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February 2010

How Darren Rowse Liberated My Facebook Account

Author:

I was reluctant to embrace Facebook and fought it for several years. I had Twitter and that was enough of a time suck for me. The problem with Twitter was that my family and personal friends weren’t really a part of it. So I joined Facebook to be keep in touch.

That was all she wrote.

Thanks to Facebook I’m back in touch with friends from the old neighborhoods. I’m chatting with the boy who I walked to kindergarten with and the girl I babysat after high school each evening. I’m in touch with former co-workers and long lost relatives. Facebook has brought back a life that I’ve been missing, but it also created a problem.

The personal Deb was digging Facebook. The professional Deb was also digging Facebook. I friended writing, blogging and social media friends.  I mean, it’s all about promoting and pimping my stuff, right?

Here’s Where it Starts to Go Wrong…

I always say Facebook is the extended family picnic and Twitter is the rock concert. Something happened though, and it all got mixed up. All of a sudden folks are bringing the guitars and the amplifiers to my picnic and I can’t hear above the noise. I’m logging on to find nothing but promotional links from people I don’t recognize. Seriously, who are these people? Why are they looking at pictures of my son?

Yesterday I was chatting via email with a friend and she mentioned her morning sickness. When I congratulated her, she mentioned it was old news as she’s been talking about it on Facebook for weeks. That’s when I realized how much the noise and the links were getting in the way of what is really important. I love my social media life, but I need to have a place for me and the special people in my world.

Something had to change.

Blame it on Darren Rowse

So yesterday,  I came upon a post by Darren Rowse informing many of us we’d be purged from his Facebook account. It wasn’t personal, he assured us, but he wanted to have a place where he could spend time with his friends and family alone.  I didn’t blame him because I had been considering the same thing. Darren’s post cinched it for me.

I have a fan page for my blog network so folks can go there for updates, and I have my Twitter account where I (over)actively chat with many online friends. Surely that’s enough?

Yesterday, I began cleaning up my Facebook account. Most of the business acquaintances will be removed though there are some writing and social media friends I’m choosing to keep as Facebook friends because they became real friends as well. I hope those who I unfriended understand, though. As Darren said, it truly is nothing personal.

I’d like to be able to chat on Facebook without worrying what details are being released to the public.  I want to feel comfortable in sharing family or school stuff and photographs to family and friends.

Am I jumping on a bandwagon? Probably. I’ll admit I got the idea from somewhere else, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. When you work out of your home and there’s a blur between the virtual world and the real world, you don’t want to say “no” when folks ask to be your friends.

I need my quiet place.

That’s More Like It

I’ve so far un-friended about 25o people from my Facebook account. Today I was able to read actual news from my friends. It wasn’t lost in links, retweets and cause requests.

It’s good to be home.

Deb Ng is a writer, blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Follow her on Twitter @debng.

Why Do Small Businesses Need To Be Blogging?

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This is a guest post by Tara Anderson Marketing Manager at Lijit:

With the landscape of today’s media changing at a rapid pace, if your company doesn’t have a blog, it’s sure to be left behind. I know, I know, everyone tells you that. But perhaps by answering a few of the commonly asked questions I hear when discussing small business blogging, you’ll be more prepared to jump into the blogging waters.

Why do small businesses need to be blogging?

Short answer:  Because your competitor is.

Long answer:  Blogging can help you to generate leads and keep your current customers informed. And aside from the acquisition and retention of customers, blogs can assist with getting found on Google easier. Most search engines index blogs faster and more regularly than static websites because blogs are dynamic. Since you’re updating a blog frequently, search engines get notified and therefore your “Google juice” increases. What business doesn’t want to be ranked higher when a potential customer does a search?

Additionally, as someone who does marketing for a technology company, blogging has benefitted us in two ways. First of all, our blog has shown people the human side and personality of our company. This is huge when it comes to engaging our users and giving them a sense of our company culture. And secondly, we like to hear feedback from the people using our product. With our blog, we can do just that. Having the ability to talk with your users in an informal way is priceless.

I’m a little nervous about getting started. What should I take into consideration before launching my blog?

