Embedded Content Challenge

Today, I want to give you a challenge to create a certain type of content. This is in the vein of our blogging groove challenge which we did about six weeks ago.


I’ve just returned from the ProBlogger Event, and I am inspired. I received a lot of listener feedback about how the podcast has helped listeners and how the challenge series have had a positive impact on listeners.

I hope to do one challenge a month. Instead of completing the content in 24 hours, I would like to give you seven days to complete the challenge.

The new challenge is to create a piece of content that features embeddable content. Then share it on our facebook challenge group.  

Further Resources 

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Hey there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 152 of the ProBlogger podcast where today I want to issue you with a challenge to create a certain type of piece of content in the vein of our Blogging Groove Challenge which we did about six weeks ago.

Before I tell you about today’s challenge which I know many of you are looking forward to and have been asking for, I want to just let you know that the ProBlogger event just finished in the last few days. I’m just back from it, I’m feeling both excited and exhausted. Most of my team are as well, but mainly excited and mainly inspired. I’m probably going to do an episode in the coming weeks on some of the themes of the event because there were quite a few themes that many of the speakers really referred to without us really coordinating those messages at all.

Today, I want to just mention one thing that I noticed. One of the most common things I heard at the event this year was about this podcast. We did have quite a few tracks on podcasting at the event this year. I was amazed how many listeners of this podcast there are. I see the stats everyday and I know that we’ve had close to 1.6 million downloads over the years but it’s kind of nice to hear the voices of people who listen to the podcast because you hear mine everyday. It was really nice. Quite a few people told me they actually came to the event because they found ProBlogger through the podcast and that was really nice to hear. I often wondered how do people come to ProBlogger and was the podcast bringing new readers in. I knew it was reaching existing readers, so it was nice to see some new readers coming in. People typing into iTunes search terms and using iTunes as a search engine, that was a nice reminder to me. Also, people who found me through interviews that I’ve done on other people’s podcast. That was interesting to me.

Quite a few people told me about certain episodes that have brought about real change in their blogging. One of the things I did notice was that many people told me that it was the series of challenges that we’ve run that really have had a big impact. The most recent one, the Blogging Groove Challenge that we did back in Episode 137 forward. It was quite a few of you who really benefitted from that.

One of the old series that we did, in fact the first series that I did back in the first episodes, 31 Days to Build A Better Blog, was something that quite a few people said that they’ve been going back to and doing again and again. I thought it might be worth just mentioning that early series that I did on this particular podcast because I know many of you have not started working your way backwards and through the episodes, the most recent ones. Right at the beginning of the podcast, I did do 31 episodes in 31 days and was all about issuing challenges. They weren’t just content related challenges like the Blogging Groove Challenge, some of them were challenges to find readers, to build community on your blog, and to think strategically about your blog as well. If you did miss those episodes, it’s there, you can do it anytime, just go back to the start of our episodes in iTunes, if you listen in iTunes or any of the other podcast players. Or, you can go over to problogger.com/podcast/31days. There, I have outlined the full series, you can actually listen to them all on that particular page, I’ve got a playlist there for you.

I just wanted to mention that because I know many of you are newer listeners and may have not seen that we’ve done that 31 day challenge. Thanks for listening, thanks to those of you who were at the event and came up and told me about where you listen to me. I had someone who said that they trained for a marathon while listening to me the whole way which I just wish I got some benefit out of that myself because out of the exercise you did, I had other people telling me about the fact that they listen to me with their kids in their cars, listen to me at the gym, listen to me in the shower, in bed falling asleep at night, all kinds of stories which always amuses me.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I’m going to give you a challenge now so stay tuned. It’s been about six weeks since we’ve finished the Blogging Groove Series which if you missed it was a week long series of daily challenges where I issued you with a challenge everyday to write a certain type of content and then to come and share it in our Facebook group which is called the ProBlogger Challenge Group if you want to search for it on Facebook. It’s a private group so you need to apply to join and I will approve your joining of that within a day usually.

