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February 2012

The Ten Annoying Social Media Friends We All Have

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Just a bit of goofy fun for today, mostly because it’s my birthday and I wanted to spend it taking silly pictures of myself. If you read one of these descriptions and think “I don’t think that applies to any of my friends…” it’s probably you. (And we love you anyway.)

Getting messed up at 10 AM because I don't have a job, mofos! WOOO!

Annoying Friend #1: The Chronic Partier

You never quite figured out that Facebook doesn’t need to know when you get so drunk that you throw up all over the bed. So wasted that you peed in your bed…again? Who among your Twitter friends doesn’t need to know that?! Your persistent bad grammar and constant need to post silly pictures of yourself makes us cringe, and although we often try to hint that it’s very hard to remove stuff once posted online, you never seem to apply that tip to your life. It’s beer-o-clock somewhere! TOGA PARTY!

Why We Still Love You: Okay, you might party more than we did at our college worst, but you’re a fun guy/gal. And although we hate to admit it, we sometimes envy your carefree spirit…at least a little. But most of all, we can’t bring ourselves to hit the delete button because then we wouldn’t get to see all the stupid crap you do anymore, and that’s part of our daily entertainment. You might make us roll out eyes, but you’re anything but boring.

Don't worry about me, guys. Somehow I'll manage to carry on even though I just got a hangnail...

Annoying Friend #2: The Person with the Worst Luck in the World

Every day is worst than the last for you, my emo friend. When we see you in real life, you seem relatively happy – at least, not worse off than the rest of us – but online, your life is falling apart. Today your car wouldn’t start. Yesterday, your dog ate your shoes. The day before that, your loud neighbors kept you awake at night. AND IT WAS THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD. Somehow, you fail to mention all the happy things that happen in your life and instead focus on telling us why we need to pity you and constant confusing us with your Facebook messages. If you post something sad, are we supposed to hit the “like” button to show support? Or is that seen as liking that something bad happened to you?

Why We Still Love You

We still love you because…we still love you. You’re a dear friend, so we can’t bring ourselves to unfriend/unfollow you even though we stopped genuinely caring about how “bad” your life is every single day. Be careful. If you cry wolf too many times, one day when something bad actually happens to you, people might not notice.

You'll all miss me when I'm gone. Because I am NOT coming back. Seriously.

Annoying Friend #3: The Constant Quitter

We know, we know. You’re quitting Facebook/Twitter/email/whatever. YOU ARE DONE. And this time it is for real. Just like last time. And the time before that. And the time before…

What prompted it this time? Lack of phone calls from friends in real life? An annoying “stalker”? A need to “clear your mind.” Whatever it is, we don’t really sympathize anymore. We know you’ll be back.

Why We Still Love You

When you’re not going on some pretentious rant about how social media is for fools or we aren’t your real friends unless we actually call you to hang out in real life, you’re actually pretty cool. Those in-between times make it worth sitting through your adult temper tantrums. We’ll see you again in a few weeks.

OMG LOL BBQ!

Annoying Friend #4: Lovable Idiot

You make us facepalm more than all of our other friends combined. You might be one of the most ditzy people we know, and you somehow feel the need to share everything on social media, from p’offed statements about how horrible your babydaddy treats you to pictures of the seventh car you’ve wrecked this year to updates on your yeast infection. Your posts push the character limit and are sometimes unreadable due to ur need 2 talk lik dis, but at least you aren’t a malicious person.

Why We Still Love You

Your status updates might be a little crazy, but they’re also pretty funny. You have great stories and your daily drama is as addicting as a soap opera. We actually do care about you, but you also keep us entertained. Especially when you talk about your on-again-off-again relationship with The Chronic Partier. We believe in you, though. Someday, we hope you’ll mature a little and will actually find your way in life.

YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS OUT!!!

Annoying Friend #5: The Link Maniac

We have no idea what’s going on in your life. You could be living in Peru and raising emus. You could have ten kids living on a ranch in Texas. You could be next door to us selling drugs for all we know. And we don’t know about your life because all you post is links. We can respect your privacy, but when you go on a bender, it takes over our entire stream and we want to bang our heads in frustration.

Why We Still Love You

You might overdo it sometimes, but your links are actually pretty interesting a lot of the time. And who are we kidding? You’re our primary news source.

