Getting Free Products To Review On Your Blog: The Basics 

Unless you’re a celebrity or a huge influencer, whether it be on Instagram, YouTube or other social media channels, to get free products to be sent to you by companies, you have to send them a cold email. For a lot of bloggers, doing this can be a little bit intimidating as most of them do not know how to get started, and not everyone has a background in sales, marketing, and corporate industry. Don’t worry though! Here are some tips to help you get started:

Do Some Research Before Sending Out That Email

For new bloggers, check and do some research first suggest VelSEOity. See if the company does send out free products even to new bloggers. You may also want to check for other blogs found within your niche – bloggers that cover the same topics as you do and try to look for patterns. Have you noticed a company or two that is found in most of those blogs? If so, they’re more likely to be receptive to sending out free products to bloggers. Check that company and look for products that are not getting a lot of reviews or are not represented well online. This is a great way to get started and even increase your chances of getting positive answers on your first try.

Contact Them Via Email

There’s no better way than to send your proposal but through the company’s email address. Based on your research, contact the company e-mail and the authorized person. When writing a proposal, make sure that you go straight to the point and cut out the fluff. When you’re contacting companies looking for products to review, make sure that you’re completely honest about your social media followings, traffic, engagement percentage as well as explain how you can help them. Never lie about these statistics as a simple search will be able to reveal if you’re telling the truth or if you’re making the numbers up. If you’re a small blog or a startup, there are still chances to get numerous partnerships as long as you’re true to your reviews and you’ve shown credibility to your audience.

Don’t Stop With E-Mails

If the company you’re eyeing for doesn’t have any e-mail address posted on their website, go for the extra mile and send them snail mail or fax. Not too many bloggers do this, and it will show your dedication as a blogger and would most likely be noticed by your target companies.

Keep The Companies Updated

As soon as you have closed with an agreement, do not stop there. Stay in contact with them and let them know about updates such as when you’ve received the product. Let them know once you’re reviewing the product, once it has been posted, and finally, with some results. It is your responsibility as a blogger to make sure that you keep the company informed – do not skip this part and make sure to take this seriously.

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My Blog Website is Now 10 Years Old: Getting Published as a Daddy Blogger, Making My National TV Debut, and Becoming an SEO Side Hustler

It was exactly a decade ago today that I published my very first blog post here on this website. It was called, “Snail Trails: Your Memory May Be the Only Proof an Event Ever Happened.”

For the first year of my blog, I was just writing about random thoughts that went through my head; much like the kind of topics I cover on my YouTube channels now.

But about a year into blogging, my wife and I found out we were going to be having our first child. I decided to start writing a letter to our child at least every week.

Just a few months into my new series, I was featured in American Baby magazine. And a few months after that, I was chosen by Parents Magazine to be their official daddy blogger for the next 4 years.

This led to me being given dozens of opportunities to feature brand-new vehicles on my blog, as companies like Lexus and Chevy often sent me cars for a week at a time; even sending me and family on trips as well.

After my time at Parents.com ended, the next venture was been hand-selected by one of the scouts for Lifetime’s upcoming TV show, This Time Next Year. My national TV debut took place in February 2018.

Since then, I have been using my blogging experience and SEO knowledge to operate a few different side hustles to generate passive income, like placing Amazon links in my most popular posts and regularly selling guest blog posts to companies.

True story: I just bought a brand-new stereo for my Jeep based on my most recent Amazon payment I received.

It’s true I love writing and I love documenting my life on my blog, as it’s my way of keeping up with my own journey of life.

But I also don’t mind the fact that this blog has provided me opportunities that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Thank you to all my readers for being a part of my blog- and my life!

My 5 SEO Side Hustles, Which All Made Me a Minimum of $1,000 Each in 2018; Creating Passive Income

What is SEO? It’s search engine optimization. SEO is knowing how to cater to the free market of the Internet by publishing articles, links, videos, and social media messages, based on what people are already searching for. It’s behind-the-scenes marketing knowledge and skills that allow people like me to make money on the side by helping other people grow their brand name online; as well as my own.

I remember back in high school (my 20th high school reunion is coming up this summer!) when I was planning my proposed future career: I wasn’t that inspired by the thought of making money, but instead, just to be “happy”. But several years later, having entered the work force with thousands of dollars of debt from college loans, then getting married a few years later during the Financial Crisis of 2008, I think it sort of scarred me. Or at least it rewired my brain in regards to how I perceive finances:

Use your time, energy, and talents to control money before it controls you, by default.