In my opinion, the most important thing to keep in mind before starting a company blog is resources…namely–time, money and ideas.

First of all, small businesses need to take stock of the talents they have internally. If there is someone working for the business who already has an interest in social media or perhaps really enjoys writing, you should consider that person a resource to help you with blogging. Maintenance is key with a blog and if you already have someone in-house who enjoys such things, you should take advantage of that. There’s nothing sadder than an abandoned blog.

Next comes the money part. Do you want to pay for your blogging platform or go with a free offering? There are pros and cons to each, obviously, and with the majority of paid versions come many more options for customization. Think about what you want to put into your blog financially and do your research.

Finally, there’s the task of deciding what you’re going to write about. Sit down for a brainstorming session and get creative. Your blog shouldn’t just be a mouthpiece to shout your message, but a place for you to feature your customers, discuss industry specifics and establish yourself as a thought leader.

Don’t forget about the fun. Talk about what conferences you’re going to or what meetups you’ll be attending. Ask others in the company what they want to be reading about on your blog and then get them involved.  Have a few ideas and blog posts in place before fully launching your blog…it’ll make things easier in the long run.

Now that you have your person, your platform and some topic ideas, are there any essential tools that I should be using to enhance my blog?

Here are my top three recommendations for any beginning blogger…

  • Images. When a reader comes to your blog and sees all text, it can look a little boring. Don’t be afraid to liven things up by illustrating your blog post with something visual. Or think about including pictures of your employees, your customers or your office. It all goes back to the personality piece I mentioned earlier.
  • Search. [Full disclosure: I work for Lijit and we provide a custom site search for bloggers.] Make sure your readers have a way to find all of that great content you’re creating on your blog. And if your site search is any good (*cough* Lijit *cough*) then it will provide you with analytics about what your readers are searching for, how they’re getting to your blog and what searches they’re doing that return no results. This is huge for better understanding your blog audience.
  • Comments. The whole point of a blog is to be able to have a conversation with your customers. If you don’t have comments enabled, then you’re shutting down that two-way street and your blog becomes another one-way marketing message with no engagement. Feedback and discussion are only going to happen if you let it. And now, with third-party commenting systems like Disqus and Intense Debate, you can have the option to moderate comments before they go live. This gives companies a small element of control over potential spammers and trolls.

What about some challenges I may run into with my blog?

I think people get overwhelmed with the care and feeding that goes into a blog. They launch their blog and then expect to have lots of readers and commenters the next day. You have to be patient because like anything else, blogging takes time. I suggest putting together an editorial calendar to plan out your blog posts a bit. Perhaps you want to do something fun every Friday or schedule interviews with customers every other week. Having a visual aid can be a fantastic organizing tool when dealing with the maintenance of a company blog.

Also, see what other people are doing with their company blogs. There is a lot of creativity floating around out there and sometimes it just takes opening yourself up to it in order for things to click. To illustrate my point, if a fiber equipment company and a concrete company can create successful blogs, so can you.

Any final thoughts on blogging?

Blogging is, by nature, a much more informal type of writing. Take some time to develop your voice and tone on the blog. The blog should sound more like a conversation than anything else. Readers aren’t there to read a white paper or to read something that’s overly technical. They are there to find out more about your company, to engage and the easier you make it for people to read and do that, the more successful your blog will be.

Whatever you do, stick with it because very soon, if you don’t have a blog, you will be one of the few.

What Type of Blogger Are You?

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In 2010 there are more blogs than ever. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and all sorts of niches and genres. They lecture and praise. They teach and they amuse.  I may not read or enjoy every single blog, but I can certainly appreciate them all. For each different type of blog there are also bloggers with very different styles.

Unique Voices are what makes the blogosphere go ’round.

What kind of blogger are you?

The Influencer: You’re an A-lister who gives solid advice to throngs of adoring fans. It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, they’re absorbing every word. One blog posts yields thousands of tweets, retweets and pingbacks. You could post the lyrics to “Yankee Doodle” and your fans would still find some sort of profound meeting. You help, you enlighten, and you share. You’re in demand to speak at conferences and everyone wants to guest blog for you. You take some knocks once in a while but your community believes in you and that’s all that matters. When you talk, people listen.