Oooo, you can have this too for just three easy payments of $49.99. BUY TODAY!

Annoying Friend #6: The Door to Door Salesman

What are you peddling this week? You latest blog post? An affiliate product? Some charity event? You ask too much! Social media is great for content creators, but at the same time, you never seem to just chill and live your life. You just want us to buy or click or attend an event or like or subscribe or whatever. Following you is like a chore!

Why We Still Love You

We might get sick of the constant sell, but when you do hit it on the money, it’s something we actually need or want to know about. We can’t bring ourselves to quit you because of the valuable stuff you’ve sold us in the past…but be careful because you’re on probation.

Who needs a picture of ME as an avatar? Look at my fluffy baby from THIS angle!!!

Annoying Friend #7: The New Parent / Crazy Pet Lover

Oh. My. God. Your infant moved a few inches to the left. GRAB THE CAMERA. Listen, we get it. You’re a new parent. Or you’re a crazy pet lover. But do you need to post 2139 pictures every day? Do we have to know about it whenever your child burps or your dog licks your face? Put the camera down for the love of god so you can actually enjoy time with your child and pet…and so we can actually read our stream without another picture that looks exactly like the last twent you posted.

Why We Still Love You

We understand. We’ve all been there – passionate about a new baby or new pet (or even a new inanimate object like a new car). You’re just bursting with pride. And while your baby pictures might get boring after we’ve seen the first thousand, we do know that you’ll calm down eventually and maybe even start telling us some entertaining stuff your growing kid does…or even better, what else is going on in your life.

Oh honey bunny, I wuvs you sooooo much!

Annoying Friend #8: The Emotional Couple

Yes, it’s very special that you love one another. Yes, that picture of you kissing is super romantic. Yes, it’s cute that you like and retweet everything the other person says.

No, actually, it isn’t.

We might love love and want to see you happy, but there’s a line you have to draw. I don’t need to see another picture of you shoving your tongue down her throat and if he retweets you, you don’t have to retweet that to say thanks and he certainly doesn’t need to retweet that to say “no problem.” It’s a never-ending loop and I think that’s how black holes start.

We We Still Love You

When you’re not virtually groping one another, you’re actually interesting people. And we’re hoping that once the puppy love wears off, you can still be happy and share the important thing in your relationship, like an engagement, without sharing the vomit-inducing cuddly stuff that’s better left in private.

I'm so tough that I'm going to flick off my WEBCAM. Take that, society!

Annoying Friend #9: The Honey Badger

You don’t give a sh*t. We know, we know. Honey badger don’t care about his followers, his partner, his government, his roommate, his family, his job. You’re all for anarchy and chaos. You know, as long as you still get your morning Starbucks.

We We Still Love You

You have good ideas and we admire how passionate you are, even if your constant rants and assertions that you don’t care about society induce eyeball rolls. Hopefully, someday you’ll channel it into something good, rather than just acting like you’re smarter than everyone around you and complaining about a status quo that you’re doing nothing to change.

The beautiful, amazing, beyond-awesome Mama Boyer, who has never once logged into Facebook.

Annoying Friend #10: Mom

Yep. Sorry mom, but you’re kind of annoying. How can we giggle at dirty jokes and let the occasional curse word slip through if mom is going to read it??? Ugh, setting up lists and remembering to use them to control what you see is so annoying. Not to mention that we’re constantly living in fear of what embarrassing story about our childhood you might share next. And the fact that you’ve awkwardly friended all of my friends too…I think I’m going to be sick.

We We Still Love You

Because you bake awesome cookies and make our beds when we visit for the weekend. Duh.*

And okay, also because you hold us accountable. Your presence reminds us that it’s a slippery slope to becoming The Chronic Partier or The Emotional Couple or someone equally annoying. Because you’re looking over our shoulder, we stay classy…and it’s an ego boost that you like every single thing we say. Thanks, mom!

*And because MY mother isn’t actually on Facebook/Twitter. Thank freaking god. Though some of my friends’ moms have friended me, which might as well be the same thing.

UPDATE: People have already started adding to this list with their own “annoying friends” descriptions. You guys are seriously cracking me up. Leave your own addition with a comment below!

