Name: Bill Belew
Business name: billbelew.com
Book Titles: http://billbelew.com/#portfolio
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I got fired from a university where I was teaching. When my department chair went to bat for me to get the president to change his mind, the president did change his mind. When the president called me in his office and told me he reconsidered letting me go, I quit. I didn’t want some dude sitting in the back room crunching numbers to decide my future. I knew something about writing. So, I ventured into a fledgling blog network and started to write. One introduction led to another and I started writing for another large business network. The more I wrote, the more people showed up, the more the blog network took notice, the more they asked me to write. Fast forward 10 years and I have a history of knowing how to write online AND get read. So much so that people now reach out to me and ask, “Bill, how do you do that [get organic traffic]?” I have been somewhat reluctantly dragged back into the classroom and teaching arena. I now teach people how to get online AND get read.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
6:00-6:30 a.m. – I am usually up, and about by 6 a.m. I grab my cell phone to take a quick look to see if anything broke overnight. I look at my schedule on my phone to remind myself of what I have going on that day.
6:30 a.m. – Wake up my girls. Who doesn’t want two beautiful people to have breakfast with each morning? One I am married to, and the other? …. My 8-year-old daughter. What were you thinking?
7:45 am – Send my girls off to work/school. Grab my bag and head for a coffee shop. I have several to choose from and a lot depends on my mood. Sometimes I will text a friend or two and we will meet up and mooch energy off one another.
8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. I try to stop at the gym on my way to the coffee shop. At the coffee shop (I also have a home office where I work—mood depending), I write, think, plan, respond to emails, rinse, and repeat. I have a virtual assistant who is half-a-day ahead of me. I check in with her to see what she has been up to. I speak at least twice a week, so I have those talks to prepare for each day. I check in at my forum.billbelew.com and interact with members there and/or create something new. I take phone calls, schedule appointments or meet friends for lunch (abt 1/week).
2:30-4:30 p.m. – I have a school run. This is the highlight of my day: picking up my daughter and delivering her to her after-school activities—Chinese class or kung fu.
4:30-6:00 p.m. – I read. I usually have a couple of books going on at the same time. I read for preparation for my talks. I read for enrichment. I read.
6:00-7:30 pm – Dinner. And chilling with the family. I do most of my own cooking. It explains my waistline.
7:30-10 p.m. – evening stuff. I put my cell phone away to recharge in my home office at 7 and don’t look at it again until the next morning. Twice a month I have evening speaking engagements. I also preach every Sunday at church in the local area.
You help people become “influencers” online. What does this mean, and how do you do it?
Whereas many marketers spend their days wondering who they can reach out to hold up their widget, I teach my clients how to be the person people are looking for to hold up their widget.
I teach people how to create real credibility online. I teach people how to be found. I teach people how to get the phone to ring and the email box to start pinging. I teach people how to get real people to leave their social networks and come to their websites and engage with them. I teach people how to build a tribe of followers.
What are some common errors writers make when creating and marketing online content?
Loaded question. The most common errors:
- Writers are writing for themselves, not for their audience.
- Writers don’t create enough content. The writer is not fully committed to their craft. They might write something and wonder why nobody is reading, but they don’t continue to write. I call them “wroters.”
- Writers don’t understand the rules of quality to appeal to the online world—search and social.
- Writers aren’t faithful enough. They don’t hit the publish button often enough.
- Writers aren’t persistent enough. Writers give up before they are found. Too many writers don’t know what might have been.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
The freedom I have to do it where and when I do it. I will be guest-lecturing on of those mammoth-sized cruise ships for 10 days in May. My work won’t miss a beat.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
At the risk of sounding all spiritual and such, the Bible is really my main source of inspiration.
I read a lot of historical non-fiction.
Are you writing anything right now?
I am writing out the answers to this interview. I maintain a forum devoted to content and influence marketers. I do most of my writing there. Like most people, I have an idea for a book in the back of my head. But the idea of writing a book and drumming up readers does not appeal. I’d rather wait for readers to ask me to write the book.
I like to write up case studies of successes my clients have.
Can you describe your writing process?
Get an idea. Find my keyboard. Log in. Write. Wait for readers to point out my mistakes. Make corrections. Thank them.
Longer, assigned pieces: I am a thinker. I do a lot of thinking before I sit down. When I do face my keyboard, I can write long and well on the first draft. Depending on deadlines, I let it sit for a day or so. Then rewrite. Sit for a few days. Then write. Send it in. Get feedback. Rewrite. Move on.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
The other day, there was a guy who attended a Meetup I was conducting. He said he was 34 years old and had two children—one is 7 years old and the other is 2. I told him I have a son his age and a daughter his kid’s age. My older son will be 34 in a couple of months. My daughter will be 8 in a week.
What’s next for you?
Teach someone how to be me so I can step aside. I think people would rather see someone half my age on stage than see me. Time to pass on the torch.
Is there anything you’d like to add? I created a forum, forum.billbelew.com, for writers, bloggers, content creators, and the like. There are no ads and the forum is free. It’s my labor of love and an attempt to answer the same question less often. It has 16,000+ posts and 1,500+ threads.