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A Blogger Shares How She Made $28,000 Using The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up

Today I’m wrapping up the mini series we have been going through that is all about warming your readers up. We have been talking about how to take readers from being completely unaware of who you are or cold to being fully engaged with you or warmed up.


I’m going to wrap this series up by sharing a case study of how one blogger, who had a relatively small list of readers, used the principles that we have been talking about in this series to generate over $28,000.

She did this by using a single blog post, a SlideShare presentation, a lead magnet, an email sequence, and a webinar.

Recap of Episodes in Warming Your Readers Up Series

Episode 112

  • I walk you through the 4 stages of warming your readers up
    • First getting their attention
    • Second getting them interested
    • Third getting a connection
    • Four getting engagement

Episode 113

  • This episode was all about getting that first eyeball on your site
    • Using Guest Content (and how to work out where you could put it)
    • Creating Shareable content on your own blog (gave tips on how to work out what to create)
    • I spoke about Repurposing content
    • Talked a little about SEO – particularly in search engines beyond Google like iTunes, App Store etc

Episode 114

  • All about getting people to look twice at you and your blog. Getting them interested, and getting them to realize that you are doing something relevant to them.
    • How to make a big promise about how you’ll relieve a pain or help bring about a gain
    • I shared some tips on how to differentiate yourself
    • I talked about creating ‘fist pump content’ that gives readers a quick win
    • Spoke about how to funnel readers to this quick win content through your site navigation, start here pages or portals
    • Shared some tips on using social proof to make people look twice

Episode 115

  • All about getting a connection with your readers. How to get them to subscribe, and I shared practical strategies on that.
    • Using pop ups, welcome mats and other ways to call readers to subscribe
    • Creating great lead magnets through creating content specific upgrades (gave you some examples of this)
    • Talked about how to create lead magnets that create momentum and build anticipation
    • Talked about the importance of content that builds desire and content that builds anticipation
    • Talked about cross promotion of your connection points to get secondary points of connection

Episode 116

  • All about deepening engagement with your readers
    • Particularly emphasises how to ‘onboard’ your readers
    • How to create content that promotes engagement and a sense of belonging
    • How to use ‘content events’ to build engagement

Today, I want to give you a case study that picks up on many of the strategies that I’ve talked about, so you can see how these might come together to help your readers flow through these stages.

To walk us through it I want to introduce you to Donna Moritz from

I was sharing these 4 stages of warming up readers on my FB page a few weeks back, and Donna shared with me a great example of how she brought them together.

In Today’s Episode Donna Moritz Shares How She Made $28,000 Using The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up

  • Donna’s Blog Post – 21 Pro Tips for a Packed House at Your Webinar or Live Event Using Visual Marketing
    • She knew big blog posts were effective, she was asked to be an affiliate for Amy Porterfield, so she decided to create a “firecracker” blog post to get the most webinar attendees
    • She knew people interested in this topic would be interested in the event, priming readers for a topic
    • The post took a couple of weeks of collecting information from influencers, then about a day to write
    • To get the attention of influencers, you have to make time and build relationships with this people. At least show you are interested in what they do before contacting them cold. Aim high, but don’t forget to look to the left and the right.
    • The post worked because it was a list post, it had a good title, very visual, and we shared quotes. There was also a banner ad for signups and a lead magnet.
    • Darren’s reflections on why it’s a great post:
      • Comprehensive (useful and shareable)
      • Visually Appealing (interesting)
      • Features Influencers (social proof)
      • Actionable/Practical Tips – (quick wins)
  • SlideShare – Donna also created 32 slides using quotes from the influencers featured in her blog post. This content is useful in itself, but it also points at the blog post and hints at a free cheat sheet.
    • I knew Slide Share was not only a great piece of visual content, but it drives shares. Slide Share can open in a news feed. I’ve done well in Slide Share presentations.
    • Liken it to putting a firecracker under your blog post – using slideshare or an infographic or short video to drive traffic to the blog post.  Slideshare has consistently driven quality traffic for me.
    • Donna creates the blog posts and Slide Shares at the same time.
    • Give attention to the cover because that is what catches people’s attention
    • Keep it simple, so people will click through
    • Donna linked to the blog post several times and hinted at the cheat sheet, you need to have a call to action
    • We created a theme and used terminology about that theme
    • We also tweeted out from the actual SlideShare – The SlideShare team monitors traffic and you can get featured on SlideShare
  • Lead Magnet/Content Upgrade
    • It’s well worth signing up for Donna’s Lead Magnet – Free Cheat Sheet
    • Donna chose a cheat sheet because she knew they worked well and the one page cheat sheet was found to convert the best
    • The biggest mistake you can make with a cheat sheet sign up is not to follow up
    • Minimum viable product – easiest product to create
    • Make a template use Canva or Photoshop if you know it, or have a designer create a template with your logo and branding
    • Why Darren thinks this works:
      • Builds on blog post
      • Great design
      • Comprehensive (9 pages) but not too long
      • Has quick wins and really practical examples, suggests tools to use
      • Generous content
  • Onboarding – Email Sequence
    • Now people who sign up for my newsletter get a welcome email
    • Then I ask what their biggest problem is and set expectations for the next emails.
    • I try to give them value before they move onto my sequence
    • When asking questions through a newsletter be prepared to get responses, and make sure you take the time to respond
    • The people who give you long responses are your potential customers
    • Good onboarding
    • Ask questions
    • Link to PDFs to give away – add value
    • Address pain obstacles and offer value, don’t just sell
  • Webinars
    • Webinars are a great way to teach without being on camera
    • Donna likes the interaction with people, and is getting more comfortable with the sales part at the end
    • A great way to connect with people, add value, and sale some programs
    • A webinar can be a pure engagement tool
    • People feel like they are having a conversation with you

This was the perfect ending to this series. With great examples. The webinar is a great way to end this series. We haven’t talked about monetization, and the webinar is one way to sell something. If Donna had any regrets, it was she wished she did this earlier. Her advice is learn to track and it doesn’t take that much effort to add in the extra steps.