Social Media for Small Businesses with “No Time”

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I completely understand why small business owners are worried about the time factor when it comes to social media. If you aren’t careful, networks like Facebook and Twitter can suck away several hours from your day, and few small businesses have the resources to allow that to happen. But don’t feel so overwhelmed with the demands of social media that you don’t give it any time at all. Even if you only have a few hours a week for you or your employees to spend on social media, you can get your company online and reap the benefits of these new platforms. Here are a few tips to help you get started with social media, even if you aren’t ready to devote you entire day to it:

  • Pick one to three sites and do them well.

New social networks and bookmarking sites are popping up every day, so it’s easy to get frustrated with the time it takes to be active on all of them. Instead of joining ten of them and doing a bad job at staying up-to-date on all of them, pick one to three sites to join and do them well. I think all small businesses should have a page on Facebook, so that should be a top priority for you, and beyond that, you can also join Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Foursquare…the list goes on and on. Pick the networks that make sense for you – go where your customers are.

  • Make checking your social media sites part of your daily routine.

Every morning when you check your email, check your social media profiles as well. Respond to any complaints, thank people for compliments, and make announcements. Do this again mid-afternoon. You don’t have to live on social media; you just have to check it once or twice a day. If you make it part of your routine, it won’t seem like such a big hassle.

  • Share something new once per day.

If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on social media, don’t sweat it. Simply share something new once per day, whether that is an announcement about your company (“Hey guys, we started dipping our new chocolate-covered strawberries today!”), an interesting article you read relating to your industry (“Men’s Health has an awesome article about the health benefits of chocolate on their site right now.”), or a poll/question for your readers to answer (“Out of all the candies we make, what’s your all-time favorite?”). Stuck on what to share? Post a picture (“Here’s a snapshot of our test kitchen.”) or share “insider” information (“Today at the office, we’re testing out new lollipops. Yum!”). People love behind-the-scenes looks at their favorite companies.

  • Streamline your response to complaints.

Customer complaints are one of the biggest challenges in any business, and social media makes it extremely easy for people to take their complaints public. Instead of responding to all of them in such a public setting, streamline the process and take it private. People want to know that you’re listening, but a lengthy back-and-forth on Twitter probably isn’t how you want to spend your afternoon. Instead, make your response, “I’m sorry for *insert issue here*. Can you email *insert email address here* so I can help you?” or something similar. That way, any of your employees with access to social media can respond to the complaint while allowing you to handle the individual responses privately.

  • Hire employees you trust – and give them all access to social media.

Many of your employees probably already use social media. Give them access to your profiles or allow them to speak on behalf of the company so that you have more of a presence online. Of course, you’ll need to set some policies in place (what to talk about or not talk about, how to distinguish who is updating if multiple people have access to one account, etc.), and you definitely need to trust your employees if they’re going to be using social media on your behalf. But if you don’t have a lot of time, getting the entire company involved is a great way to make sure your company is represented online as much as possible.

Five Tips to Help You Land Your First Speaking Gig

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One of the speaker sessions at BWENY 2011

In just over two weeks, I’ll be speaking at Marywood University about using social media after graduation (in addition to blogging here, I also run a career advice blog at After Graduation). It’s officially my first paid speaking gig, and I couldn’t be more excited! Speaking gigs are a great way to both build your brand and make some money with your blog. So how did I land a speaking engagement and how can you do the same? Here are five tips you can use to start speaking about your niche:

1. Look outside conferences and other events.

Of course we love receiving your speaker applications here at BlogWorld and other events (SXSW, BlogHer, etc.) are also great for people hoping to speak. However, for every one open session organizers are trying to fill, there are dozens or even hundreds of speakers who apply. Instead, think about other places where groups of people gather and would be interested in what you have to teach. For example, I’m speaking to a college class. You could speak at high schools, churches or religious meetings, events outside the social media industry, women’s groups, businesses, and more.

2. Don’t wait for people to come to you.

You’re going to be sitting at home waiting by the phone for a long time if you’re waiting for people to approach you about speaking. Yes, it happens, especially if you have speaker page on your blog. If you’ve never been a speaker before, though, you have to go out and actively find opportunities to speak, not just wait for people to contact you. I was proactive about contacting Marywood’s professors to land my first gig.