The Make Money Online Blogger: You make money online and you’re not afraid to share how you do it. You list your Adsense tips, your affiliate tricks and aren’t afraid of losing your community to sponsored posts and tweets. You’re controversial if only because you’re not subtle about how you’re earning your money. Some will say you’re spammy but they’re just jealous because they’re not earning $30,000 per month.

The Nice Blogger: Who can say anything mean about you? Everyone likes you. You respect your community and they respect you in return. You present your tips and advice in a non-condescending manner allowing your community to make informed decisions. You have no ulterior motives, you simply like to share.

The Do As I Say Not As I Do Blogger: You have rules for all occasions. Blog rules, social media rules, rules for your niche, yet you hardly follow any of them because mere rules don’t apply to you. Perhaps it’s because you don’t see that you’re breaking your own rules or perhaps you’re too busy being a Guru to realize what you’re doing. It’s all good though, no one takes posts like that seriously anyway.

The Tough Love Blogger: What the hell is wrong with all these pussy footing, nicey nice bloggers? Don’t they know that brutal honesty and tough love is better than  pleasantries? You tell it straight out like it is anyone who doesn’t get it is wrong, misguided or just plain dumb.

The Controversial Blogger: Who doesn’t love a good train wreck? Controversial Bloggers know the way to get comments and links is to ride the controversy or negativity wagon. It doesn’t matter that after the train wreck is cleared everyone goes home, Controversial Bloggers find a new bandwagon controversy once the spectator factor begins to dwindle.

The Style over Substance Blogger: You write with a flourish and have a pretty, pretty blog but you don’t have much to say.  Oh sure, you have a daily topic and while it hints at a point it never really gets to one. No worries though, folks like a good fashion show.

The Linkbait Blogger: Your blog is a cocktail of lists, funny images, controversy and content all pointing to one specific goal: growing traffic through links. This isn’t a bad thing, folks come to your blog for its entertainment value. Not every blog post needs to be serious and not every blogger has to teach.  However, your challenge is in finding ‘bait that will continue to give the people what they want.

The Coattails Rider: No one knew who you were until you found a few Influencers to hang out with. Now everyone knows your name, not because you have your own blog, but because of who your friends are.

The Guest Blogger: Not to be confused with the Coattails Rider, the Guest Blogger spends more time trying to build links to his blog by guest blogging than actually blogging his own stuff.

The Jack of All Trades Blogger: Also known as the Blogger for Hire, you don’t have your own blogs, you blog for others. You like it that way because you don’t have to deal with technical aspects or heavy promotion. You’re making money online, you’re just making more money for someone else.

The Guru Blogger: The difference between an Influencer and a Guru is that Gurus are usually self appointed. They use terms such as “expert” or “ninja” to describe themselves. Influencers build trust, Gurus insist on it.

The Swag Blogger: It’s not clear whether or not Swag Bloggers blog to receive swag or receive swag to blog. In any event, their blogs are bonanzas of product reviews and giveaways. Folks come by more to win prizes than to read the reviews, but it’s all good because you receive lots of free stuff.

The Discreditor: Your own blog isn’t growing as quickly as you’d like. Either creating quality content is too slow and difficult or you just don’t have enough original ideas. Instead, you spend your time discrediting other bloggers in your niche. If the blogosphere can’t see that you’re the best and everyone else sucks, why, you’ll just have to point it out to them. They’re not smart enough to figure anything out on their own anyway. So what if you’re negativity is driving people away. They don’t deserve to be a part of your community anyway.

The Paris Hilton: If the Paris Hilton has a blog no one know where it is or what it’s about. She has tens of thousands of followers on Twitter and her face is familiar at conferences and meetups. Yet, know one knows exactly why.  She could be a Coattail Rider or Guest Blogger, but then, no one has ever seen anything she wrote so we can’t say for sure. She’s famous for being famous..

The Cheerleader: The picture of positivity, The Cheerleader doesn’t believe in words such as “no” or “can’t.” Cheerleaders present tips that inspire, motivate and spur us action. The Cheerleader is popular both in blogosphere and in life mostly for her positive message.