Further Resources on How Donna Used The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up

Donna’s SlideShare Tips & Links

Other Examples of Content Upgrades

How did you go with today’s episode?

I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. I picked up a few things from Donna that I am going to give a go. I hope you enjoyed this series.

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view

Darren: Hi there! This is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. Welcome to episode 117 of the ProBlogger Podcast. Today, I want to wrap up the little miniseries that we’ve been going through over the last few episodes which has all been about warming your readers up. We’ve been talking about how to take readers on a journey from being completely unaware of who you are—if you’re cold—to being highly engaged, to being connected to you, and engaging with you, hot, warmed up readers.

The way I want to wrap this series up is to share a case study with you of one blogger who was only having a relatively small-medium sized list of readerships. Used the principles that we’ve been talking about this series to generate over $28,000 by simply using a single blog post, a SlideShare presentation, a lead magnet, and an onboarding email sequence followed up by a webinar. The same things we’ve been talking about in this series. I’m going to walk you through this blogger’s story.

You can find today’s show notes over at where I’m going to link to the blog post. I’m going to link to the SlideShare and all of the other things we talked about in this interview.

Before we get into the interview, I just want to take a couple of minutes to just rewind on this series and to recap it because I think it will be really useful to have the exact things that we’ve been talking about in your mind as I talk to this blogger, to Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted.

Back in episode 112, I introduced you to the topic of warming your readers up. I suggested that there are four main stages warming your readers up. First, you need to get their attention. Second, you need to get them interested. Third, you need to get a connection, to get a subscriber. Fourth, you need to get engagement. And then in the following episodes, I walked you through how to do each of those four things.

Episode 113 was all about getting the first eyeball, how to get attention. I suggested using guest content. Not just guest posts but interviews and other types of guest content. I talked about creating shareable content on your blog. I talked about repurposing content. I talked about SEO–Search Engine Optimization not just in Google but other search engines like iTunes in the app store.

Episode 114 was about getting your first-time readers a little bit more hooked into what you’re doing, to get them interested, to look twice at your blog. I suggested a few techniques for getting that second look from people, to get them interested. I talked about making big promises. I talked about differentiating yourself. I talked about creating the fist pump content that gives your readers a quick win. I talked about how to funnel your readers from being first time readers to the right content for them—the relevant content that meets their needs right now using your site’s navigation, using Start Here pages, and using portals. Then I shared some tips on using social proof to make people look twice. That was all episode 114.

Episode 115 was all about getting a connection with your readers, getting them to subscribe. I talked about pop-ups, welcome mats, and other ways to get that first subscriber. I talked about using lead magnets through creating content-specific upgrades, something that you’re going to hear about in the interview that follows. I talked about creating lead magnets and content that create momentum and build anticipation. I talked about cross promoting your different subscribe points whether it be social media or your email.

In the last episode, I talked about deepening engagement with your readers. That’s episode 116. I particularly emphasize how to use onboarding, a sequence of email that gets your readers from being subscribers to engaging with you. Again, in today’s interview, I pick up with Donna on this exact thing. She uses onboarding quite well. I’m going to talk about how to create content that promotes engagement and gives your readers a sense of belonging. I talked about, in episode 114, how to use content events.

You can see we’ve covered a lot of ground over the last four episodes. I would encourage you to go back and listen to them. Now you bookmark them and keep coming back to them when they’re relevant to you.

Today, I want to give you a case study that picks up on many of the strategies that I talked about so that you can see how they come together. At this point, we’ve been talking about these four different areas of getting attention, getting interest, getting the subscribe, then getting the engagement, as if they’re four separate things. They’re actually a lot more interwoven in that when you do them right. Now, you’re going to see an example of how one blogger, Donna from, and how she uses a variety of different tools—blog post, SlideShare, repurposing content, and the onboarding sequence to do the four things that I’ve been talking about.

She’s been incredibly generous with us. She talks about her actual conversion numbers. She talks about the income that she’s generated by the webinar at the end of this series. I want to thank her. I encourage you to check her out over at You can also check out all the links mentioned in today’s podcast over at That’s enough of me talking, I want to get straight into these interviews now. I encourage you to go back and listen to those other podcasts if you need to but let’s get with the interview now with Donna. Thanks for listening.

Hi, Donna. How are you?

Donna: I’m great, thank you. It’s nice to be talking to someone in Australia.

Darren: It is. It’s one of those podcast interviews that I didn’t have to work out time zone conversion or anything like that. It’s nice to chat with you.

Donna: Yeah. We’re actually even the same time, not even daylight saving so it’s very rare.

Darren: It’s very cool, very cool. Thanks for jumping on with me today. I just love that we can finish this series that we’ve been doing on warming readers up with a really practical example. I appreciate you putting forward your case study for us to look at in this way.

Donna: No worries.

Darren: Most people who are listening to this have already been through the episodes preceding this one where I’ve talked about getting people’s attention first and then getting their interest in what you’re doing, getting connection with people, and then getting engagement. I really want to walk through this example that you showed me a month or so ago now of how you’ve walked your readers through this. It’s hard to know where to start because you’ve created this process, a funnel. It looks very complete and very well-thought through. It may have been very well-thought through but it’s hard to know where to start with it.

Maybe if we start with the blog post. I’ve got, “21 pro tips for a packed house,” at your webinar or your live event using visual marketing. It’s a great post in and of itself but not so much interested in the topic itself but more this post itself and how you used this to grab people’s attention in the start of this process. Maybe if you can talk through us a little bit about where did the idea from the post come from and we’ll go from there.