3. Have an “in” where you’d like to speak.

When you’re unproven as a speaker, it helps to have an in wherever you want to speak. My sister is a student at Marywood and I’ve also had interns at this school, so it just made sense. The professor who is allowing me to speak to her class knows me, so even though I don’t have prior experience, she’s willing to give me a chance. I can use this opportunity to record my talk, which will help in getting future gigs, even when I don’t have an in. Who do you know? Maybe your best friend’s company would benefit from a short session with you. Maybe your mom is the president of a business organization that is looking for speakers at their monthly meetings. Maybe your spouse is part of an alumni group who would love to hear you speak.

4. Be relevant.

If you blog about real estate but are looking for a speak about how to use Twitter, there’s going to be a disconnect for event organizers. Now, you might be more than capable of speaking about Twitter, and you might even be the best person to talk about Twitter, but unless you have some social proof in this area, it’s going to be a difficult sell. For your first speaking gig, try to find an opportunity that is extremely relevant and closely related to your experiences. I run a blog about career advice for 20-somethings and work for a new media conference. I’m speaking about new media to a group of students. That isn’t a coincidence.

5. Lower your expectations a little.

Sure, we all want to be keynoters for events in our industry, but you need to work up to that. You probably aren’t going to get paid $10,000 and speak to a room of thousands of people your first time. You may have to volunteer as a speaker and you may have a very small audience. That’s okay. You’re building a speaking resume so you can get paid more and speak to larger groups next time. Dream big…but start small.

Have you spoken to groups before? Tell us about your first gig and leave some tips for people who’ve not yet landed any speaking gigs!

Top Facebook Tips with Amy Porterfield (#BWEchat Transcript)

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amy porterfield

My head still hurts from this week’s #BWEchat – but in a good way! Our special guest was Amy Porterfield (@AmyPorterfield), who dropped tip and tip about using Facebook in conjunction with your blog. You can read the full transcript here, but I wanted to take a moment to compile her top tips and the tips other attendees gave to help you boost your presence on Facebook!

Q & A with Amy

First, let’s go over the questions we asked Amy during the chat, along with the helpful advice she gave to attendees (keep in mind this is a Twitter chat and I’m copy/pasting tweets directly, so answers are limited to 140 characters or given in multiple tweets)!

BlogWorld Expo: Big brands are on Facebook, why do content creators need to be on Facebook too?

Amy: Facebook is the perfect platform for content creators. When done right, FB will help you attract loyal, interested readers. PLUS, when you get conversations started around your content on FB, you will virally attract a larger audience to your site. When I post on my blog, I craft a few “teaser posts” for FB w/ links to my blog. This gets people curious enough to click! I also create short videos for FB to tease my content then link to my blog – mix up the media to attract different audiences.

BlogWorld Expo: Amy do you find people respond better to video than text?

Amy: On FB, I’ve seen users respond to and share photos the most. But second to that, video always grabs attention.

BlogWorld Expo: When we create FB pages for our blog, etc. what are the best ways to get people to “like” said Facebook page?

Amy: To get more “Likers” – get active outside of Facebook. Be interviewed, guest blog post, do webinars – this all drives FB LIKES! Also, Facebook Engagement Ads are a FANTASTIC way to attract your target audience to your Page. (More here: http://t.co/8Pfhl0ej). To get more FB Fans, consider adding a LIKE BOX to your website. It’s increased me FB Fans by 30%+! Wisestamp is a free tool that lets you pull in your latest FB post to your gmail email sig. Great way to get more fans!

BlogWorld Expo: It’s frustrating when you drop a discussion topic and no one responds. How do you get folks to participate?

Amy: To get more engagement on your FB page, ask questions that are easy to respond to-responses that can be short get more engagement. When you want more engagement on your FB Page, add a question to the front or end of your post, never bury it in the middle. On FB, don’t post & ditch! If u ask a question or start a conversation, stick around & jump into the conversation you started. It may seem silly to some, but quotes are hot on FB. But when you post an IMAGE w/ a quote in it, u can get massive engagement. Fill in the blank FB Posts are always a hit. Make your fill in the blank post entertaining & you will see even more engagement. Important: Most people are not on FB to do business with you. Meet your audience where they are at and mix biz with personal.

BlogWorld Expo: What is your #1 best Facebook tip?

