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October 2009

Sponsored Conversations: Selling Out or Another Way to Make Money Blogging?

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for sale

When I first began blogging five or six years ago, there were plenty of arguments over whether or not bloggers should use ads on their blogs. Those who did were considered sell outs. Then the “make money online craze” hit and everyone was posting ads on their blogs and all of a sudden they weren’t selling out, they were smart. They found a way to earn money without having to ever leave the house.

Enter sponsored conversations. All of a sudden we’re back to being sellouts again.

I’ve been thinking a lot about sponsored conversations lately. A couple of months ago, my blog network announced a partnership with a major online content site. Though I was thrilled for the possibilities, some members of my community were not. I was a sell out and a hypocrite. Why? Because I’m looking to earn more than my measly Adsense income?

I have no problem with sponsored posts. They remind of TV’s golden days when Milton Berle pimped Brill Cream during his variety hour. Really, how are sponsored conversations different from product placement in the movies? Where’s the outrage there? In case you’re not familiar, “sponsored conversatio” is a pretty term for “advertisement.” The sponsor is paying me to write up his ad and post it on my blog.

As a Premium Blogger in Izea‘s Social Spark sponsored conversation network, I earned $800 with only two posts.  I mean, why not? I figure as long as I’m not spammy, I let it be known that I’m accepting coin for my efforts and I choose sponsorships that are of interest to my community. Why is it such a terrible thing to write a post in exchange for payment. It’s not like I’m promoting laundry detergent on my freelance writing blog.

I feel that:

  • As long as I rock the disclosure…
  • As long as I don’t spam my community…
  • As long as I choose sponsorship that are on topic…
  • As long as I don’t offend anyone...actually, scratch that. No matter what I do, there’s always someone who is offended.
  • As long as I don’t make every blog posts an advertisement for something or other…

What difference does is make whether or not I accept payment for a sponsored conversation?

What are your thoughts? Is it selling out, or just another way to make money blogging?

BlogWorld '09 One Week Later: Thoughts from Around the Blogosphere

Author:
Dinner on opening day: Lara Kulpa, Darren Rowse, Angie Shwartz and I (Deb Ng)

Dinner on opening day: Lara Kulpa, Darren Rowse, Angie Shwartz and I

One week after the BlogWorld and New Media Expo, life returns to normal. We’re rested. We’re over the “BlogWorld flu.” We’ve hugged our kids, snuggled with our spouses, and did massive loads of laundry. We uploaded tons of images updated our FaceBook and Flickr streams and we’re catching up with the email.  Was it worth all the hype and lead up? Absolutely! This was the biggest and best BlogWorld ever.

Filled with bloggers, charities, major brands and social media aficionados BlogWorld offered something for everyone.

My takeaway? Everyone is an A-Lister.

Some other things I realized:

  • I learn more by talking to old and new friends in the hallways than by attending sessions. Not that the sessions don’t rock.
  • Closing keynotes rock harder when they’re not a giant kumbaya.
  • I’d much rather have dinner with friends where we can chat and share ideas than yell over loud music at a trendy club.
  • The Bellagio Balloon guy is really annoying.
  • Not everyone at BlogWorld is a blogger.
  • Sometimes hotels lose other reservations.
  • FatBurgers rock.
  • Not everyone blogs to make money.
  • Geeks enjoy talking puppets and Star Wars icons.
Sharing ideas in the hallways with Patrick O'Keefe, Brandon Eley and Connie Benson

Sharing ideas in the hallways with Patrick O'Keefe, Brandon Eley and Connie Benson

If there’s one thing I did differently this year as opposed to the past couple of BlogWorld’s it’s that I wasn’t as shy. I took a deep, brave breath and introduced myself to the people I wanted to meet. Another thing I’m doing differently is taking all the business cards I collected from interesting people and following up right away. The last two years, it was too late and I didn’t remember all the great stuff we discussed.

Originally I was going to offer a giant list of thoughts and comments  regarding this year’s BlogWorld, but then I thought, “Who better than to offer a post-BlogWorld round up than all the bloggers in attendance?”

So here it is:

BlogWorld One Week Later: Thoughts from Around the Blogosphere

What did you takeaway from BlogWorld this year?

Many thanks to Rick, Dave and Jim for hooking me up with the best gig ever (blogging here), their endless support and encouragement,  and  for making it possible for me to attend BlogWorld 09.