Donna: Sure. I have, over the last couple of years, done a couple of bigger blog posts that worked really well. Probably a couple of years ago, I did a tools blog post, “36 Visual Content Tools that the Pros Can’t Live Without,” or something like that. We did a SlideShare and the SlideShare just went nuts. I learned that if you do one of those big blog posts, you’d be getting lots of people to contribute. Obviously, it does well.

I started to do them before I was promoting something. Even either in my own webinar or formulating a program or promoting even someone’s else’s webinar or something like social media examiner tickets for their events, I started to do a blog post beforehand—at least two to three weeks beforehand. Sometimes not as much if I wasn’t very organized. I was finding that that could drive traffic to whatever I was promoting.

For this one, I was lucky to be asked to be an affiliate by Amy Porterfield, and she only has a handful of affiliates. I went into overdrive. I decided I needed to do one of these—I call them the firecracker blog posts—one of these big blog posts, that’s where it came from. I’ve done a couple leading up to my launch like my program promotions for my visual content program but being handed affiliate for Amy is like being handed a baby. I took it very, very, seriously. That’s why I did a blog post specifically for that.

I had done a lot of promotions for her before and I’d done a similar thing. It was a very natural niche topic. It was very targeted. I knew it wouldn’t be one of the big, big, blog posts that I’ve done. I wasn’t expecting thousands of shares because (a) people had to be interested in doing some sort of an event which is a big deal or a webinar even and (b) they had to be interested in visual marketing. It was going to be very targeted from the start.

Darren: I love that you started with an end in mind. You’ve got this affiliate promotion that you want to do but you winding right back to, “How do I get people in the process? To get them to this webinar?” I guess that was the end result; a webinar with Amy that we’ve got in mind.

Donna: Yeah. Amy’s great on webinar. She converts really well. I just needed to get butts on seats basically which is a lot of the promotion I had around. It was very measured. I needed to get butts on seats, and I was trying to teach people how to butts on seats because if they were interested in that topic then they were going to be interested in what Amy’s going to be talking about which was how to use webinars to get people to be able to look at your content and to buy your programs.

Darren: Great. You’ve got the end in mind. How did you choose exactly what to write about for this blog post? Because it obviously relates to the end that you’ve got in mind but the blog post itself doesn’t mention your endpoint.

Donna: No. I guess it’s priming people to be interested in a topic. To be honest, I had done this a little bit before and Amy talks about it in her training, this idea of she calls it the fill-up formula where you’re getting people to an event via content like this. I like to prime people to be doing two things: they first realize that they have a challenge or there’s something that I want to change or get better at and be just really finding out that there’s a solution–the webinar is the solution at the end of it.

I do give them lots of tips. I knew that if people were interested in the blog post and interested in the content then I could gently market to them about the webinar a bit more than gently.

Darren: Yeah. How long did the post take to create?

Donna: It took a couple of weeks of emailing and collecting information from influencers. I’m pretty lucky. I know a lot of people from speaking. I have a pretty good success rate for blogger outreach. I don’t do a lot of it; I keep it for when I really need it. Usually, I get a yes. Occasionally, someone’s busy. That took a little bit of time to collect info. I’ve got a bit of a system now. I have an assistant that helps me a little bit.

The actual writing, probably, a good part of a day with my procrastination here and there. I’m getting quicker at writing especially when you get content like that. It’s already ready to go. It was the extra bits. I put some images in and optimizing those—all of that. I probably would recommend starting about four weeks out. Giving people to contribute is the biggest drag on time.

Darren: People can find a link to this post in our show notes today. I really would recommend people check it out. I think it’s just a brilliant example of a blog post that is the type of thing that people want to share but also leads to an outcome. Just for those who are listening, who are maybe driving at the moment and can’t visualize it, it’s a long post. It’s 21 tips and each tip has an expert including Amy Porterfield, Kim Garst, even Laney who worked for us at ProBlogger.

Donna: You were too busy, so I went straight for Laney. No, it’s alright. I knew that Laney had done your promo.

Darren: Yeah. She was a good one to talk to in this particular topic. There’s some really big names there. This is certainly a trend we’ve seen over the last few years. Almost like interviews, one question interviews, and then compiling all the answers together. Do you have any tips on how to get people to respond? You obviously have some connections already that you were able to leverage but any thoughts on how someone who maybe doesn’t have those connections could put this type of post together?

Donna: Sure. It’s something I feel quite passionate about. I’m sure you probably get bombarded way more than me with requests. I didn’t see people doing it wrong all the time. I guess I didn’t set out to be able to do these blog posts, but you do have to put in time and make relationships with people, share their content. A lot of these people I’ve been in their programs, their groups,00 they were starting out when I was. We helped each other.

People like Ian Cleary weren’t always speaking at social media marketing world. He was a friend of mine. We discussed and helped each other out. If you’re going to approach people cold, you need to at least show that you’ve been reading their content, maybe commenting on their post, sharing their content, and just interested in what they do. Just show that you’ve done a little bit of research and for goodness sake, get their name right.

It’s easy for me to get some of these guys to contribute. But don’t always look above you to the big A-listers. Just look to the left and right of you because the people to the left and right of you still often have decent size blogs. They’ve got great content and they can contribute. They are experts in their field. I think sometimes people jump straight to the ones that are so busy that they’re going to ignore their emails or just too busy to reply when they’re not necessarily. Definitely, aim high but I also look to the left and the right. The people that you are networking with are great to ask as well. Offer to help them too. That can really help out.

Darren: Yeah. I guess just be aware that people are being bombarded. I’m certainly not the biggest out there but I’m getting two or three requests a day for these types of posts. I’m generally trying to respond to those I know, and I do have a relationship with. It’s really tough to say no to everyone else.

Donna: It is. I’m not very good at that.

Darren: It is tough to do. I take time to put together as well just from the write-up. I guess you’ve got to realize you’re asking someone else to help write your blog post and that takes time.