That serves as my SEO Side Hustler backstory. It explains why one of my superpowers is the ability and the drive to be constantly making money on the side; no matter how great my actual full time job. I’m sure there’s some psychology in there, that having felt helpless and hopeless with finances in my late 20s and early 30s, I now feel the need to reverse my role with money and instead be in complete control of my finances. I have basically adopted my Italian grandfather’s mindset, as he lived through the Great Depression as a 1st generation Italian-American in an orphanage; and was one of the most financial conservative men I knew. 

What are my hobbies, besides hanging out with my wife and kids? The answer: My 5 side jobs. 

My brain interprets these SEO side hustles as (mandatory) fun. Last year, in addition to my well-paying full-time job in HR at a Fortune 500 company in Franklin, Tennessee (though my wife actually makes more than me at her full-time job), I made thousands of dollars on the side by basically goofing off on the Internet after my wife and kids fell asleep each night. Granted, I don’t get a lot of sleep myself, except on Saturday mornings when my wife gets up at 6:00 AM with kids and lets me sleep in around 8:00 AM! 

Here’s how I made thousands of dollars, on the side through passive income, in 2018 by utilizing my knowledge and skill set of SEO; and plan to make even more in 2019…

#1 My 1st YouTube Channel:

Named after myself, Nick Shell is a YouTube channel with over 6,200 subscribers. I serve as a mentor who helps young men find their own masculine identity and confidence, despite their perception that early male pattern baldness takes away their value as men.

Thanks to the ads that play before each video, I made nearly $3,000 in 2018 from this channel; see below. It also helps that for 3 months straight in 2018, I kept shaving my head, which made me a lot of money as I have since then been able to casually yet effectively sell the electric clippers I used to do it, through the use of Amazon links. (More on that in a minute.)

#2 My 2nd YouTube Channel:

Named after this blog itself, Family Friendly Daddy Blog currently has over 1,500 subscribers. I named it after my blog, as a way of extending my brand name online. On this 2nd YouTube channel, I mainly talk about DNA test results and cultural perceptions of society. Some of my most popular videos are where I feature vehicles that car companies send me because of my blog. (More on that in a minute.) I have learned that producing nearly 3 videos per day, on each channel, grows my audience more than producing fewer, yet higher quality videos.

Quantity over quality is my formula. Even though I have the skill set to make polished, edited videos with music and words that pop up on the screen, I’ve learned that I earn more revenue from the dozen videos I can make in the same amount of time it would take to make one high-quality video.

#3 My website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog:

Yep, you’re on it right now. I created this website over 9 years ago and have regularly maintained it with new posts. (If nothing else, I publish 2 new posts every Thursday: A letter to each of my children, which I have been doing since my wife announced her pregnancy for them both, accordingly.) That’s one of the reasons it has such strong SEO; making it very easy to find when people Google nearly anything. My blog is a dragnet for search terms.

The name of this blog itself, while it may sound a bit corny, was something I strategically created for the purpose of SEO. Therefore, on a daily basis, I have requests from 3rd parties requesting to be featured as a guest blogger on my site, to boost their own website’s SEO. For the right price, I say yes. From these fees alone, I cleared well over $1,000 in 2018.

That’s not including the free vehicles my family was loaned, complete with a free tank of gas, for our family vacations: Mitsubishi sponsored our trip to Sacramento, Mazda sponsored us for Lake Tahoe, and Chevy took care of us for Destin. Plus, I got sent on an all expense paid trip to Florida for the Grapefruit League Baseball Series, thanks to Toyota. Additionally, my kids also get some free toys this year and our family is regularly offered free tickets to events in Nashville, like Frozen on Ice. And all of this is simply because of this blog’s very healthy SEO.

#4 Handling SEO for a major university in the Nashville area:

I’ll keep the name and dollar amount confidential on this one, but I serve as the behind-the-scenes SEO independent contractor for a particular department. I handle their Twitter account, I’ve produced promotional videos for their YouTube channel, and I manage an ongoing blog series which features its employees in a more casual light, so that people in the department can learn more about one another; while increasing the university’s presence online. 

