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June 2011

Guest Posting 101: Penning the Perfect Post

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Yesterday, I talked a little bit about why you should guest post in Guest Posting 101: An Introduction, but today, I wanted to get into the real meat of this series, starting with some information about penning the perfect guest post. I’ve actually written hundreds of guest posts (on behalf of myself and on behalf of clients) with varying degrees of success. Let’s look at what works…and what does not.

Post Content – Writing for Another Blog

The best guest posts are a fusion of styles. It is extremely important to remain true to yourself and your blogging style when you write a guest post, because you don’t want the reader to be shocked by something completely different when clicking through to your site. At the same time, the post has to work for the blog where you’re posting. Those readers won’t respond well to something completely strange and different (and you’ll have a hard time getting the blogger to agree to posting it).

When it comes to post content, here’s what you should consider:

  • Relevance:

Is the post you’re writing going to be relevant to the reader of the blog where you’re posting it? You want to show off your expertise, but if you write about parenting on a tech blog, you’re not going to be relevant for a large percentage of readers. Beware of mish-mosh blogs that except guest posts on any topic and don’t have a closely defined niche. You can get some SEO juice by posting on these sites, but unless they have a huge readership, you probably aren’t going to be relevant to 99% of the people who randomly land on the site.

  • Meet Expectations:

When readers visit a blog, they have certain expectations. If you want to write a successful guest post, you have to meet those expectations. We already talked about being relevant to the reader, but even if you do find a tie-in, the post might not be a good fit. Let’s go back to our parenting and tech examples. As a parenting blogger, you could absolutely write a post about the top ten video games for kids, which makes it relevant for a tech blog (if they cover video game news), but are you meeting the expectations of readers? If the blog never covers kid-friendly material, readers are probably not coming to that blog for that kind of advice, even if they are parents. I’m not saying that it won’t work at all…but proceed with caution. Make sure that when you surprise readers with content they don’t expect, it’s a delight, not a turn-off.

  • Quality

It might not be posted on your blog, but it will be posted with your name on it. It goes without saying that it should be high-quality. If you spent 10 minutes throwing together a guest post, it will show, and that only hurts your brand even if you can find a blogger willing to post it. Keep the quality as high as you would on your own blog.

Establishing Authority

One of the biggest mistakes that I see with guest posts is that the writer doesn’t establish authority. Being a friend of someone with authority is not enough!

Let me explain – this goes back to one of the points I made above: expectation. When a reader visits a blog, he or she doe so because the blogger is an authority in the niche (and also, in the best cases, entertaining or inspiring). No matter how entertaining or inspiring you might be, if you don’t establish the fact that you’re an authority too, they’ll likely just skim your guest post. What gives you the right to move from blog reader to guest poster? They’ve been reading the same blog as you – why are you rising above their knowledge to post something on their beloved site?

Show a little proof. Do you run an extremely popular blog in a related niche? Give us some numbers. Are you talking about making money? Don’t just give us vague figures – give us dollar amounts. Explain to us, either in your bio or in the post itself, why we should listen to you.

Free Milk

You want your guest post to be awesome…but you also don’t want to face the free milk problem.

You’ve heard of the saying, “why buy the cow when the milk is free” haven’t you? They usually aren’t talking about blogging, but it can be applied here. If your guest post is the ultimate resource on a topic, the readers might not really have a reason to actually click through to your blog. Give them that reason! At the end, tease the reader a little, telling them about some of the other awesome content they can find if they decide to visit you.

A word of caution – make sure that you site can back up your guest post. If you’re going to give others amazing posts that people love, your own site better be filled with amazing posts as well. It’s always disappointing for me when I click through to someone’s main site and it’s a lot of throw-away crap that doesn’t live up to the guest posts.

So, that’s what I got for penning the perfect post – what about you? If you’re a frequent guest poster, give us some of your best tips for writing a great guest post. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about linking within your posts in the best way possible!

Here are all the links in this series:

Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook is Launching “Something Awesome” Next Week

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Facebook

Are you ready for some Facebook awesomeness? CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters today at Facebook’s Seattle office, that the company is “launching something awesome” next week, according to a report by Reuters.