Donna: The other thing to do is to give them as much information as you can. Say, “I only need one or two sentences. This is the date I need it by.” Don’t send an email saying, “I’m running a blog post. Would you be interested in helping out?” Because then you’ve already started an […].

Darren: One of the things I love about this particular post—this is going a little bit off the side—but the visual-ness of this is great. That’s probably not very good grammar but you’ve embedded stuff into it. It’s got a YouTube clip in it; it’s got embedded social media. Every single person who’s spoken has their picture on there. I think you’ve got an embedded Instagram as well. I think it would help to get people to contribute to the next one as well because anyone who’s contributing—if you show them what you previously done—that may help to build a little bit of social proof but also show you are not just going to copy and paste their answers into a blog post. You’re creating something that’s going to make them look good.

Donna: Definitely. I think the more you make it easy for them to share, if there’s an image about them, I don’t do it for every single post, these are special ones, but they know that I like visual content so they kind of expect it now, but it gives them something that I can share and be proud of. Yeah, it’s much easier for them to share.

Darren: Cool. What do you think the post worked? Did it work? Can you tell us anything about the post, how was it responded to, maybe why do you think it worked?

Donna: Sure. It wasn’t one of the most widely shared posts, but I didn’t expect it to be. As I’ve said before, I was fairly targeted. It was under 1000 shares. Some of the bigger ones I had were between 3000 and 6000 which is pretty good for the little old me. I’m not ProBlogger. It had an impact. Like I said, it was designed for specific types of people interested in specific things.

The reason why I think it went well was (a) it was at list post. As you said in the series, that’s quite a good way to go. At the title, I think I included pro tips, packed webinars. That’s what people want. If they’re going to start webinars, they want to have people there. Like you said, it was very visual. I always have at least one great image to share. I’ve reached a point where when I blog, I had Michael Hyatt say this once, “He takes as much time to look for the image.” I can’t really write until I have a good title image. I think the title image was fun.

We shared quotes from the—obviously, we’d get to that—but we shared quotes from slide deck out to social as well as on Twitter, etc. They could see that the sharing was happening. There’s lots of different ways for people to share. I’ve always had a banner ad on there as well for sign-ups to the webinar, but we’ll get to that and to some other things on there. Yeah, I think they were the main things. Because there was a cheat sheet on it, we had a quick win for people.

Darren: From my perspective, it’s one of those meaty comprehensive posts even though each of the tips was quite light, they didn’t go into great depth for each person—it was in paragraph or so—but there was a sense of about 21 tips that’s quite comprehensive. Like you said, the least post is visually appealing. The social proof when we talked about social proof in this series using other people’s images and what they say can bring social proof. Whilst this one didn’t really say anything about you directly, it wasn’t talking about, “Donna Moritz and what she’s talking about,” the fact that these people talked to you brings some social proof as well which helps as well.

I think a great example for people to look at to help get those eyeballs. I think the post itself does more than get the eyeball; it’s got enough meat to it that it gets people to that next level of being interested in who you are and who’s behind this as well which is great.

Donna: I’m very honored that you liked it.

Darren: No, it’s fantastic. I’ve used that as an example in a couple of talks now already as what people could do. The other part of this post is towards the bottom of it I think there is the SlideShare. You have taken the content and repurposed it. We’ve talked about repurposing as part of this series. I thought this was a fascinating example. We’ll include a link to the SlideShare. I’ve run SlideShare, but you’ll find it in the blog post itself. You’ve got 32 slides there taking quotes from those who responded. Again, there’s that social proof in there. Maybe tell us a little bit about why SlideShare? Why did you use it? Maybe some tips on how to do it—what you did in this case?

Donna: Sure. Everyone has a funnel and it might start with a blog post. It always […] and then the social would direct to the blog post as well. With the ultimate aim of usually email subscribers or whatever you’re aiming for whether it’s webinar signups. Three years ago, I think it was before I spoke at ProBlogger event, I did a slide deck, it went really well. Then I did a second one and I put a cheat sheet on the blog post that it was leading to. I just checked the other day, at the time that I did it, around the time that it was really active, we had 700 subscribers on the cheat sheet which is a lot for me. 

Since then, we’ve had 1000. It’s not only doing well at that time. I had a webinar I was doing. I had banner ads and I had a cheat sheet. It’s got longevity. It’s still driving traffic. I knew that SlideShare not only was a great visual piece of content that you could repurpose, but it also actually drives not only traffic but subscribers that are interested. People say, “Don’t worry about SlideShare. It’s B2B. It’s very targeted.” But I find that the actual product that you end up can share really well on Twitter, it can share really well on Pinterest because the slide deck from SlideShare will open up in the news feed. It doesn’t matter if the person is a SlideShare user. It just means that you can share it really well everywhere else. People that aren’t even on SlideShare can benefit from seeing the content.

That’s where you get a lot of the viewers. One slide deck has had 150,000 views or something. Since then I’ve done 11 and they’ve all done recently well. They’ve all been featured by SlideShare and I’ve had almost 500,000 views of my SlideShare presentation. I can’t ignore the fact that eyeballs, as you said, eyeballs on content. If I’m doing a really big firecracker blog post, I take it to the next level, and add something else in whether it’s an infographic or slide deck. I’ve been a little obsessed with SlideShare for the last couple of years. That’s why I’ve been using that mainly. I sort of create them at the same time now.

Darren: You’re creating your blog post, creating the SlideShare pretty much at the same time. The SlideShare is driving traffic to your blog post but also, they’re qualified leads. You’re also using the slides in your blog post as well. I just don’t know the way to get that content across.