Amy: My #1 best FB Tip: BE CONSISTENT. Show up daily. Constantly add value. Always engage. Just keep at it and you’ll see results.

Your Questions for Amy

The floor was also open for you to ask Amy questions about Facebook. Here are some of your questions – and her responses!

@GlendaWH: When you use “teaser posts”, do you also use NetworkedBlogs which also posts new blog posts to your FB Wall?

Amy: I’m not a fan of apps that pull in blog posts to a FB Page. Crafting an update about your latest blog gets MUCH more engagement.

@ideabloke: How do you feel about controversial topics to gain engagement/virality?

Amy: I’m not a fan of posting just to be controversial to create friction. But if it happens organically, I think it’s good!

@TomMartin: What’s your best suggestion for small companies that are having trouble getting traction?

Amy: Write a list of 10 hot topics (niche related) u know your target audience will engage with. This helps with FB posting. This list will help you stay on track and will get your creative juices flowing for some good ideas for posting. Also, check out your “external referrers” to see what’s already working for you. More here: http://t.co/SXYzqalw

@GlendaWH: After writing a blog post, how many teaser updates do you post? How far apart?

Amy: If you blog once a week, I would create 2-3 – & spread them out thru-out the week. And post these on Twitter and LI too!

@betterbloggingw: What’s the best way to separate ur Facebook personal profile from the business fan page?

Amy: With all the Timeline changes, I think you should not keep them separate. I say mix in biz with personal on both.

Advice from You Guys and Gals!

Amy wasn’t the only one with great tips to share. Here are some gems from other attendees:

@just_kate: Facebook is a great way to get people connected you content, especially of you have differs content types

@wordwhacker: FB is perfect for content creators, those who actually say something instead of just sell something. Also, FB is where our friends are. Followers too. But friends we talk to in more depth.

@connectyou: Facebook is where most are hanging out & they feel comfortable. If you provide both fun & value, it’s win/win!

@davekean: Because it’s far more familiar to many, FB seems to make people more comfortable interacting than other forms of SM

@ideabloke: I learned to mix up different content types as per @AmyPorterfield and it actually gets my engagement up!

@LindaSherman: Video personality has to do with practice, just like presenting does. Do more and more YOU will show up

@onezumi: Blog comments end up on Twitter, FB, etc, but I feel having a real, recognizable person behind what we do ties it together. The comments might not be all in one place, but if influence is tied to the person in charge you can still make many gains

@patdavis3: I also really like ‘caption this photo’ updates – they always go well

Thank you everyone for the great advice – and an especially big THANK YOU to Amy for sharing her Facebook wisdom! Next week, Simon Salt will be with us to talk about Pinterest for men, so I hope to see you all there (Wednesday at 9 PM EST).

Got a tip to share about Facebook but didn’t get to attend #BWEchat? Leave it as a comment below!

BlogWorld Welcomes Shane Ketterman as Conference Director

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BlogWorld's new Conference Director, Shane Ketterman

We’re so pleased to welcome a new member to the BlogWorld team.  Shane Ketterman will be taking over Conference Director duties, effective immediately. Shane, who helped to coordinate several conferences for Cisco, will be planning our educational content and helping to find the best speakers. As you know, we take our educational content seriously and we’re confident Shane will continue to make sure our attendees receive a valuable experience.

Wait. What? A new Conference Director? But what about Deb?

Don’t worry – I’m still with the BlogWorld team, but I’m moving over to head all community and social media efforts as the Director of Community.   I’ll also be behind the helm at all of our social networks and working on some fun campaigns and activities for our community. Oh and y’all aren’t rid of me yet because I’m going to be working very closely with Shane as well.

Please meet Shane Ketterman

We came upon Shane quite by accident. He set up a call with Rick and I to pitch an idea he had for a new track for BlogWorld NY. At the time, we knew we were going to need a new Conference Director but weren’t sure where to start looking. As soon as Shane mentioned his background with Cisco and how he used to coordinate some of the educational content there, Rick Skyped me to say, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Indeed I was and an impromptu interview ensued. After several phone calls, and interviews with other candidates, we confirmed our intitial hunch that Shane would be the best person for the job. We think you’ll agree.