#5 Amazon Associates:

Anytime I place a link to Amazon for a product like this really cool Mama Bear t-shirt for moms, whether it’s in a description for one of my videos on either YouTube channel, or in one of my blog posts, I get a cut of the sale that is made. Even if the person doesn’t buy the actual product, as long as they buy something while they are browsing through other suggested items, I still get a cut of that sale. It’s Amazon’s way of thanking me for directing a new sale to them. In 2018, I made right over $1,000 from these links; even though I didn’t even start the program until February. See below.

I am a huge fan of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book focuses on the importance of creating venues of passive income; making money while you sleep, which is especially what my YouTube videos and Amazon links do for me. The author explains that it’s not enough to become and remain debt-free or pay off mortgage your early, but also to start making side incomes (ideally passive ones) and then investing that money. He presents that formula as the way to graduate from the middle class. So far, it’s working for me. 

At this point, our family could move into one of those McMansion homes in the next neighborhood over; increasing our square footage by 50%. We could afford it, but we instead choose to keep our current lower overhead and send the extra income towards paying off our mortgage early, building our kids’ college fund, growing our retirement, and focusing on our financial investments through Charles Schwab. I could also pay cash for a brand-new vehicle, trading in my old 2004 Honda Element with 180,000 miles and a salvaged title; and still have thousands more in the bank and investments. But instead, there’s a sense of pride in knowing I’m living below my means; not simply within them. 

So while I don’t get much sleep at this stage in my life, I can at least known that I am constantly making money even when I do sleep.

I am Nick Shell- and I am the SEO Side Hustler. 

Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts to Boost Your SEO. I Charge $100. Email Me.

You just Googled, “bloggers who accept guest blog posts” because you are needing to strengthen your website’s SEO. On a daily basis, I get requests from people asking me about this. That obviously proves my website has amazing SEO.

The answer is yes. I do accept guest blog posts. I also accept $100, to be paid via PayPal.

I have the SEO platform you need to link your site to. You have the $100 that I would like to link to my wallet.

So if you’re interested, send an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com with this headline:

SEO $100

Make sure that you include a photo, as an attachment, not copied and pasted, to accompany your article; which needs to a be minimum of 300 to 400 words and somewhat relevant to the topic of parenting and family.

Also let me know how you want to be listed in the byline, so I know which person and/or brand to draw readers’ attention to.

The concept with your guest blog post is that you want to answer questions that people are already Googling, but you will be using my popular platform to do it, which will refer people back to your website.

Here’s a recent example of a guest blog post here on my site, where someone paid my $100 fee:

And yeah, I get it…

If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have the budget to afford my service. That’s the paradox:

Larger companies can afford to pay for SEO, so they stay large.

Small companies can’t afford to pay for SEO, so they stay small.

If you can’t afford my $100 free to be featured as a guest blogger on my website, I can at least leave you with a complimentary parting gift, which is my SEO starter kit.

Yet still, it’s inevitable: You can’t get around the fact that you’ll need a stronger website like mine to attach links back to yours.

How much time are you willing to spend searching for other websites that will accept guest blog posts cheaper, or ideally for free?

You have to decide: Is your time worth $100?

Perhaps you’ll decide, like Billy Joel said back in 1977:

I might as well be the one.

SEO Starter Kit: 5 Free Tips to Build Your Company’s Presence Online Without Having to Hire Someone to Do It for You

You just Googled something like, “SEO tips for my company”.The fact that you ended up here on my website, compared to some other random site you never heard of, should serve as an immediate confirmation that I must know at least a little about what I’m talking about; even if you have no idea who I am. It was neither fate nor an accident. It was SEO.

Of all the articles that exist on the topic, mine is the one that showed up high enough in your Google search and it was one that you yourself decided to click on.

That wasn’t coincidence. And I spent no money to make that happen. I just wrote an article with good SEO: search engine optimization.

And you want some of what I got. I want to help and I know how important this is to your business.

So let’s make that happen. I will provide you with this complimentary “SEO starter kit”, which is the proven thesis of my success so far:

  1. Begin publishing a minimum of 3 WordPress blog posts per week, between 300 to 500 words each. Publicize each one on your Facebook fan page, your personal Facebook page, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These serve as free advertisements to build your brand and your site.  (However, do not pay to publicize the posts on Facebook; as they recently changed their algorithm to where now, it’s just throwing money away.)
  2. Be sure each blog post contains a minimum of 3 photos; ideally in the form of a collage. (I use Fotor.com.)
  3. Make sure the titles of your blog posts are long and wordy, as the title itself is all many people really read anyway, but at least it counts as a visitor on your site when they click; which strengthens your SEO.
  4. Find websites that already have good SEO that are willing to allow you to do a “guest blog post” on your company (which is very difficult), that will place a link to your website in their post. I currently charge $35 per post. Here is an example, which will take you to the website of Stackhouse.life, which is a tiny house company. 
  5. Create a YouTube channel in which you publish no less than 3 videos per week. Most of the content will be you answering questions that people are already searching on subjects related to your business.