– Deb Ng

BlogWorld ’09 One Week Later: Thoughts from Around the Blogosphere

Author:
Dinner on opening day: Lara Kulpa, Darren Rowse, Angie Shwartz and I (Deb Ng)

Dinner on opening day: Lara Kulpa, Darren Rowse, Angie Shwartz and I

One week after the BlogWorld and New Media Expo, life returns to normal. We’re rested. We’re over the “BlogWorld flu.” We’ve hugged our kids, snuggled with our spouses, and did massive loads of laundry. We uploaded tons of images updated our FaceBook and Flickr streams and we’re catching up with the email.  Was it worth all the hype and lead up? Absolutely! This was the biggest and best BlogWorld ever.

Filled with bloggers, charities, major brands and social media aficionados BlogWorld offered something for everyone.

My takeaway? Everyone is an A-Lister.

Some other things I realized:

  • I learn more by talking to old and new friends in the hallways than by attending sessions. Not that the sessions don’t rock.
  • Closing keynotes rock harder when they’re not a giant kumbaya.
  • I’d much rather have dinner with friends where we can chat and share ideas than yell over loud music at a trendy club.
  • The Bellagio Balloon guy is really annoying.
  • Not everyone at BlogWorld is a blogger.
  • Sometimes hotels lose other reservations.
  • FatBurgers rock.
  • Not everyone blogs to make money.
  • Geeks enjoy talking puppets and Star Wars icons.
Sharing ideas in the hallways with Patrick O'Keefe, Brandon Eley and Connie Benson

Sharing ideas in the hallways with Patrick O'Keefe, Brandon Eley and Connie Benson

If there’s one thing I did differently this year as opposed to the past couple of BlogWorld’s it’s that I wasn’t as shy. I took a deep, brave breath and introduced myself to the people I wanted to meet. Another thing I’m doing differently is taking all the business cards I collected from interesting people and following up right away. The last two years, it was too late and I didn’t remember all the great stuff we discussed.

Originally I was going to offer a giant list of thoughts and comments  regarding this year’s BlogWorld, but then I thought, “Who better than to offer a post-BlogWorld round up than all the bloggers in attendance?”

So here it is:

BlogWorld One Week Later: Thoughts from Around the Blogosphere

What did you takeaway from BlogWorld this year?

Many thanks to Rick, Dave and Jim for hooking me up with the best gig ever (blogging here), their endless support and encouragement,  and  for making it possible for me to attend BlogWorld 09.

– Deb Ng

An Open Letter To All From Blogs With Balls and HHR Media

Author:

To the illustrious attendees of Blogs With Balls 2.0:

We at HHR Media felt that by Tuesday, your BwB 2.0 hangover and double-vision would be mostly gone, and those of you (of which there were a few) who missed plane flights as a result of your excessive “conventioneering” shall we say, are home safe and sound.   We owe you a lot of thanking.  We tried to do it as much as possible in person, but there were a few of you who we missed and we want to make sure you are all aware at how grateful we were to have you in Vegas.  Each of you being there mattered to everyone else who attended, and that’s what makes things like BwB great.  That and free drinks of course.  Those never hurt.

We only have two requests of you to ensure that BwB remains a great experience for future attendees and sponsors:

  • We ask that you publicly thank our sponsorsPlease include in your BwB coverage a line and link to say thanks for making it possible. If you would like to send them an email as well, that goes a long way, so let us know and we will furnish you the right contact (though some of you already have Captain Morgan’s address). They want to know they were seen and heard, which in return makes them likely to get more involved as well as make the next event possible.   We are not asking you to schill for them or their point of view, but it can’t be said enough that our sponsors – FoxSports.com, Yardbarker.com, ESPN.com, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Diageo Liquors and CarbonPoker all clearly demonstrated that they felt you all being in the same place was good for sports media, and that they want to be associated with you and your work.

(A special thanks as well to Dan Levy for all his work on the Shootout;  our videographers and photographers, Ben from Berylium Pictures and Rob from Kabimba Media;  and the guys at Wondershot for their work on the intro video;  and, of course, our panelists.  Each of these individuals contributed their time and talent to make the event a success, and deserve our thanks.  Further, please keep them in mind if you are ever in need of said talents).