Of course neither he nor a Facebook spokesperson would give many details. Zuckerberg did say that the project has been developed at the 40-person Seattle office, which is Facebook’s only major engineering center outside of its Palo Alto, California headquarters.

With a tease like this comes speculation right? The technology blogs think it could be mobile products in development – possibly a Facebook app for the iPad or maybe a photo sharing app for the iPhone.

So, what could July 2011 hold for Facebook? No one knows for sure, but with Google launching Google+, Justin Timberlake taking a stake in MySpace and now “something awesome” from Facebook, it’s going to be one busy and possibly exciting summer for social media.

Now speculate away and tell us what your best guess is.

Twitter Reaches 200 Million Tweets a Day

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Twitter made an announcement today (June 30th) on its official blog that it has now reached 200 million tweets a day. It was just two and a half years ago that they reached 2 million tweets and a year ago they reached the 65 million mark. As you can see, this growth is nothing short of phenomenal!

Twitter put together an info graphic to give us some perspective on this milestone they’ve reached.

For perspective, every day, the world writes the equivalent of a 10 million-page book in Tweets or 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Reading this much text would take more than 31 years and stacking this many copies of War and Peace would reach the height of about 1,470 feet, nearly the ground-to-roof height of Taiwan’s Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world.

It’s hard for a person to wrap their brain around this and the fact that a billion tweets are sent every 5 days. Amazing. Just amazing.

They also gave us some insights into what the world has been tweeting about for the first half of 2011. It’s no surprise that trending topics such as Charlie Sheen and #tigerblood were among the pop culture list and William and Kate were among the News/Events most trending.

You can see the entire list here.

How many of those 200 million tweets a day do you send? I definitely add my fair share.

Overstock Joins Amazon in Pulling California Affiliate Programs

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Overstock.com has joined Amazon in the mass exodus to drop California affiliates and avoid charging sales tax to consumers in that state – all as a result of a new Internet state tax law. Who will be next? And what will happen to California bloggers, podcasters, and other sites who rely on this revenue as income?

While a huge majority the 25,000 affiliates won’t, or can’t afford to, up and leave the state – many will have no choice, especially those with a larger amount of employees.

“This law won’t impact Amazon that much but it is a crisis for website owners who make revenue by placing ads on their websites for thousands of online retailers,” says Rebecca Madigan, executive director of the Performance Marketing Association.

Experts say it could impact 20-30% of small business website revenue – but I think it depends on the industry and blog. Some websites will see their income slashed completely, while others won’t even see a bump. Review sites rely heavily on their affiliate advertising, while entertainment blogs rely mostly on advertising sales and Google Adsense.

And who knows if it will actually help the state of CA? Proponents of the tax claim the new law will raise $317 million in revenue a year. But other states have seen quite the opposite. Those that have implemented similar tax bills have seen the entire thing backfire, says John Henchman of the Tax Foundation. In fact, Rhode Island officials reported that their overall tax collections fell when the affiliate contracts were terminated.

How is this new law impacting you? Do you live in a state with a similar Internet sales tax law? Are you concerned that your state may implement it next?

Image Source: SXC

Happy ‘Social Media Day’ & New World Records!

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Today marks the second annual Social Media Day, started by Mashable last year (2010). Meetups and organizations are sponsoring get-togethers across the globe. Are you heading to any events?

Coinciding with this day to celebrate the advent and growth of Social Media, Guinness World Records is announcing some of the latest social media world records!

  • Most likes on a Facebook page: 47,194,601 on Facebook’s own Facebook page. 2nd place is Zynga’s Texas Hold’em Poker page (45.78 million likes). 3rd place is Eminem (42.05 million likes). 4th place is YouTube (40.44 million likes). 5th place is Lady Gaga (39.49 million likes).
  • The Most “disliked” video on YouTube: Justin Bieber’s music video for “Baby”, with 1,490,076 “dislikes”.
  • Most content ingested by an online video service: An average of 70.49 hours per minute, achieved by Ustream.