Donna: It gets the views up on SlideShare. It goes in reverse, I guess. They might go through the SlideShare, click through, and see some of my other decks as well. I have someone help me create the slide decks. I’ve done a few myself. I like doing them. The bigger ones I now have a girl that works for me and she does them. I pretty much write the blog post and then send it. As I’m writing it, I send her the content, she gets started. I’m quite involved in all the photos that we use and everything. I’m trying to keep my hands off it. That’s the plan. You can use templates. It doesn’t have to be a designer […].

Darren: A lot of the most successful SlideShares that I’ve seen are pretty much very simple. A lot of them are just nice images with a nice few words on them as well. I’ve seen SlideShare do really well that are plain, with just texts on them as well. A lot of it can be about the title whether it’s a good topic, whether it’s got a benefit in it, pretty much like any content. You can go the extra mile with beautiful visuals as well.

Donna: You’ve hit the nail in the head. The big thing about it, you give attention to the cover because that’s what’s going to catch attention. Just remember, there’s no presenter, so each slide should really encourage people to click through and give enough information. You’re not there talking at the same time. They can’t get all that extra context. Yeah, keep it simple. You want people to click through. You want them to want to know what’s on the next page.

Darren: You linked from your SlideShare to the blog post. I think it was at least two or three times throughout it. You hinted at the fact that you had a cheat sheet on the blog post as well.

Donna: Yeah. You need to have some sort of call to action. If it’s a short deck or 10 or 15 slides, you will only need to put it at the end. But because it was a longer one, I usually put at least one in the middle. If it’s a really long one like 50 slides, I do two. You can do paid leads with SlideShare. I’m not knocking that, I’m sure it’s great, I just like to do things a little bit more organically. I always have like, “Get more information,” in some way. Like, “Get the full script,” or whatever I write. Something like Read More, click to the Read More. Then they’re being led to the blog post. I also say, “…and download the free cheat sheet, tools list,” or whatever it is.

To be honest, the first one I did that was really great was actually 36 tools. All we did was summarize the top five which anyone could really work that out. I had a thousand people download a cheat sheet with the five tools that they could really have worked out. That has helped. People want to know the easy way.

Darren: I love it. I particularly love the fact that you’re driving people across with the intent of getting the cheat sheet. The fact that the blog post itself was even more useful than the slides. They’re really wanting the cheat sheets, so those are qualified leads. Can you give us any stats on how that particular deck went? I think what I’m seeing on SlideShare at the moment is 21,000 views of it. That’s pretty amazing.

Donna: Yeah. Normally, my top traffic drivers would be Facebook and Twitter. SlideDeck jumps to the top as soon as I do that. I think it would probably see the webinar signups with the biggest key for that one. Interestingly enough, we had Facebook ads running. I’ve had good success with them. I’ve had someone help me. The Facebook ads just bummed for the webinar that I was doing for Amy. We probably got about a little less than half than what we would usually get. Even my Facebook ad expert was like, “I don’t know what’s going on.” We had two people look at it. It was just one of those one-off cases where it just wasn’t clicking.

I was relying on social media. We had 300 subscribers to that piece, that content upgrade or that cheat sheet for the webinar, for the 21 Pro Tips, the webinar tips. Usually, I would get 300-1000 or so for a cheat sheet. It was lower. The sales on the actual webinar that I did worked out about 28,000 Australian. It was massive. I tracked back and I could see that we got traffic from SlideShare and we got traffic from social media. If I wasn’t promoting on social media—and obviously my list as well—normally we would rely a bit on ads, that’s probably a huge affiliate promotion for me.

Darren: For most of us, I think. I don’t know too many people and not back that kind of money. 

Donna: I remember feeling really down the time that we didn’t have as many on the webinar as we normally would. I think even just follow-up, a lot of that traffic was still coming through the follow-up. Most of these content upgrades I’ve had between 300 and 1000 downloads of them. I think even 300 is a good amount of people that are interested in a particular topic. I think that was the key. I could also follow up with emails to those people specifically.

Darren: That’s great. Any last tips on SlideShare or why you think that particular deck did well?

Donna: Yes. It was fun. It had a theme. We did a Vaudeville kind of show time theme. The title was good. Each page clicks through as you go to the next page. It was telling a story. Even the cheat sheet was done in a fun way. We said, “Do you want the backstage pass?” For the backstage pass, we just used terminology that was fun but around the particular theme, so the whole thing was around events.

The other key with getting seen on SlideShare is that I made sure it was Tweeted out from the actual slide deck. When you tweet from the slide deck from SlideShare, it tags the SlideShare team. They are watching on Twitter all the time; there’s two or three different Twitter accounts. They showcase different slide decks all the time. Even if you can get the SlideShare of the day, you can get a featured SlideShare, or an editor’s pick, there’s lots of different ways that they feature you.

Facebook and Twitter don’t do that but SlideShare does. I think it’s just great. There’s lots of different ways. They can Tweet out about you. They featured me as well. That’s why that was a little bit higher, that 20,000. Even when I haven’t been featured once or twice, it’s been about 5000 shares. It’s still pretty significant.

Darren: Yeah. Again, a great example of repurposing content to help you get the extra eyeballs but also to create content to make your blog post more interesting. If you use social proof as well, you’ve created something that I suspect the influencer featured would want to be sharing because it’s beautiful as well. You’re going above and beyond what I’ve ever seen in one of these expert roundup posts. You’re creating something that they want to participate in. Really, a great way of getting the eyeball but also getting interested in building some anticipation for their content upgrade which is what I want us to talk about now.

The actual lead magnet, the content upgrade, and this is one of the things we’ve been talking about in the series. I’m encouraging people to try and go beyond just having a site wide opt-in for their blog. One e-book that appears on every page, you created an upgrade specifically for this blog post. I’m presuming you can use this opt-in anywhere else on your blog.

Donna: No.

Darren: I encourage people to go and signup. I think it’s still available on the blog post. You can go and join Donna’s list. I encourage you to do that. We’ll talk about what you’ll get in that in a minute as well. The lead magnet, the content upgrade, talks us a little bit through your choice of what to do with that. You’ve chosen to do a cheat sheet. Why did you choose that format?