The Hobbyist: The Hobbyist isn’t in it for the money or glory, he simply likes to blog. He’s entertaining and it’s clear there are no ulterior motives. He speaks what’s on his mind and has no defined niche. His community is made up of mostly friends and relatives, though occasionally he posts something that goes viral.

The Rambler: The rambler talks to hear himself talk. He likes tangents. There’s usually a point to his blog posts, he simply takes the scenic route in getting there. Brevity is for wusses.

The What About Me Blogger:  When am I going to be a famous blogger? When are people going to notice me? I post links to my content in everyone’s comments and they don’t even allow them to go through. I write to all the A-listers and ask them to link to me and they never do. WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE MY TURN. WHEN WILL I BE FAMOUS?????

What kind of blogger are you? Do you fit any of these descriptions or do you serve up a combination platter? Tell us about your blog and your method of blogging in the comments.

Deb Ng is a freelance writer, professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng.

You Need To Be A Social Media Evangelist

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I had never heard of Dan Grover until I found THIS POST on Techmeme this morning. To make his point Dan uses the example of a recent Read Write Web post that ended up being ranked high by Google under the search term “Facebook Login“. Guess what happened; tons of people clicked that search result and landed up on Read Write Web instead of Facebook and were baffled. They left comments asking why they couldn’t log in to Facebook, several were upset.

Dan explains that “noobs” have no idea how the internet works. He is right. He states most high school and college computer courses are a joke. He is right. It is a fantastic post and you should read the whole thing right now then come back.

Now if you went and read the post you are probably starting to see why this is relevant to social media, bloggers and podcasters.  Dan mentions that people can’t fathom how Twitter works because they have no idea how blogs work yet, what they are or why people write or read them. He is right again and this is the soap box I find myself on day after day after day.

This is the very beginning of this communication revolution. For all the hype and yes all of the amazing documented successes of new media we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the potential of new media. How could we when most of the world doesn’t even comprehend what it is or how it works?

In fact many of those noobs are suspicous or openly hostile to new media.

So if you are like me and you have seen how powerful new media is and can be. If you think these communication tools can make our world a better place then start teaching those noobs how to use it and how it works every chance you get. Become an evangelist for new media within your industry whatever that may be. Don’t get caught up in geek speak when your talking to people who don’t fundamentally understand what you are talking about. Without them we will never get where we are going.

If you are a blogger with any level of success you probably get asked to speak at events now dont you?

People have this weird misconception that you are an uber geek. Guess what, compared to them you are. Accept it. Get out there and talk to people and explain what new media is to them in as simple terms as possible. Give them real examples of how it works and how it could work for them.

Now unless you are speaking to a crowd of geeks I guarantee you at least half the room is lost five minutes in to your talk. Even those that are pretending to understand really don’t. Every talk I give make sure I include two points.

First, New Media is the simultaneous reinvention of television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books and movies all at the same time and it is happening right now.  That is an awesome concept for someone to get their head around. You can bet most people don’t believe it when I say it so I make sure to reinforce it as much as possible to let it sink in.

Second, nothing I say that day is going to help them understand it fully. They are going to have to experience it first hand. They have to start reading blogs, leaving comments, finding podcasts, watching YouTube, searching for things they are interested in joining the conversation.

I think if I can make those two points then I have done my job. Get them curious and learning, and pretty quickly they are going to be sucked in just like I was and if you are still reading this post most likely just like you were.

If you want to avoid making some common mistakes as a new media evangelist check out Chris Brogan’s talk at BlogWorld last year.

An Open Letter to B5media Bloggers

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As a blog network owner and former blogger for b5media, I have mixed emotions regarding the whole mass firing/restructuring thing. First things first. Firing bloggers with no notice and locking them out of their blogs was a crappy way to reward their loyalty. Some of the bloggers have been with b5 since day one and deserved much better treatment than that. I was beyond pissed when I learned how everyone had been treated.