Other current social media Guinness World Records include:

  • Fastest Time to reach 1 million followers on Twitter: 25 hours 17 minutes by Charlie Sheen.
  • Most likes on a Facebook item: On the official page for Lil Wayne (668,198 comments on a post made on February 15, 2011 – which was made as an attempt to set the record for the “Most likes on a Facebook item in 24 hours”)
  • Most followers on Twitter: Lady Gaga with 11,259,372 Twitter followers.
  • Most “likes” on a Facebook page in 24 hours: Frito-Lay on April 11-12, 2011 with 1,571,161 likes.
  • Most “liked” video on YouTube: Judson Laipply’s “Evolution of Dance”.

Apple’s App Store Now Has Over 100,000 iPad-Exclusive Applications

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ipad

The original iPad launched on April 23, 2010 and now, according to MacStories, the Apple App store has over 100,000 iPad-exclusive applications. That’s quite a milestone to reach!

Apple and third party developers have set a record with this number. It took them only 453 days to reach 100,000+ apps, which none of their rivals have been able to come close to. Why is Apple’s App store so popular and widely used? Mainly because it’s easy to use, regularly updated and contains a wide variety and large number of apps.

How did MacStories know about this number? It showed up through Apple’s App Store on his iPad, showing 100,161 available apps.

You may be wondering how long it took the iPhone to reach this number of apps. The app store launched on July 10, 2008 and reached this same milestone in 482 days.

What is next for Apple’s App Store? Well, 200,000 apps of course!

For all of you iPad users, what are your favorite iPad-exclusive apps and which ones do you use the most?

Curation: The Blogger’s Ally

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… by paper.li

What is content curation?

Simply said, online content curation is the organizing, filtering, presenting and sharing of the most relevant digital content for a specific audience. Good content curation requires both technology and people working together. Only by adding “the human element” can you truly bring relevance and context to content.

We often see that content curation is misunderstood, overlooked, or even dismissed in a bloggers’ content development plan because the benefits have not been made clear.

As a blogger your unique value proposition to your readers is the expertise that you provide in a niche or micro niche. People have found their way to you based on recommendation and interest in your area of knowledge and they trust your opinion.

The addition of content curation to your content development strategy can help you strengthen your position as a knowledge holder as well as provide additional value to your readers.

A few good reasons to curate:

  • Strengthen your reputation: Curation further strengthens your position as the “go-to” person in your niche or area of expertise. You elevate your status in the eyes of your audience by pointing them to good content discovery.
  • Saves you time: Keep your readers engaged with the content you would like them to discover and win time in between writing your posts. You off-set your down time with a mix of interesting content.
  • Reinforce loyalty: Provide your readers with fresh and valuable content. Good content is time consuming and not always easy to find. They will remember you for pointing them to it.
  • Brand visibility: Brand managers are looking more and more to niche markets to connect with users. Compelling content can elevate your visibility by building the bridge between them and their users.

A few curation tips to remember:

  • Keep it focused: keep your content focused on your niche and your area of expertise. Good curation is about quality, not quantity.
  • Prefer quality over quantity: readers place phenomenal amount of value on the discovery of good content. Take the time once to research quality content sources, develop focused twitter lists and develop a good query.
  • Keep it human: Good curation is not about automation. Technology, algorithms and data intelligence are the tools that make it easier for us to curate and provide value to our audiences. However, it takes the human touch to fine tune the message.
  • Be aware of the echo chamber: It’s easy to remain amongst specialists in one field. The outcome after time can be tunnel vision. Stay within the realm of your subject area, but weave your interest graphs and networks to allow also for sporadic discoveries that stretch to unknown territories.

Content curation helps bloggers put relevant content in front of the perfect audience. It provides you with an additional value proposition to your content strategy as well as a natural extension to your social media blueprint.

Good content curation requires the “human element”. By taking the time to tailor your message through curated content you can help strengthen your position amongst your peers, and your readers, and helps further cement your position yourself as an invaluable “go-to” resource.

Paper.li is a content curation service that enables people to publish newspapers based on topics of interest to share with, and be discovered by, other like minded people.

Learn more about our services on our blog, meet our publishers on our community site and follow us on Twitter @smallrivers

Did You Get Your Google+ Invite?