My message to you is this: SEO isn’t necessarily about being the biggest; which is what most SEO experts who charge more money want you to believe. It’s about being seen by the right people in your niche, who are already searching for you, without them actually realizing they’re searching for you; and being the best-looking and most fun and most informative source on the material.

Hungry for more? Check out my 15 minute tutorial in the video at the very top of this post.

Plus, I’m including some links below so you can see some more examples of my work. Thanks for “accidentally” finding my website today!

A “Work Date”with My Wife at ENAR 2018 in Atlanta (Featuring the 2018 Mazda CX-5)

My Family’s Road Trip to Rock City in Chattanooga in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 (Featuring the Original New Theme Song I Wrote)

My Road Trip with My Son to Ruby Falls in Chattanooga in the 2018 Mazda CX-5 (Featuring the Original New Theme Song I Wrote)

My (Accidental) New Year’s Resolution for 2016: To Become a Full-Time Blogger and YouTuber

My (Accidental) New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

I’ve never been a believer in making New Year’s resolutions for one simple fact: I’ve always believed that if I really felt a need to change something in my life, it would be asinine to wait for an arbitrary, culturally celebrated date on the calendar.

When I really care enough to change something in my life, I have always just changed immediately and never looked back. That’s in my blood.

Looking back on some of the biggest changes in my life in the past decade or so, none of them took place in a January:

In November 2008, I became and have remained kosher. In December 2010, I became and have remained a vegetarian. In April 2012, I became and have remained a vegan. In September 2012, I became and have remained caffeine free.

These “never look back” commitments in my life don’t typically take place in January…

(Except for January 2008, when I proposed to my wife… but I wouldn’t consider that as any sort of New Year’s resolution; that would be quite the understatement!)

But perhaps January 2016 can be the exception to my track record. It truly is a coincidence that I am becoming so mindful of this conscious change I want to make, but by default, it might technically be a New Year’s resolution:

My goal for 2016 is to make major progress in growing my blog; in particular, my YouTube channel. I want to deliberately work towards blogging and YouTubing full time; as a stand-alone career.

I remember back a few years ago in November 2013, when I was invited by General Motors to attend an event in Detroit featuring their Buick brand as well as OnStar. While there, I met a full time travel/food blogger named Stefanie Fauquet of Mommy Musings, who told me, “You know, you could be doing so much more with what you’ve got going on.”

stefaniefauquet21

She inspired me that day, but it was like a put I bookmark on that thought for later when I could be ready for it.

I believe the time has now come.

But back then, our family was still working our way out of a lot of debt, our son was still very young, and we still lived in our townhouse. (Not to mention, I didn’t have a smart phone yet!)

We had a lot of other goals we had to focus on first at the time.

Here we are in January 2016, having been debt-free for a couple of years now, having lived in our new house for a year, with a decent amount of savings in the bank, and our son is now 5 years-old. Not to mention, my wife and I are both secure in our positions where we both work. And we have smart phones too!

What that means for me is that I now can focus more directly on “doing so much more” with my blog; in an effort to do this full-time, not just as a hobby with benefits.

"Nobody owes nobody nothing. You owe yourself!"

It’s a simple case of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I need a new problem to solve. I need a new challenge. I know I’m capable of more.

In other words, I’ve reached the blessing of getting to the point where I am very comfortable in life. However, I’m not wired to be okay with being comfortable.

Being in this position only makes me think, “What else could I be doing right now to improve my life?”

Yes, my wife and I are having another child in April, which will surely bring challenges. However, this is “kid #2”, so I feel we as parents already now the basics of what to expect.

I look at more people whose careers inspire me, as did Stefanie Fauquet. I consider food and travel blogger Bren Carrera of House of Bren, someone else I met on that same event in Detroit back in November 2013.

http://brenherrera.com/about/

Since then, I have been following her on social media. I have watched her progress as she was invited to be a guest on The Today Show, thanks to her cooking abilities, and then to be invited back. I have enjoyed seeing her evolve into the media personality she is today.