By now you know it’s likely most, if not all, b5media bloggers are going to lose their jobs as new management spend their newly acquired funding building a content portal geared towards women in their teens and 20’s. I’m not really going to get into that now.

I want to respectfully request b5media bloggers stop and think about what they’re doing. Some are reacting in anger and making questionable choices. I don’t blame you one bit, but I’d like to offer you a few things to think about.

Find New Work

I was publicly called out for suggesting this on Twitter yesterday, but it looks like the existing b5media bloggers are going to need a new gig. Your options are to stick with b5 and hope they’re going to keep you on, which doesn’t seem likely seeing as how they began looking for replacement staff in the beginning of January, or you can take matters into your own hands and find some other work so if you do find yourself locked out of your blog with no notice it’s not such a terrible thing.

Stop Deleting Your Social Networking Accounts

Those Twitter accounts that you’ve been using to build relationships for all these years? Deleting them is like treating dandruff by decapitation. If you start your own new blog or if you find a new gig or if you want to put out feelers for new gigs, you’re going to need all those contacts, friends and followers. Delete the feeds if you don’t want b5media stuff coming through, but keep your Twitter account. You worked too hard to build those relationships.

Think Twice Before Publicly Trashing b5media and Announcing You’re Going to Send Confidential Documents

Look, I know you’re angry but lashing out at b5media isn’t going to do any good. Here’s the thing, many of you have clauses in your contracts preventing you from talking smack about b5. The more you trash them on Twitter, Facebook and  blogs, the more you’re setting yourself up for a lawsuit. You may think it might not happen to you, but we’re talking about a company who fired 50 people without warning or giving them a chance to say goodbye to the communities they worked so hard to cultivate. I’m not so sure this is something I’d put to the test.

Also, potential clients might want to give you a Google. If they see you trashing your past and current client they may have second thoughts about hiring you. I’m not a huge fan of burning bridges. In the blogosphere everyone knows everyone and stuff can always come back to haunt you. Please, think about what you’re doing.

Finally, I’d think twice about publicly telling bloggers you’re going to send them confidential documents. If you signed a non-disclose this could be grounds for a lawsuit. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pass along information if that’s what you feel is right, but I’d ix-nay on public disclosures.

b5media Owns the Blogs and Domains…but Check on Your Content

I know this is going to upset this people and I’m sorry because many of you are my friends. However…

b5media owns the blogs and the domains and can do what they like with them. I know you’re all emotionally invested in your blogs. No one knows this more than me. I didn’t leave b5media on bad terms at all, but one of the reasons I stuck with them as long as I did was that I was so emotionally invested in my blog I couldn’t bare to see it go to someone else.  It took a while, but I got over it.

b5media isn’t obligated to sell bloggers their blogs or domains. It’s not shady for them to use the content any way they see fit. It’s business. As a business person and blog network owner, I can’t fault them for trying to work the content to the best of their advantage. (My beef is with the slimy way they went about things).

With that said, you might want to ask for your content so you can start your own blogs. Check the date on your agreement because there many be a clause in place saying your can’t post your content elsewhere. However, if you worked with b5Media prior to this, you may be able to take your content with you. Make sure you can though, read your contract thoroughly before requesting content.

Even if you don’t get your content back, start your own blogs anyway. People came to visit you every day so there’s a 99.9% chance they’ll continue to follow you even apart from b5media. You can put up ads and keep all the revenue yourself. Design it however you see fit, post as much or as little as you want and tell everyone you’re in business. If you build it, they will come. It won’t happen over night, but if you put in a good effort, it’ll happen in time.

No Freelance Writing Job is Ever a Sure Thing

b5media is a freelance writing client and they come and go. No freelance gig is ever a sure thing. It sucks and it hurts and I don’t want to minimize that.

Instead of panicking and reacting in anger, take the time to plan a calm, logical strategy. Don’t risk your reputation on a company that showed no regard for the people that built them into what they are today. Take a deep breath, regroup and come back with a vengeance. Get together with some other bloggers and start a network, find new work or start your own blog.

In 2010 the possibilities are endless. You have valuable experience, take it and use it to your advantage.

Deb Ng is founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network.