Donna: Like I said, I did look at cheat sheets two or three years ago on the big one that worked well. Since then, everyone’s been talking about content upgrades. Ian Cleary said, “You got to do this. It’s great.” Amy obviously does them every podcast with her podcast that she does. I know that they work.

I’ve done an e-book back when I was a bit green. I’ve done a video series. I can’t remember who said it, it might’ve been with Derek Halpern, I can’t remember but somebody said, or maybe it was the Leadpages guys. I think it was Leadpages. They did all this research on different types of opt-in freebies or download. They found that the one-page cheat sheet is the best. It converts best because people just want to be able to have something actionable that I can get a quick win on. And I don’t really always have the time to watch videos or read e-books. A lot of them have been one page. This one in particular was a bit longer. Again, it was probably just me trying to make sure I gave value before such a big webinar. It paid off, I guess.

I like the cheat sheet. I think people just resonate with it better. I think the key is how you follow up because sometimes people think, “Oh, this is going to get a free cheat sheet. I’m not going to be interested in what you’ve got to say afterwards.”

My mistake over a couple of years was not actually following up. They would download it and then that was it. You’re probably going to annoy them if you’re going to market a webinar later or you’re just sending a newsletter or whatever. I started to switch that and give them a bit more value in the emails afterwards. I think the cheat sheet is very effective.

Darren: Yeah, for sure. I love the fact that it’s kind of a minimum, viable, product. It’s probably one of the easiest opt-ins to create. They’re not completely easy; you can put a lot of time and energy into making them great. But in comparison to a video series, my goodness. If they’re converting at the same rate as that video series, you’d want a pretty compelling reason to do the videos. There may be a good reason because that may help people, move people, to where you can make an offer. The cheat sheet obviously works as well.

Any practical tips on what tools to use? Do you have someone helping with that? Anything practical you can give for advice on creating your first cheat sheet?

Donna: I used to use Photoshop very badly. That’s what I use. Then I went to […] I just used Canva. If you’re not familiar with design art, I mean, I did them from scratch. I’ve made up a template now. You can just use their templates. They’ve got four templates for PDFs and things in there. To be honest, if you’re not savvy, here’s a really good tip, go to your designer and get a template design. If you think you’re going to do a whole bunch of these, get something designed with maybe a logo or just some cool branding. Leave space in the middle. All you have to do is add the text in the photos. Then you could do a whole series of them. That’s what we’ve done in Canva. If you’re not really great with design, then just get a designer to do you a one-off that you can reuse over and over. That will be great.

Darren: We’ve done that exact thing using templates. It cuts down so much work. Yeah, you are investing into something, but you are investing into something you can use over and over again which is great. How do you decide what to put in the blog post and what to put in the opt-in? Is that something you’ve ever struggled to work through?

Donna: Yeah. What I’ve learned is with the blog post give tips and then go deeper into the cheat sheets in some ways. It might be that you’re giving the top five tools which might sound a bit easy but that was what people liked. Or in this one, we’ve had lots of tips from the experts. Then I went deeper into some of those. Amy Porterfield talked about a couple of tips and then her tips went deeper in the actual PDF.

What I’m actually talking about with you today is actually in that PDF. Some of the, “How to do the firecracker blog post, the SlideShare, and things like that.” I went deeper. I try to keep that content behind an email but the blog post itself, people could get great value from. Try to go deeper in something even in just one part of something. 

This cheat sheet for this blog post is probably a little bit too detailed even. I could turn it into five cheat sheets, but you learn.

Darren: Yeah. I think there’s something to be said for generosity in your opt-in as well. You don’t want to overwhelm people with too much. That was one of the things we’ve done without it. In my most recent opt-in, I was going to deliver 180 blog post ideas, I thought that’s too much to really be able to use so I turned it into a series of six. I started dripping it out. That might be a bit frustrating for some of our readers who want the whole lot, but I think they’ll use it more if you break it down.

Donna: Actually, I was in the car the other day. I wished I had a pen. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I’m listening to one of the episodes. Just having three or four things you can takeaway is great.

Darren: Yeah, for sure. I think Ian does it well with his opt-ins in summarizing his blog post and giving a PDF version of it. It doesn’t need to be completely new even. I talked to him the other day at Social Media Marketing World and he said, “That approach works really well as well.”

Donna: I think it’s just a quick win for them and easy for you in trying to find the sweet spot. 

Darren: Just to summarize this part here, I guess for me, and you’ll see this as you download this particular opt-in, I encourage you to go and do that. The opt-in builds on the blog post. It’s a great design. It is comprehensive. It’s generous. It’s nine pages long, I think, when I looked at it the other day. I don’t think it’s too long. I don’t think it’s so overwhelming that you just wouldn’t be able to apply for it.

It has quick wins on it, really practical examples. It suggests some tools to use. For me, as I looked at it, it was just a generous thing. It’s probably beyond the cheat sheet in my mind. I think people would appreciate that and that really warms them up. This is really what we’re talking about here, it’s getting the connection. We’ve got their attention; we’ve got them interested. This is about getting the connection, but it also takes on that next little step of impressing them which I think opens us up to an engagement which is the next step.

Let’s move on to what happens after they opt-in for you. I know you’ve got the webinar in mind, but you’ve also got a really nice onboarding sequence. We talked about onboarding in the last episode. Do you want to run us through what happens after they subscribe?

Donna: Yeah, sure. There are two levels at which people would come in. Normally, they’d come in, either they’re cultural webinar ads or something, or the cheat sheet or something like that—some sort of content. Some people just signup from my blog to sign up for my insider updates which is my newsletter basically. It goes up roughly once a week; sometimes, not always. 