  • We also ask you to tell US about your experience.  Either via blog post or email, but please do not hold back.  We want to make the next one better (without going to the moon, Josh), but it will only be as good as your feedback.  So tell us what worked, what didn’t, and most importantly WHY. While this was a wildly different set-up than the first BwB, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep the best parts of it.  Also please consider sending along a one or two sentence wrap-up that we could use for future Blogs With Balls promotion.  Something that you would not mind being publicly attributed to you and your site.  Maybe why BwB is important to you as a blogger, or what it is that you get from the experience, or why you have come to two in a row.  We will let you know when/how we plan to use it, but it is much easier getting it now while it is still fresh than asking you for it in the lead up to the next one.

For your convenience, you can use this form for feedback: http://blogswithballs.com/2/feedback/

Finally, lots of our videos and pictures will be trickling out this week, and in full force next week.  We will send those out to all of you and point you to where they are hosted so you can use and share as you like – so definitely send us your pictures.  Thanks to those of you who already have pics and vids up!

-Don, Kyle, and Chris.
HHR Media | Blogs With Balls

Multicultural Blogging

Author:

Guest post written by Sensis President Jose Villa

The term “multicultural” has grown out the need for the marketing world to understand and categorize the various ethnic and lifestyle minorities that have emerged in the U.S. during the last 30 years. The term has come to represent an amalgamation of various ethnic and lifestyle groups that includes the Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American and GLBT populations, not to mention various other ethnic and immigrant groups throughout the U.S. When taken as a whole, the multicultural population of the U.S. represents more than 100 million individuals — much more than a niche with spending power that cannot be ignored by any marketer.

Historically, reaching these diverse audiences has been the sole domain of the traditional media world, particularly Spanish-language TV networks, urban radio, Asian newspapers and GLBT lifestyle magazines. However, with growth of social media, sparked by the early and sustained growth of blogs and social networks, there has emerged a set of platforms with the potential to drastically change the way these multicultural audiences are reached. Specifically, the opportunity to truly engage multicultural and GLBT audiences in a two-way conversation represents a seismic shift in multicultural marketing and communications.

Looking at the growth of the multicultural and GLBT blogosphere during the last few years provides a unique glimpse into how social media is changing multicultural marketing. In many ways, the growth and establishment of multicultural and GLBT blogospheres represents the emergence of a powerful new group of influencers — individuals going online and sharing their opinions with their friends, family and broader community – that are at their heart of their respective ethnic, lifestyle and immigrant communities.

I, Sensis agency president and multicultural marketing blogger, am moderating an insightful panel of prominent multicultural and GLBT bloggers on Saturday at the Blog World Expo to discuss this powerful marketing medium and how to use it to engage the Hispanic, African American, Asian American and GLBT communities. Panelists include:

  • Matt Skallerud of Pink Banana Media, a prominent GLBT blogger and social media expert.
  • Ana Roca-Castro of Premier Social Media and LATISM, a top Hispanic blogger and social media marketer.
  • Wayne Sutton, a prominent African American blogger and entrepreneur.
  • Sumaya Kazi, executive director of The Cultural Connect and senior social media manager at Sun Microsystems, who will be speaking on the Asian blogosphere.
  • The panel will involve a lively discussion of issues such as:

  • Are multicultural and GLBT bloggers just a part of the broader fabric of a diverse blogosphere or do they represent unique voices that represent their respective communities?
  • What makes multicultural and GLBT bloggers different?
  • Session attendees will walk away knowing:

  • Statistics and trends of the growing multicultural blogosphere.
  • Key / influential blogs in these communities.
  • How to effectively use social media to influence this population and gain brand ambassadors for your organization.
  • The importance of authenticity when interacting with these users via social networking.
  • RSS to E-mail

    Author:

    RSS to Email is the perfect way to streamline timely and relevant content to your inbox.

    RSS to Email spearheads the embodiment of syndicating content globally.  It allows bloggers to feed their subscribers with relevant, updated messages in a timely and targeted medium.  RSS to Email also allows subscribers to have the power of choice; they are in control of what messages go where, and what better place, what better idea, than to have it all centrally located in their inbox?  The web is complex enough as it is; many subscribers don’t want to manage yet another tool, i.e. an RSS reader.

    Really Simple Syndication

    RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication, is not new technology, yet it hasn’t really been adopted by the masses, as we all know.  RSS, at the base level, is simply a web content syndication format.  Most bloggers and subscribers use it to feed updated blog content to a specific location or a blog reader.

