrote about how competitive the Best  Coaching Blogs 2009 contest had become.

Thousands of votes; lots of excitement. Well, we seem to have turned a corner with that. One blog recently got more votes in a period of a few hours than the number of visitors to our entire website! Hmm...if each person is supposed to vote once, then...

Today, I also received an email from someone who says she's been bombarded by bloggers who are asking her to vote multiple times for their blogs. Not cool. Not cool at all.

The voting software is designed to prevent anyone from voting more than once, but any system can be "gamed". How naive I must be to think that coaches would be above all that!

When I first caught wind of some cut-throat activity, I started watching my web analytics for irregularities and they revealed mostly positive behavior, plus some that I wasn't so sure about. I made some mental notes about how to change the contest for next year, but it meant that possibly I had missed some activities that should have disqualified a few blogs this year and it was too late to be sure. That's not good.

Now I'm thinking that I can't guarantee the fairness of this contest. That makes me really sad, but I'm not one to stand around sniffling. 

Clearly, some changes need to be made. And although I was hoping for a "People's Choice" award for coaching blogs, I think it would be much fairer to let all of the bloggers vote for each other, including those who didn't make the previous two cuts. The web "votes" will now be for "entertainment" purposes,only.

I'm asking myself what I've learned here. Should I have tested the software with a mock contest? I don't think a mock contest would have elicited this result. Maybe experience really is the best teacher.

Perhaps the real lesson is that temptation can get the better of even good people, so it's best not to tempt them. Or judge them.

My hero in all of this, though, is the coach who disqualified herself and withdrew from the contest. She said it was the negative vote option that was her downfall. She did the right stuff to bring people to the site to vote for her, but others kept voting her back down, so she started adding the votes back in. As she said,

'I know the playground excuse of “She started it!” won’t fly and I won’t even try to go there.'
 
Kudos. I was going to invite other bloggers to step forward and disqualify themselves, if needed, but since the contest rules are now changed, there is no need, except maybe for your own integrity. Let's all take a moment to shake off that bad ju-ju and step back into our best Selves.
 
Last points: The contest has succeeded in its main objective, which is to spotlight the best blogs by coaches and encourage more people to read them.  And the remaining bloggers didn't necessarily do anything wrong.  Most of them got to the semi-finals by writing great blog posts and inspiring their readers.
 
Expect more announcements about the contest in this space. 
 
I'm really curious about your thoughts. Did you vote? What was your experience? Were you concerned about fairness? If you're one of the bloggers, what are your thoughts?

Topics: Coaching, Best Coaching Blogs, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coach

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