My friend Shane is no stranger to BlogWorld as he’s attended our conference several years in a row and he’s also been a speaker. Even more important, Shane is passionate about our conference and our community, something so important to us. Feel free to follow Shane on Twitter @shaneketterman or drop him a line at Shane@blogworldexpo.com – but do be gentle, we want him to stick around for a while.

We know you’ll like Shane as much as we do. Won’t you join us in welcoming him to the BlogWorld team?

 

 

 

 

Should You Block Pinterest on Your Blog?

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Pinterest recently released a new bit of code that you can add to your website which will block anyone who tries to pin your posts. It’s pretty simple. You just add a line of code to your header/footer and would-be pinners will receive a message when they attempt to pin anything from your site that says the site doesn’t allow pinning. Hear that? It’s the sound of Pinterest haters everywhere rejoicing.

But whether you use this social network or not, is blocking Pinterest a good idea? In my opinion, no.

At least, not for most bloggers. There are a few exceptions:

  • If your blog is photography-based, with posts containing little content beside your pictures, it might make sense to block Pinterest.
  • If your blog is about showcasing your artwork and, again, contains little written content, it might makes sense to block Pinterest.
  • If you hate traffic, it might makes sense to block Pinterest.

Okay, I think the last point probably doesn’t apply to anyone here…but the first two certainly might.

Pinterest has been getting heat lately because the platform basically makes it easy to repost any picture you find online. Pinterest does abide by DMCA rules and will remove pins when asked to do so by anyone who owns the picture in question, but this new opt-out code will make it even easier for bloggers to just say no to Pinterest.

Only…why would you want to?

I’m not arguing that artists and photographers should share their work for free. I believe everyone deserves to get paid for the work they do. However, Pinterest isn’t about stealing your work to use for some kind of personal gain. It’s about sharing your work so that others can find it. Curation is the theme here. Pinners are trying to help drive traffic to your site, not hoping to get away with not paying you for your work.

When someone steals a picture from Google images and publishes it on their blog without buying it (or crediting it properly/getting your permission if that’s what is required by the license), they’re using your work in a way that robs you of the money or traffic you’re supposed to get as the picture’s creator. They’re doing so because they don’t want to spend the money to pay you for your time. It’s the same as copy/pasting my words and posting on your own blog without permission – it’s wrong.

For example, let’s say that I am blogging about cake. Mmmm cake. Instead of taking a picture of a cake myself, buying a picture of a cake, or finding a free image to use, I steal a picture of cake you took for your own blog. It’s wrong. I’m using that picture for my own gain because I’m too lazy/cheap to do the right thing. You get no benefit.

Pinners, however, aren’t using your pictures without permission for their own gain. They don’t own their pin boards any more than we own our Facebook profiles. They’re using your picture as a preview in order to encourage others to be fans of the posts you create. It’s a recommendation, the same way it would be for someone to share a link on Twitter or Facebook. Pinterest just happens to create visual links, like a little preview of your site to encourage people to click through.

And because most people are visual learners, I think as Pinterest grows, this could lead to more traffic for any visual-based site (food, crafts, fashion, etc) than any social media site where just links are shared. Think about it. You’re more likely to be interested in a recipe if there’s a picture of the finished product to entice you, right? Allowing pinners the ability to pin your posts can lead to a LOT more traffic than places where people just share the title/URL.

Of course, like with every social media site, some users are jerks. They pin pictures without linking to the original source. They copy/paste the entire blog post into the description so people aren’t encouraged to click through to your blog. They change the pin URL to lead to their own site. They download your pictures and then upload them as if they own them.

But these users are a VERY SMALL percentage of users, at least in my experience. Don’t let a few bad apples ruin the bunch for you. Pinterest is working to make the platform better (for example, there are plans to limit the characters in a description to avoid c/p of the entire post). You should definitely contact Pinterest if some users are pinning your work incorrectly…but don’t give the middle finger to the entire platform! You’ll be missing out on the potential for lots of new traffic if you do.

Now, like I said, the opt-out code could make sense for some people. If your website or blog is all about your artwork (photography or otherwise), it might make sense for you to say “thanks but no thanks.” Personally, I would want as many people as possible sharing previews of my work, but I can also understand how you’d want to limit the way people share. For the typical blogger, though, blocking Pinterest just doesn’t make sense in my opinion. This platform is such a cool new traffic source, and unlike some other recent networks *cough*Google+*cough* it seems to have attracted the attention of the general public, not just people who blog and use social media. For most people, blocking Pinterest is cutting off your nose to spite you face. Before you make this decision, I recommend you at least spend a few weeks giving the network a try first-hand.