A few weeks ago I read where she explained on Facebook she had publishing company keeping their eye on her, who recently offered her a book deal. I love that! I am so happy for her:

“After dreaming for 10 years, I finally got a book deal. This publishing company had been watching my work for some time and decided it was time to reach out.”

I also think of my friend and professional photographer, Joe Hendricks, who I’ve now known for a decade.

http://www.joehendricks.photography/showingmomamerica

Recently, he moved his family out of their house, and into an Airstream. They are able to travel the country as a family, as Joe teaches seminars across America, as well as does photo shoots, while also selling his photography online. How awesome is that?

And then there’s my most recently inspiring blogger friend, Jarrid Wilson. Our families met each other at Whole Foods one fateful Saturday morning… and the following fateful Saturday morning after that.

Both Jarrid as well as his wife, Julie Wilson, are full time bloggers. Jarrid simply reinforced the words of Stefanie Fauquet from back in November 2013: “You could be doing so much more with what you’ve got going on.”

All these people inspire me. They have turned their passions (and by default, their lifestyles and hobbies) into adventurous full-time careers.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2016 is make great strides in growing Family Friendly Daddy Blog into a full time career.

I feel that my newest kids’ show series on YouTube, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest, has a lot of potential. I designed the outdoors segment of each webisode to be a good mix of action, adventure, and psychology (regarding interacting with others as well as understanding one’s own emotions). However, the first (indoors) part of each webisode is designed to engage the viewer in creative thinking.

Right now I am thinking about Jesus’s Parable of the Talents (found in Matthew 25). I don’t want my talents to be buried in the ground. I want to invest the talents I have now and make more talents because of it.

I feel that I have a lot of talent that needs to be seen by a larger audience. But like Sylvester Stallone said in his cult classic movie, Over the Top, “The world meets nobody halfway.”

Motivational Sylvester Stallone Quotes That I Will Pass on to My Kids: Choosing the Victor Mindset over the Victim Mentality

And there’s also Sylvester Stallone’s quote in Rocky 3, as well: “Nobody owes nobody nothing! You owe yourself.”

Motivational Sylvester Stallone Quotes That I Will Pass on to My Kids: Choosing the Victor Mindset over the Victim Mentality

Therefore, it’s up to me to prove to the world that I am truly the innovative writer and entertainer I know I am. I must successfully convince the free market.

It’s important to me that I grow my audience, proving to major publications, studios, and networks that I am worth investing in.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in this one.

This is my new prayer of 2016: That God will grant me more responsibilities in my talents.

I’ve got all the ingredients necessary to reach my goal of becoming a full-time blogger. Now I must figure out how to utilize them in a way that allows me to reach that goal.

My Blog Readers are Female, but My YouTube Watchers are Male

Dear Jack: Webisode 20 of Jack-Man- “The Ole Switcheroo”

I am very aware of the importance of knowing my audience, so that I can better create content for what people want to be entertained by while they’re trying to kill time on smart phones.

Thanks to the analytics screen for my Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog, and thanks to the analytics screen for my YouTube channel, I have recently learned a paradox about my audience:

They don’t have a lot in common… They are segregated by gender demographics.

Most of the people reading Family Friendly Daddy Blog are women…

Women
72%
Men
27%

While most of the people watching my videos on YouTube are men:

MALE
83%
FEMALE
17%

For my Jack-Man series, I spend a minimum of 6 hours per video (writing, filming, producing music, editing, publishing) and there are currently 22 Jack-Man videos. When you do the math, that’s a minimum of 132 hours (or 5.5 straight days) of work for that series; and I only started the series 5 months ago.

However, I’m lucky to get 100 views on any of my Jack-Man videos. All that creativity mainly goes unwatched.

Meanwhile, I’ve carelessly thrown together a few unedited and unscripted videos on receding hairlines on my YouTube channel.

Those are the videos that easily get more than 100 views every day.

That’s because it’s mainly men are watching my YouTube channel, not as many women.

And mainly women are reading my blog, not as many men.

So now, behind the scenes, I am sketching out the best ways to blend my blog posts with my videos.

Ultimately, I guess it means that I’ll be publishing more blog posts about receding hairlines to feature my receding hairline videos, and making more videos about parenting to feature my usual daddy blog material.

I am attempting to use my blog to promote my videos and my videos to promote my blog.

So when you see me doing blog posts on seemingly irrelevant material, just know it’s for the other half of my demographics: men.