I wanted to continue the challenge because we’ve got over 1700 of you in that group now and probably the most common thing I’m asked by people in it is when is the next challenge. I probably won’t do them daily, I know I won’t do them daily. They probably won’t even be weekly but I do want to do at least one challenge every month. One of the things I want to change up this time is instead of you having to do your piece of content within 24 hours, I want to give you seven days to complete the challenge. You don’t have to really rush it, hopefully it will let you create a piece of thoughtful content, craft that piece of content to really serve your readers.

For those of you who didn’t do the Blogging Groove Challenge, I nominate the type of post and you go away and choose a topic and create that content that’s going to be relevant to your readers, and then you go to the ProBlogger Challenge Group and then you share your piece of content. That way, you’re not only creating a good piece of content but you are hopefully getting a few visitors to it as well. We really do encourage you to visit what other people in that group are producing, comment, like, share if it’s relevant to your audience.

The challenge of today is to create a piece of content that features embeddable content on it. Embeddable content is what we want you to put in your blog post today. There’s a few different ways that you can tackle this and I want to give you a little bit of a background. I have done a podcast in the past on this particular topic. If you do want to dig deeper into the topic, I will link to that in the show notes. The reason I want to issue this challenge today is that as I was preparing for one of the talks that I was doing at ProBlogger Event, it was a talk I gave on finding readers for your blog. I did some analysis of the most shared pieces of content on Digital Photography School.

One of the things I noticed as I did that analysis was that over the last 12 months, some of the most shared pieces of content that we have published were actually posts where we embedded some curated pieces of content. These are pieces of content that other people had created but had made available to embed. We took the embed code, put it onto our site, gave the people credit, and those were some of our most popular pieces of content.

One example that I’ll give you was a piece of content, a post that we published back in April. It was called How to Cut Out the Subject from the Background in Photoshop. It was a Photoshop type post. You don’t really need to understand the post except to say that you can go and look at it. It was a relatively simple post, it was only 232 words long. Darlene, our editor, posted it in April this year. She basically, as you look at that post, you’ll see that she had a couple of introductory paragraphs introducing the topic of using Photoshop to cut out a subject from its background. Then, there’s a video which illustrates how to do it. After the video, there’s a little bit more content written expanding upon some of the ideas in the video and linking to some further reading on our site which I think is really important. I’ll talk about that in a moment. After that, there’s a second video which illustrates how to do it. Someone else’s video.

Both of the videos in this piece of content were produced by different people and they were nothing to do with Digital Photography School, my site. None of my team created them, we just found them on YouTube or Darlene found them on YouTube after probably identifying the topic she wanted to do a post about and then she went hunting on YouTube for useful videos on that topic. She ended the post with a couple of questions to our readers to get them commenting.

It’s a very simple post, it’s a short post. The vast majority of the post is really content that other people have created. This might seem a little bit lazy but it turns out that this is the third most shared piece of content that we’ve produced over the last 12 months on Digital Photography School. There are plenty of other posts in our archives that have done similar type of things. We do this type of post once a week. We do 14 posts a week, one of them is always a video that we found on YouTube.

The vast majority of YouTube videos allow you to embed posts on your blog. Some video creators don’t allow it but everyone else does. The reason that they allow it to be embedded on any blog or any other site is that it gets them more views to their video. It helps them to grow their profile and it can even grow their revenue if they’re running ads on the videos.

The reason I like to do it is that it’s a relatively easy piece of content to produce. If the videos are good videos like the ones that I’ve just mentioned, it actually benefits our readers as well. We get a lot of our readers saying thanks for finding that video, would’ve never found it, would’ve never learned this without this. The other reason I like video is that it appeals to a different type of reader. We don’t tend to produce our own videos, most of our content is written content. It gets a different type of content in front of your readers. It’s a win for the video producer, it’s a win for you as a blogger, and it’s a win for your readers. I like win, win, win kind of scenarios.

In our case, we’re looking for videos that are educational, that are actionable content, and that help our readers improve some aspect of their photography. That is not every blogger. You may try and find content, might be video, might be something else that taps into the style of blog that you have. There’s plenty of videos out there that are more inspirational for example, if you’re more of an inspirational blog. There’s plenty of videos out there that tell stories. If you’re a storytelling blog, there’s plenty of videos that are entertaining, more newsworthy, more opinion related. I guess it’s about trying to match the video or the content that you’re going to embed into your piece of content with the style of blog that you have.