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments! Will you block Pinterest on your blog now that this option is available? Why or why not?

Beginner’s Guide to Guest Posting Basics

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Guest posting is a technique some bloggers use to increase their traffic. Today, as part of the Beginner’s Guide series I’m writing here on the BlogWorld blog, I thought I’d take some time to talk about what guest posts are, why you should or shouldn’t write and accept them, how to be a guest poster, and other information you need to know about guest posts!

What is Guest Posting?

A guest post is a post you publish on someone else’s blog. Most blogs do not pay guest posters, but it depends on the blogger. Guest posters typically write about a topic that has a relation to your their blog, but that also fits with the other blogger’s niche as well. For example, if you blog about getting out of debt, you might guest post on a food blog about budget meal planning. You can also guest post on “competing” blogs – blogs that are in the same niche as your own.

Before or after the content of the guest post, the blogger will post a one or two sentence bio, where you can link back to your own blog. Some bloggers will also add a paragraph or two of their own, usually at the beginning, telling their readers that this is a guest post and explaining why it is an important topic.

Advantages to Guest Posting

When you guest post, you have access to new readers to share you opinions or knowledge, since the blog in question already has its own fans. The hope is that they’ll like what you write so much that they click on the link in your bio to read more of what you’ve written on your own blog and, hopefully, become regular readers there too.

Another advantage to guest posting is that you get a link back to your own blog, which is good for SEO purposes. This is especially valuable if you guest post on a blog with a PageRank of 3 or higher. When you write your bio, keep this in mind and consider using link text that makes sense. For example, if you want to rank higher for you blog’s name, use that text to create a link, but if it’s more important for you to rank higher on search engines for specific keywords, use that text as well. For example, on a guest post, I might use the bio:

Allison writes about blogging and social media on the BlogWorld blog.

Or, instead, I might use:

Allison writes about how to blog for BlogWorld’s blog.

The first will help me rank better if someone searches “BlogWorld blog” while the second will help me rank better is someone searches for “how to blog” – make sure to do a little keyword research when considering your options so you get the most benefit from your link.

A third advantage to guest posts is name recognition. Even if people don’t click through to read your own blog, if they start seeing your name pop up on lots of other blogs in the niche, they’ll start to remember it. Eventually, they may look you up. The name recognition also helps you get accepted as a speaker for events like BlogWorld, as well as get offers for not just speaking gigs, but also other types of jobs, like consulting and contributing – and these are paying positions in many cases.

Of course, it should be noted that some blogs will pay for guest posts. The down side to guest posting in these blogs is it is harder to be a guest poster because they usually have very specific requirements and accept a very limited number of guest posts per month.

Guest Posting – A Little Overrated?

Although the advantages of guest posts haven’t be overstated in the above section, keep in mind that writing a guest post – even for an extremely popular blog – is not going to lead to a million new readers on your own blog. Even if your guest post is beyond awesome, readers on other sites as not super likely to click bio links. They’re more likely to click on links within the post itself, but these links are generally discouraged in guest posts unless they are SUPER relevant to whatever you’re writing about.

A few months ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog called “I’m Calling BS on Guest Posts” that I highly recommend you check out before spending lots of time seeking out opportunities and writing posts you could instead use on your own blog. Yes, there are advantages, but don’t believe guest posting is the best use of your time if you’re looking for a huge amount of new readers. Even the spike you get initially will be just that – a spike, rather than long-term traffic.

So, do guest posts…but understand the advantages first!

How to Guest Post

Ready to start guest posting? Awesome! I have a group of posts especially for you to help you get started, even if you’re completely new to the guest posting concept:

And if you have additional questions about writing and placing guest posts, just leave them as a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Accepting Guest Posts

Before closing out this post, I thought I should also cover the flip side to writing guest posts – accepting them. There are both advantage and disadvantages to publishing guest posts on your blog. Here are the advantages:

  • Guest posts can keep your blog active when you need time off.
  • When you publish someone’s guest post, you build a relationship with them.
  • Guest posts bring search engine users looking for posts about that topic to your site.
  • You can publish guest posts about topics in your niche that you don’t know much about, which adds value to your blog for regular readers.
  • The guest poster will likely promote their post on social media sites, so you’ll get traffic from their connections.