I was terrible at doing onboarding sequences. I didn’t even know what that was. I’ve always had an email saying, “Tell me your biggest challenge.” Then follow-up with another email on what to expect. I never really thought of doing a sequence. Again, some of the people I’ve mentioned have all suggested this including my […] expert, Diana. She’s like, “You’ve got to do this.” What I have now is if they’re just signing-up for my newsletter, they get a welcome email. Actually, all of the content upgrades usually I sort of ask this as well, “What is their biggest challenge when it comes to creating visual content or social media?” Some of them are slightly different.

I set up expectations of what will follow. I tell them what to expect from my emails, that they’re going to get a few tip emails after this and then they’ll get my newsletter. I’ll let them know about any upcoming events and webinars. I’ve added that in because I don’t want them to feel like I’m just suddenly out of the blue saying, “Oh, I’ve got a webinar on.”

Of all these series of emails now, there’s two or three emails that they get value from before they’re nicely moved over to my newsletter sequence. Unless they’re on a particular sequence of emails then that’s where they’ll get the basic content from me. I really enjoyed doing it. That question has been great. I struggle keeping up with the replies, but I do try and get them all eventually. It’s like an ongoing survey. We’re going to get better at analyzing it because the responses are amazing.

Darren: Yeah. I used the example in the last episode of […] onboarding sequence. I asked questions as well. I think you share a consultant, you mentioned.

Donna: Yes. We’ve all been made to do this.

Darren: Yes. She told me that she gets a lot of responses. You don’t want to ask that question unless you’re willing to get the responses, I guess. I actually took the idea and did it in my last newsletter. I just wrote in my last newsletter with, “Tell me about your biggest pain and your biggest dream of blogging.” I had probably 400 or 500 responses in 24 hours. Our listeners are probably bigger than some, but I was amazed at what people told me. Right from the typical responses that I expected through the incredibly personal responses. When you ask for someone’s biggest pain, they tell you. That’s a real privilege that helps you to get to know your audience incredibly. There’s also responsibility to be at a response there as well.

Donna: Yeah. I have fallen behind a bit with those. I am responding to a lot of them. I did put in that, “Sometimes we get a little bit swamped with these so please bear with me. I will get to it eventually. Please know that this is really important. Your response has been so really helpful for me to create content.” I try to let them know that even if I don’t get back to them, it is helpful. It will come back to them in terms of content. Cass and Craig do great on onboarding. I’m subscribed to their list. They’re very personable with it.

There’s a book called Asked. Have you heard of the book Asked? Brian Levick, I think is how you say his name. I heard him being on Twitter with Pat Flynn. I think it was him that said, “The questions that you get—the really long responses—they’re your ideal customers because they’re responding.” It might be a lot to go through but the one-way answers or the short answers aren’t necessarily going to be the first people that will buy when you launch a product. I take note of who gives long responses.

Darren: One of the things I’ve started paying attention to when I get those types of questions is the exact wording that has been used as well because that can give you great ideas for your titles for blog posts. Particularly, sales copy if you’re selling anything. To be able to use the words of your readers rather than yours. It just teaches you their language, it teaches you what they’re searching for, it teaches you how they would express the problem that they have which is really fascinating as well.

Donna: We did that the last time. We actually pulled some out and put it into a sales page. It just felt like you were talking in a much better way too.

Darren: Yeah. I took all those hundreds of responses and put them into a spreadsheet then handed them over to Stacy and said, “We need to write content on these things.” We just came up with our next series of content. The onboarding is really good there—ask questions, you’re generous again, you’re linking back to the PDFs. I think, from memory, you give away a number of PDFs in your emails.

Donna: Yeah. My onboarding sequence was never great. I was looking at Cass’s going, “Oh, I got to do that.” Since we’re all being trained the same way. What I did was I decided to reboot that. I added in just a couple of little cheat sheets that I actually just repurposed from my program like a shorter version of what’s in my program. One was just a tools checklist and the other one was just like a visual content check—just checking how you’re using visual content if there’s anything going well or not aging well and how to do some more. Just two PDFs during that process.

I did write down the open rates. We’ve talked about it. On that, just a general newsletter sequence, not necessarily the cheat sheet we’ve been talking about but just from signing up from my newsletter, the first email gets 70% open rate, the second is 60% and the third is 48%.

Darren: Yeah, which is pretty amazing. I was talking to someone the other day and I told him, “We get 20% on a newsletter.” He couldn’t believe it.

Donna: My newsletter, on average, is around 25%. Obviously, I’m smaller than you. It’s easy when you’re smaller. Generally, most of my onboarding emails, I had a look this morning, they might start at around 50%, 60%, and obviously that one’s up to 70% and it dropped back down to maybe about 35%-45% at the most. That’s the lowest they go. I think it’s way more than what it was before.

Darren: Yeah. You’re obviously building some expectation there with your subscribers which is great.

Donna: That’s the other thing, they learn how to click. They learn how to open your account.

Darren: That’s right. I think giving those PDFs, it’s giving them something that’s not just a blog post, it’s something that they download–there’s a perceived value around that type of thing as well.

Donna: And it’s a surprise. They don’t expect that. I like to throw in one occasionally.

Darren: Generosity is great. Let’s move on to the last stage here. You’ve got the webinars. I can’t remember exactly when I signed onto your newsletter list. It may just happen that you are running a webinar at that time or it may be a regular thing that you do. We haven’t got time to go fully into webinars right now, but I know I get a lot of questions about webinars from our readers. I’d just love to get some feedback on what impact had webinars had on your business. Why do you continue to do them?

Donna: I’m not super comfortable on camera—face the camera—but I really love teaching. I do a bit of both but the place that I feel really comfortable is doing a webinar. I like the interaction. I like the way that I can provide really good content. I’m getting better at the sales part of the end. I’m just really honest to people and say, “I’m going to show you a program at the end.” Recently, I had a webinar where our internet just went right down in the middle of it. I was like, “Here we go. I’m just going to watch people leave.” They could still see my slides but not me. It was GoToWebinar. I don’t know what happened. They all still stayed. I had over 100 people stay on saying, “We like the slides.”