As we’re looking at videos, I’m going to get onto some other types of content that you might embed as well. We try and always find a quality piece of content. We’re always looking for videos that are not overly promotional. We do want the video creator to get some benefit out of it as well, they put in the work to create the video. Sometimes, YouTube videos can be so full of ads and self promotion, big long intros, more about something else than the actual topic. We tend to avoid those types of videos. We’re trying to find videos that are really actionable, that aren’t too self promotional, and that don’t contain big calls to action to buy stuff, that type of thing.

The reason that we do that is that even though we want the video creator to get some benefit out of it, if they’re too salesy, that comes off on our brand as well. Sometimes, our readers think we’re being salesy if there’s too much sales sort of stuff in the video. Just be a little bit careful about what you do embed. You want it to align with your brand is what I’m saying there.

YouTube is of course a very good place to find embeddable content. Most of the videos there are embeddable. Other video sites also like Vimeo might be worth looking at to find pieces of content, you often get a slightly different style of video there. Video isn’t the only type of content that you might want to embed. In fact, there are many things that you can do in today’s challenge. You may even want to include a few types of embeddable content in your post.

Back in Episode 97, I talk quite extensively about embeddable content. You might want to go back and listen to that particular episode after this one if you’re struggling, you want some more ideas. As I mentioned in that episode, there are 17 types of content that you might want to embed on your blog. I’ll go through that list really quickly in a moment.

Just a couple of benefits of using this type of content. Firstly, it can, if you choose good content to embed, increase the usefulness of your site, it can appeal to different learning styles and personality types if you choose a different style of content. It shows your readers that you’re willing not only to promote yourself but someone else in your industry and that you’re connected, you can almost borrow some of the influence of other people if you choose a video from someone who is quite well known. That can rub off on you in some ways. It can add different voices and opinions and experiences to your blog, different perspectives which I think is really great.

One of the big benefits is that it increases the amount of time that people are on your site. If you have a three or four or five minute video, your readers are sitting on your site for that five whole minutes. That gets them looking around your site as they’re watching the video, it just keeps people on your site that little bit longer. One of the side benefits of that is that it can help with search engine optimization as well. The longer time on page is a signal to Google to rank your site higher. It’s also one of the factors in Facebook as well. If you get people visiting from a Facebook link to your site and they’re staying on your site for a long time, that’s a signal to Facebook that they’re engaged. Time and page can be quite good.

There’s a few different types of embeddable content that you might want to consider today. Video is perhaps the most common one but you could also use slides from SlideShare and go have a look there for content that relates to your niche. There’s usually some pretty good content. You can embed Facebook updates that you’ve done or that someone else has done, you can even embed tweets. One of the techniques that I’ve used in the past is to ask a question on Twitter and then to take the answers of my readers and embed those answers into content which can be quite useful or shoot some influences in your niche and tweets saying hey, I’ve got this question, could you answer it? And then embed the responses from those influencers.

You can embed audio files, you can embed cartoons using sites like Andertoons. You can embed live streaming replays. If you do a Facebook Live, you can take that video and embed it on your site. You can embed Instagram pictures, you can embed slideshows of pictures from photo sharing sites like Flickr. You can embed infographics, bookmarks from Pinterest, Google Maps or Google Earth. You can embed polls and quizzes from sites like Quizzer, mind maps from Mindmeister, google docs, podcasts, a variety of different podcast players and animated gifs from Giphy.

They’re just some of the types of content that you could be embedding into your site today. The key is to make it useful, to ensure the quality is high.

The other thing I’ll mention, you’ll notice this in the post that I mentioned earlier, that Photoshop post, one of our most shared pieces of content. We link in that post, even though it’s a very short post, number times to other posts on our site. The post I mentioned is quite short and it could be the type of content that people would bounce away from quite quickly. Linking deeper into your site drives people into your archives which gets them sticking around longer and more likely to subscribe to your blog. Do consider trying to not only get people to watch that video or listen to that audio or look at the infographic that you’re doing but also because that content could sometimes be a little bit fluffier, try and direct them to a deeper piece of content that relates to it.