Using Twitter Lists for Conferences

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One of the cool features that Twitter has added recently is their list facility. Unlike some of the changes, like the horrible Retweet implementation, this addition was almost universally applauded. Funnily enough I only saw it in action at the last Blog World.

It might seem like a minor piece of functionality, especially when the core Twitter service is still quite flaky. Do not be fooled by simplicity. This is one feature I think every conference or event attendee needs to grap with both hands, because it can make your enjoyment and networking much better.

Lists allow you to group and categorise Twitter users. So some people might have a list for “work buddies”, “Journalists” or “CEOs”. You do not even have to follow the people who are on your list, and lists can be private for your eyes only, so there is some stalking potential there too. Companies are using lists to follow competitors and prospects without having them twig that they are being followed.

For pre-conference planning I recommend you create a list a while before the event. Follow interesting speakers and the people you would like to meet while you are there. My next big event is SXSW, so I have created a small SXSW list here and there is a bigger list here from Scott Stratten. If you want to record in depth networking information you will want to create a file, folder, or networking spreadsheet but for just keeping track of people, names, gossip and who is going to be where this is a major bonus.

When you are at the event you can see who is meeting up, which talks are looking hot, what is happening in the talks you are missing, and who else you should be talking to. As you meet someone new, add them to the list – this saves you from the post-conference “who is this guy and why is he contacting me?” syndrome!

Once you are back you can go through your list and see who you should be following (if you are not already), and catch up with people who you enjoyed meeting. Also, a list is a good way to see any follow up, such as speakers sharing notes and slide decks, or any special offer announcements.

What do you think? Do you use Twitter this way? Got any other pre-conference social media tips? Please share in the comments …

Tips for Choosing a Sponsor for Your Blog

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Last spring I found myself out of a full time job and decided to work on building up my blog network over seeking more full time or client work. The network was doing well with Adsense and private ad sales were also coming through but I felt to truly profit I needed to seek my own sponsors. So I sat down and made a list of potential candidates. As I researched businesses and made lists, one place continued to stare out at me. It was a web content site similar to one that helped me get my start as a freelance writer ten years ago. As my blog network was geared towards freelance writers, I thought we had something to offer each other.

I already had a good relationship with this brand. They contacted me periodically to post jobs for ads and our exchanges were always pleasant. When I sent a proposal to my contact, he was more than receptive. A couple of months of negotiations ensued, but now they’re a proud sponsor and I’m happy to to provide a spot for them to advertise.

Here are a few things I learned about choosing sponsorship as a result of this partnership:

  1. It pays to have a thoughtful proposal in place to send to potential sponsors. Your sponsors (and their attorneys and advisers) will want to know demographics and statistics. They need to know if their ad is a good for your community. It’s not enough to send a letter. A proposal with actual facts and figures is necessary. Also, what can you do for them? Maybe advertising isn’t enough? Maybe they’ll want more in the way of promotion or sign ups.
  2. Make sure you don’t compromise the integrity of your community and blog, not to mention your own integrity. For example, my potential sponsor wanted me to write several posts each month about what it is like to work for them. I refused as that’s just spammy. We agreed on one initial post announcing our sponsorship and my personal experience with the program, plus an honest review of a conference they were putting together in the fall. Also, my contract doesn’t pay me for sign ups or new members, only advertising. I wanted writers to be able to make their own decisions, if I was paid per click or sign up I’d probably try harder influence their decision whether or not to write for this sponsor and that’s not what I wanted.
  3. Make sure they know you’re going to be honest. Fortunately I didn’t have to negotiate this one. During my first conference call with reps from my potential sponsor they insisted I was honest about my experience with them and didn’t want me to paint a rosy picture simply because they are paying to advertise on my blog. Knowing I can give an honest review and speak my mind makes them an ideal sponsor, in my book. If a potential sponsor won’t let you be honest, even if there are some negative points, walk. The last thing you want is to compromise your integrity.
  4. Add in a few points of your own - One thing I wanted was the ability to have first shot at breaking any news.  This company has offered several programs of interest to their vast writing community and for me to give this news first (before even the sponsor posted the news on their own site) gave me first shot at traffic and discussion.
  5. The sponsorship can go beyond ads – You can get more than advertising dollars from a sponsor. Many bloggers seek sponsors to help defray the cost of conferences, gadgets, web hosting and more. Make sure the sponsor is also getting something of value. For example, if they covering your conference costs offer to wear their shirt and hand out their flyers.  I will be wearing my sponsor’s shirt at SXSW as they will be helping to defray my costs.
  6. Always, always be transparent - Be honest about your sponsorship from the very beginning. There’s no way of getting around it. Let your community know you accepted a sponsor and why you did so.  There will still be a bunch who accuse you of being a shill, but at least you know there’s no mistake about what you’re doing.