I just like that interaction with people. It has been successful. I’m getting better at them. I’m not an expert by any means. Due to Amy’s course, we learned a whole lot more when we’re doing the promotion. There can be a great way to connect with people, provide value, and hopefully sell some programs. It has been my main way of selling programs. I have an evergreen program as well. The thing is that I’d love to do more of them and more regularly, I think. I think that there are good options if you want to connect better with your community. I know you’ve done it too.

Darren: Yeah. We’ve put pause on a while. I’ve got the podcast up and running. I think there’s something missing. The podcast is very intimate, very personal, but it’s not interactive. The thing I love about the webinar purely as an engagement tool, not even thinking about the selling, it’s obviously good for selling but we run them as part of the ProBlogger community when that was live last year.

Whilst I didn’t get a heap of attendance, that was one of the frustrations we had, the people who came felt like they had a conversation with you. I think that’s a great tool. I’m starting to see people do them now on Facebook live which gives you that interaction, but it doesn’t give you the email address which is probably important if you want to do a selling type of element to it as well.

Donna: Yeah. A friend of mine saw the other day online that you can now present from your screen […] technology. I think for closed groups, I’ve got a big Facebook group that’s got about two-and-a-half thousand people, that’s my free group and I’ve got member groups. Just to be able to do them in most groups is really valuable, not necessarily selling anything, but just to be able to check in and do those trainings I think is really beneficial.

Darren: Thanks so much. I just think this is a perfect end to this series. You’ve talked about creating blog posts using SlideShare to get the eyeballs, to generate interest. You’ve given us a great example of how to create a cheat sheet that gets the connection. Then you’ve taken us generously through your onboarding sequence which is still a work in progress as they all are for everyone. Then the webinar.

I guess in some ways, the webinar kind of neatly ends this series because we haven’t talked a whole heap about monetizing. We’ve taken people unaware of us to engage about how we sustain ourselves. Obviously, the webinar is one way to sell something either of their own or someone else’s. I really appreciate you taking us through that.

Have you got anything you wanted to say that you haven’t said yet that you want to leave for our readers?

Donna: Sure. There are a couple of things. One, I wish I had done all of these earlier. I procrastinated. Once you write the emails, it’s not that hard. You sit down and you write it. Then they go out to thousands of people in months and months. You can update them and edit them easily. It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it. You can change them. It doesn’t have to be perfect. For me, learning to track things more. I’m just starting to use UTM tracking even just having this discussion with you, I was like, “Oh.” And just even going back and looking at some of this stuff like I wasn’t really consciously looking at my open rates and then I went, “Well, this has been really effective.

That would be my recommendation: learn how to track things better and focus on email subscribers, focus on loving them a little bit more. I probably have been guilty of neglecting them at times. They’re your best asset and the most valuable part of your whole business. I’m just very honored to have been asked to speak to you today. I think it’s been very enlightening for me as well.

Darren: Good. Sometimes, it’s being asked the questions just makes you, like going back to some of those stats that we recently went back through all of our email lists, worked out which email list generated the most sales, and put a value on each of the people on each of the list. It was fascinating. We had this list that was highly profitable and lists that were not profitable at all. Just doing those simple exercises can be really profound. Maybe we should interview every one of our readers just to make them go back and look at their stats.

Donna: I know. It’s been interesting. Even just listening to the first episode or two, I had so many ideas. You can never stop learning.

Darren: I’m sure you’ve given our listeners many ideas today. Where can people find you? We will be linking to you in the show notes but let us know where can we find you? What do you have that could benefit them?

Donna: You’ve already given the cheat sheets. Obviously, they can just sign up anywhere on my website at I’ve got various side bars and opt-ins to join the newsletters and they’ll get the sequence. I just do an insider update every week or so with a new tool, a new tip, and a latest blog post. It’s fairly actionable. I also have a video series which is pretty packed with content and it’s helpful. That’s at That’s a three-part video series all about creating visual content even if you’re not a designer.

Darren: That’s what I love about what you do. It’s all stuff that even I can do. It’s visual content. Your Facebook group is great as well. They should be joining that for sure.

Donna: If you just Google “visual content creators” that’s the best way to find it but it’s groups/videocontentcreators. I consider myself a crash test dummy for visual content. In that group, it’s just people that are very, very, supportive. We have an engaging post every day. We have a challenge every now and then to create visuals. It’s quite a great group. There’s a lot of valuable information there.

Darren: Yeah. It’s one of the better groups that I’m in. […] these days, but I definitely think it’s one of the better ones.

Donna: Yeah. It’s good fun.

Darren: Great.

Donna: Thank you very much.

Darren: Thanks, Donna. I really appreciate you joining us today. We will include all those links in today’s show notes. Thanks so much.

Donna: Thanks. I appreciate it. Have a great day.

Darren: You too.

I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast as much as I enjoyed creating it. I picked up a few things even as I was talking to Donna that I’m going to give a go myself. Particularly, the next time I do an affiliate promotion, I think the sequence that she just presented for us really would work very well for an affiliate promotion or a launch of your own products. I hope it’s helpful for you.

You can find today’s show notes over at where we will link to all of today’s links mentioned to the blog post, to the SlideShare. We may even embed that SlideShare into those show notes so you can see it there, and also all of Donna’s link and her resources she’s got for you.

Thanks so much for listening. I appreciate you listening particularly through this miniseries that we’ve been working through. I look forward to chatting with you in episode 118. To make sure you get it, please do subscribe to us over on iTunes or Stitcher or subscribe to the ProBlogger plus newsletter which will be linked to today’s show as well. Thanks for listening. I’ll chat with you soon.

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