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Yesterday, Google opened their first wave of invites for Google+. Did you get yours? Yeah, me neither. It appears they gave a few invites to the press, who were able to invite a few others to come test it out. (Some even figured out how to invite 500+ people.) For those of you unfamiliar with Google+, it basically turns Google into one giant social network.

After the floodgates of people accepting their Google+ invites opened, Google shut the door on anymore, at least for now. Here’s a note from Google:

We’ve shut down invite mechanism for the night. Insane demand. We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way. Thank you all for your interest!

For any who wish to leave, please remember you can always exit and take your data with you by using Google Takeout.

It’s your data, your relationships, your identity.

Mashable did a great write-up after testing out Google+ and you can check out their thoughts on it here. If you did get an invite and were able to test out Google+, feel free to give us your feedback on it in the comment section.

BlogWorld is Thrilled to Welcome Our New Blogger – Julie Bonner

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BlogWorld is thrilled to announce that Julie Bonner has joined our team of internal bloggers – covering the latest in social media news and updates!

Julie Bonner I’ve known Julie for … well forever (at least in the world of blogging). At least 4 years now! We first met as bloggers for the entertainment channel at b5media.

Then we had sort of an odd thing happen. I wrote about Junior Celebs. She wrote about Disney. b5media decided those two blogs should be combined, and they kind of forced us to become co-bloggers. Imagine our surprise! As many of you can relate to, co-blogging can be difficult. You really do have to like the other blogger, get on a schedule, make sure you are not covering (or competing for) the same topics. Especially when you’re posting several times a day like we both were.

Typically you get to choose your own co-blogger. This wasn’t the case. BUT – it worked out extremely well. Julie and I immediately got in a groove of what topics we would cover, and we were off without a hitch. A little while later the company decided to split the blogs back out again (let’s face it, the teen entertainment space is pretty hot!) but Julie and I remained friends long after.

And when we were both let go from the company – we immediately joined forces and created our own blog at modOration.com. Independently we both formed other blogs – one of Julie’s most successful being ToyXPlosion.com. Both sites had rapid growth (both hitting over 100,000 pageviews a month in less than a year) and Julie attributes that to consistent writing, making connections with companies and PR firms and of course, social media!

Julie has an amazing way of connecting with her audience and scoping out the most important and relevant information. So, please welcome her as she culls all of the news sources to bring us the latest social media information and releases.

You can learn more about Julie and follow her on Twitter!

15 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Offensive Content

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge link of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Offensive Content

Offensive content is a pretty broad topic, but one that I love writing about. Should you curse on your blog? Should you worry about being politically correct? Do you tell people who don’t like what you post to shove it or do you try to make all members of your community as comfortable as possible? What about your social media accounts – should you treat that differently than you treat your actual blog? And who decides what is offensive and what is not?

My answers to these questions might not be the same as yours – and that’s okay. When it comes to offensive content, it’s all about doing what is right for you and your brand. It’s not always an easy question to answer, but reading others’ opinions about it can help you look at the debate from all facets. So, without further ado, let’s see what some brilliant bloggers out there have to say about offensive content.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

OMG: F**K, Sh*T, or Worse in Your Corporate Social Media by Maria Pergolino

I really like this post because it talks about the offensive content problem not just from a blogger or online persona perspective, but from a business perspective. If you’re a business owner, be aware of you your employees are representing you online! After checking out this post from Maria, head to Twitter to follow her @InboundMarketer.

Social Objects: The Frickin’ Art of Cussing by Troy Janisch

Troy’s post is awesome because even though I’m someone who doesn’t shy away from swear words on my own blog, I whole-heartedly agree with him that there needs to be an art to it. In this post, he talks about a piece of artwork that included a dirty word and why it got a reaction from people. It’s about being effective – and frankly, as he says, most of the time, frickin’ does the job. Check out the post and then follow Troy on Twitter @socialmeteor.

1 Way to Keep From Offending Your Readers by Richard W. Scott

I won’t spoil it for ya – if you want the one without-a-doubt way to avoid offending your blog’s readers, you have to click through to Richard’s post. It’s a good one; you won’t be disappointed. I usually like to link to a person’s Twitter profile here, but I couldn’t find one in this case…so, if you’re out there, Richard, let me know and I’ll add it!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about offensive content? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: List-Building

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

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