Here are a few things to consider before seeking sponsorship:

  • People will think you’re a sell out – It’s going to happen. You can fight it or get over it. Some competitors may even lead the torch and pitchfork bridgade in trying to discredit you. However, it’s your community that truly matters. Keep them in mind and you’ll find the majority of them are very accepting, understanding and encouraging. As long as you’re upfront about it they’ll continue to trust you.
  • People will think you’re just a paid mouthpiece – This is difficult. I can’t talk about my sponsor without some writing me off as a paid mouthpiece. Even though I’m encouraged by my sponsor to be honest about my experience and relationship with them, a handful still believe otherwise. For example, my sponsor doesn’t require me to speak about them anywhere but on my blog. However, when I join a discussion on another blog or forum answering questions about the company, there are always those who call me out as a paid mouthpiece. Nothing I can do to stop that, so I won’t. Be prepared to encounter folks wishing to debate and discredit. Engage, don’t engage, the choice is yours.
  • Ads clutter up a blog – My blog network is heavily monetized which can be unattractive. I’m developing a some products to help bring in a more passive income so I won’t have to have a bunch of ads, but until then there’s no choice. Not unless I want to go back to client and full time work again. If you’re seeking sponsorship make sure you’re ready to handle the ads.

The benefits of sponsorship:

  • The money – Need I say more?
  • The relationships – I don’t have sponsor, I made some lifetime friends.
  • Getting involved with another community – I enjoy participating in the sponsor’s forum when I can and they’ve invited me to guest blog from time to time. This is my favorite part of the sponsorship. My sponsor also invited me to Southern California to attend their conference and I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
  • Other perks: My sponsor has offered to help defray the cost of conference attendance, and in return I’ll wear their shirt. Anyone who attends conferences knows they can run a several thousand dollars to attend, so I gladly take them up on this offer.
  • Traffic: My sponsor and I enjoy some cross traffic and link love.
  • Other sponsors: Other advertisers sought me out after my partnership with my sponsor. I turned down several as a conflict of interest, but enjoyed partnerships with many. One competitor even wanted me to sit on their board of advisers! I said no,but it was a nice offer.

Having this sponsorship has honestly been one of the best experiences of my blogging career. I made new friends, developed important relationships and learned to truly value my loyal community. Though they’re not my highest paying advertiser by any means, this sponsor and the people who work for them are some of the nicest people I’ve encountered…ever. That makes this relationship more valuable than money.

Did you seek sponsorship for your blog? Are you seeking sponsorship? If so, please share your experiences. How do you feel about blog advertising in particular?

Discuss…


Deb Ng is Founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network. If you liked this post, check out her 40 Lessons Learned Over 5 Years of Blogging.

Why You Should Disagree with Your Blogger (If You're Not Feeling the Love)

Author:

I just unsubscribed to a couple of  blogs. They were decent enough blogs with occasional discussion-worthy topics but their communities were kind of a drag. It  was difficult to get into any kind of interesting coversation.  The only comments allowed were positive “Oh I so agree with you” type of posts. Anyone disagreeing was labeled as a hostile and ignored or even deleted for being negative.

Now, I’m all for positivity. In fact, it’s my goal for the new year. No blog wars. No Twitter battles. No Facebook feuds. Positivity only. Last year featured enough toxic sniping to last a lifetime. However, I seem to have missed the memo that equated respectful disagreement with negativity.