    When RSS hit the web and started to gain traction, we all expected it to dominate email and to solve all of our deliverability issues.  Well, that didn’t exactly happen.  It since has been adopted by some and become a valuable enabler of communication, but at the end of the day, who has time to read 80-200 different blog feeds?  Personally, I would love to view my 80+ blog feeds in my Google Reader, get to know the breaking news I subscribe to, but let’s be honest, who has the time for that?  With RSS to Email as an option, subscribers like myself have the advantage of having all of the timely and relevant content that I am looking for pushed to my inbox, where I operate from daily.  Again, for me, as an email marketer and blogger, RSS to Email is a no-brainer solution.

    Blue Sky Factory: The Thinking Inbox

    As much as we like clicking that little orange RSS button, feeding your blog updates to your email inbox is just as simple. See how Blue Sky Factory does it:

    Every day our team at Blue Sky Factory publishes blog posts to our blog, The Thinking Inbox, containing industry trends, event updates, Blue Sky Factory news and updates, best practices, customer spotlights, and the list goes on.  Readers are given the option to have these posts fed to their blog reader via the RSS icon (see above), or they can have these posts fed to their inbox by submitting their email address.  Bottom line, it’s all about options, offering a choice, and making it as easy as we can on subscribers.  It is important to have both options; deliver your company’s message by expanding your reach throughout different mediums.

    The Kings of Pull and Push Mediums

    To boil it down, RSS is the king of the ’pull’ medium and email is the king of the ‘push’ medium. The idea behind pull and push behaviors within the online space is nothing new.  RSS to Email is also not a new phenomenon, but RSS to Email does, however, allow for a seamless delivery of syndicated content to the one global location almost all of us operate from daily, the email inbox.

    Email marketing is all about optimized deliverability, a well developed strategy, a fundamental understanding of best practices, and last but not least, TESTING.  Test this option out for you subscribers, offer an RSS to email option, give it a try.  You have nothing lose and everything to gain.

    Let’s Hear From YOU!

    What are your thoughts on RSS to Email? Give your friends over at Blue Sky Factory a shout. We can talk RSS to Email, SWYN or any other aspect of your email marketing solutions.

    Book Signings During BlogWorld

    Author:

    Every year, BlogWorld speakers release books and hold signings sessions live at BlogWorld.

    Check the schedule below and come meet your favorite new media author.

    TODD CREAGAR Thursday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
    CAROL ANN FRIED Thursday, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
    BRANDON ELEY Friday, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    PATRICK O’KEEFE Friday, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    CHRIS BROGAN Friday, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
    GARY RYAN BLAIR Friday, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
    DR. BEN MACK Friday, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
    BEN HUH Friday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
    DEBORAH MICEK Friday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
    DAVID MATHISON Friday, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
    JESSE STAY Friday, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
    JAY BERKOWITZ Friday, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    BRIAN SOLIS Friday, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    MARK JOYNER Saturday, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
    WARREN WHITLOCK Saturday, 2:00 – 3:00 PM
    MIGNON FOGARTY Saturday, 3:00 – 4:00 PM
    MARK TAFOYA Saturday, 3:00 – 4:00 PM

    Getting Down to the Wire:Your BlogWorld Survival Guide

    Author:

    blogworld

    It’s getting down to the wire. We’re printing out boarding passes and packing suitcases. BlogWorld begins on Thursday. To ensure you’re getting the maximum BWE ’09 experience, I’ve listed some very cool stuff all in one place. Read it. Print it. Take it along. I give you…

    Your BlogWorld Survival Guide

    1. Top 10 Things to Take to BlogWorld: Don’t pack your bags without reading this.
    2. Hot Deals for BlogWorld Attendees: Some local watering holes are offering discounts on libation. Sounds like a meetup to me.
    3. What are you going to do with all that unwanted swag? Consider donating it to someone who can really use it.
    4. The Official BlogWorld Tweetup Guide: Where are all the cool kids hanging out? We got the party guide right here.
    5. Podcasters Unite: Palegroove Studios is sponsoring four podcasting spots around the conference center. Sign up here.
    6. Want to know who’s speaking? Check out the BlogWorld speaker schedule and share your picks.
    7. Interested in checking out the exhibitor action? The BlogWorld floor plan will tell you where to find the folks and places that interest you most.
    8. The official BlogWorld Hashtag: Live Tweeting from the event? Use #BWE09.
    9. Here’s your unofficial guide to BlogWorld events PLUS an unofficial BlogWorld directory. Add your name to the list.
    10. Not sure how to prepare? Read Chris Brogan’s 27 Things to Do Before a Conference.

    And a bonus:

    10 Tips for Attending Conferences.

    What can you add to the list?

    See you at BlogWorld!!!!

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