Let me give you another example of a post where we did this. It was one titled Nine Composition Techniques To Use To Improve Your Photography. Again, I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. In this one, we feature a fantastic video that very quickly goes through nine different composition techniques. Underneath the video, I put a screenshot from each of the nine techniques. This is a screenshot from the video for each of those techniques. Then, I point to a tutorial relevant to that technique in our archives. People watch the video, it’s quite short, it’s very good, high quality video. It doesn’t really go into great depth into how to do the nine techniques. Underneath it, we give people the tutorial. We’ve already written, we’ve got thousands of posts to draw on. That gets them deeper into our site. That post did really well for us, I think it was the combination of a really good video and then breaking it down and providing more meaty content that went down really well with our readers. It did very well for us.

This brings me to my next point. The first video that I talked about, the photoshop one, we had two videos and then just 235 words. You might be thinking that’s just too short, that’s not meaty enough. There’s nothing to stop you from writing a really long piece of content of your own and then using a video almost like an example or just another short perspective. You can use embeddable content either as 100% of your blog post and the main feature or you can use it as a secondary example in your posts.

Let me give you another example. It’s a tutorial called Review Of Light Painting Brushes, Tools For Creativity which sounds a little bit obscure but it’s a review of a product that we did. It also has some tips in it. It’s 1400 words long and it’s all about how to do light painting which is a technique in photography. It features a product that you can use as well. Our writer writes some really useful content, reviews the product, also gives some tips on how to use the product. The post itself I think is 1400 words long. As you scroll down, you’ll see that there are a couple of video examples that he’s found to show what he’s talking about.

The videos aren’t the main point of the post, they’re just there if you want to learn a little bit more about one of the things that he’s talked about. One of the videos is from the product creator that we’re reviewing and another one is just almost like a tangential kind of thing, a little example that he’s included to show a technique. The embeddable stuff doesn’t have to be the main feature of the post. I know some people don’t like this type of post because it just seems a bit lazy. You can really write a very meaty post that has embeddable content.

I judged a competition earlier this year, it was a blogging competition on the best social media blogs. One of the things I noticed was that the best blogs, the blogs that won not just from my judging but other people’s as well, were blogs that regularly used embeddable content. The embeddable content was often just an example or was just a tweak that someone had gone and found, just a little extra thing. It just makes the content a little bit more interesting. It breaks up the written word and it shows your readers that you’ve gone to that little bit extra effort to find something that’s going to be useful to them.

Last thing I’ll say about embeddable content is that you probably don’t want to go overboard with it. This type of post where we feature a video, we only do it once out of every 14 posts. Generally, our posts would only usually have a couple of pieces of embeddable content in them. I have seen posts that work really well with lots of embeddable content, might have some tweaks, videos, infographics, but you can go overboard there. It can end up looking a bit cluttered and confusing. Just be aware of that.

That’s the challenge. Over the next few days—I’ll give you a week—I want you to create a new piece of content for your blog that features embeddable content in it. It could be video, it could be slideshare, it could be any of those different types of content that I mentioned before. It could be someone else’s content that you embed or could even be something that you’ve created yourself in the past or specifically for this. You may actually want to go and create a video that you then insert into your blog post if you really want to take things to the next level. It doesn’t have to be someone else’s content.

Once you created your piece of content and published it, publish it on your blog and then come to our Facebook Group. It’s the ProBlogger challenge group. If you do a search on Facebook, you’ll find us. Ask to join it if you haven’t already. Once you have joined that, once you’ve published your piece of content, come in and just share the link. There will be a thread where I call you to share these types of piece of content and just add a link there. Once you’ve added it, you’ll find that hopefully people will come and visit it from other bloggers in the challenge group. I encourage you just to check out some of the other posts that people are sharing, to like what they’re doing, encourage them, you might want to leave a comment on their post, you might want to even share if you think it’s relevant for your particular audience.

The key with these challenges is that it’s about creating a piece of content that perhaps you wouldn’t have published before, maybe a new style of post that might become a regular part of your schedule but it’s also I guess to get to know each other as bloggers as well and to encourage each other and maybe help each other find a little bit extra traffic.

I look forward to seeing your embeddable pieces of content. I just created one for this challenge and I will share it in the Facebook group as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create. Can’t wait to see your posts and I’ll chat with you in a few days time in the next episode of the ProBlogger podcast.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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