This is what’s wrong with the blogosphere today. Everyone is supposed to blindly follow the appointed guru and not ask questions. Before everything turns into a giant kumbaya complete with group hugs, let me assure you all that it’s ok to disagree with your favorite blogger. I promise, as long as you’re respectful Chris Brogan or Darren Rowse will not ban you to the comment hall of shame. They welcome your point of view, even if it isn’t the same as their own. Jason Falls will not sentence you to eternal damnation for offering opposition on his social media blog and Liz Strauss will still smile and chat with you in the hallways of conference halls if you don’t share the same point of view.

Now, I’m not saying you have to be all Amanda Chapel about it, because loud mouthed attention seeking isn’t the same as respectful disagreement. However, if you have something to say, you shouldn’t feel as if you need to follow the crowd.

Go ahead. Tell your favorite blogger why you feel he missed the mark or why you don’t think she’s capturing the entire picture. Be nice about it. Don’t curse and get all loud. Offer respectful disagreement and watch the conversation take on a whole new direction. Most of us are geeks who didn’t go along with the crowd in high school anyway, so why do it as adults?

Debate is good. Debate is healthy. Debate and disagreement aren’t the same as fighting or being abusive.

To me, there’s nothing more boring than watching the same five people travel back and forth between each other’s same five blogs and do nothing but agree with each other. Why are so many bloggers afraid of a spirited discussion. Not a negative discussion but one that offers many different points of view? My assignment for you, dear blog readers, is to visit your favorite blogs until you find someone with whom you don’t quite agree. Offer a respectful rebuttal and see what happens. It’ll feel good, I promise.

Don’t agree? Tell me in the comments. I welcome your point of view even if it isn’t the same as mine.


Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network.

Why You Should Disagree with Your Blogger (If You’re Not Feeling the Love)

Author:

I just unsubscribed to a couple of  blogs. They were decent enough blogs with occasional discussion-worthy topics but their communities were kind of a drag. It  was difficult to get into any kind of interesting coversation.  The only comments allowed were positive “Oh I so agree with you” type of posts. Anyone disagreeing was labeled as a hostile and ignored or even deleted for being negative.

Now, I’m all for positivity. In fact, it’s my goal for the new year. No blog wars. No Twitter battles. No Facebook feuds. Positivity only. Last year featured enough toxic sniping to last a lifetime. However, I seem to have missed the memo that equated respectful disagreement with negativity.

This is what’s wrong with the blogosphere today. Everyone is supposed to blindly follow the appointed guru and not ask questions. Before everything turns into a giant kumbaya complete with group hugs, let me assure you all that it’s ok to disagree with your favorite blogger. I promise, as long as you’re respectful Chris Brogan or Darren Rowse will not ban you to the comment hall of shame. They welcome your point of view, even if it isn’t the same as their own. Jason Falls will not sentence you to eternal damnation for offering opposition on his social media blog and Liz Strauss will still smile and chat with you in the hallways of conference halls if you don’t share the same point of view.

Now, I’m not saying you have to be all Amanda Chapel about it, because loud mouthed attention seeking isn’t the same as respectful disagreement. However, if you have something to say, you shouldn’t feel as if you need to follow the crowd.

Go ahead. Tell your favorite blogger why you feel he missed the mark or why you don’t think she’s capturing the entire picture. Be nice about it. Don’t curse and get all loud. Offer respectful disagreement and watch the conversation take on a whole new direction. Most of us are geeks who didn’t go along with the crowd in high school anyway, so why do it as adults?

Debate is good. Debate is healthy. Debate and disagreement aren’t the same as fighting or being abusive.

To me, there’s nothing more boring than watching the same five people travel back and forth between each other’s same five blogs and do nothing but agree with each other. Why are so many bloggers afraid of a spirited discussion. Not a negative discussion but one that offers many different points of view? My assignment for you, dear blog readers, is to visit your favorite blogs until you find someone with whom you don’t quite agree. Offer a respectful rebuttal and see what happens. It’ll feel good, I promise.

Don’t agree? Tell me in the comments. I welcome your point of view even if it isn’t the same as mine.


Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network.

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