There are some disadvantages as well:

  • Since it’s on your blog, you’re liable for what a guest poster writes.
  • Advertising that you accept guest posts (or even publishing guest posts) will open your inbox to an influx of post offers. Some of them will be amazing. Most of them will be complete crap.
  • Publishing tons of guest posts waters down your brand. Experienced bloggers can get away with it somewhat, since people already know them (though I’m still not a fan of tons of guest posts personally). If you’re a new blogger, posting more guest posts than you write yourself can be really confusing to readers.
  • Guest posts might be optimized for search engines using terms that you want to rank for with other posts. You don’t want people searching for something to find a guest post before they find your own post.
  • You’ll be linked to that person, which could be problematic if they’re involved with any kind of scandal or drama in the future.

If you are going to accept guest posts, I recommend having a page on your  blog where you can list any requirements you have (beyond “high quality” of course) and tell people how to contact you. Make sure you review submissions carefully before agreeing to publish anything. You want to post only the best on your blog!

A final note: If you’re interested in publishing a guest post here on the BlogWorld blog, shoot an email to me at allison@blogworldexpo.com with your idea and I’ll make sure your information gets passed on to the right person!

15 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Managing Forums

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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 list 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: Managing Forums

Back in the day, before social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, I lived on forums. I loved the ability to connect with other people who had similar interests, and some of the people I met on these forums are still people I’m friends with today, several years later. Although they receive less attention than social media platforms, forums are far from dead. In fact, if you have a thriving community, you could benefit from the addition of forums on your blog.

Before you jump into this world, though, take the advice of the below-linked brilliant bloggers. These are people who know a thing or two about managing a forum, and they have some great tips and opinions that could help you on your forum ventures.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

How to Start a Busy Forum in ONE Day by Gary Mccaffrey

In my experience, the biggest challenge of any forum admin is keeping people interested. It’s especially difficult at the beginning, because people are always hesitant to get involved with anything if no one else is involved. In my opinion, it’s why some popular blogs continue to stay popular, even if there is better content at other blogs. People love to be part of something. In this post, Gary talks about how to create an environment where people are encouraged to participate, even from day one. This creates that momentum you need to keep the forum active. Writes Gary,

I developed this method after failing badly when I first attempted to start an online discussion forum.  It’s a pretty much fail proof method for getting a forum started.

If you’ve ever tried or even thought about starting an internet forum before, you will know that it is not easy.

After reading the entire post about starting a new forum, you can find Gary on Twitter @garymccaffrey.

5 Things Not to Do When Starting a Forum by Josh

Sometimes it’s not what you should do, but rather what you should avoid doing. In this post, Josh talks about some of the most common mistakes forum admins make when starting a new forum and managing members for the first time. Whether you’re starting a forum for your own blog or taking a new position with someone else as their new forum mod, these are great tips you can use to avoid killing traffic and participation. From the post:

Creating a successful forum can be a difficult task for any Admin, even though there’s loads of information out there about forum management. But while there is a lot of information about how to build a successful forum, there isn’t much information about some of the causes of failure.

Josh is also a moderator at Chaterrific. You can find him on Twitter @originaljlogan.

Top Ten Lessons I’ve Learned About Managing an Online Forum by pops

I think this post shares some really important experiences about managing an online forum from someone who’s been an admin at two very different kinds of forums. Not every “rule” out there is going to work for every forum, just like not every “rule” out there is going to work for every blog. However, despite differences, a forum is a forum is a forum. So, take a look at the lessons you can learn from this blogger’s experiences to better your own forums. From the post:

Starting a forum is a lot of work and the financial rewards come slowly and irregularly if at all. During the lean times, your passion is what will sustain you. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be YOUR passion. Both of my forums were someone else’s idea. Initially I was just along for the ride. It was their commitment that dragged me (and the forums) through the tough times.

This blog also has a really great post called Tips on Promoting Your Forum that I recommend checking out.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

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

Next Week’s Topic: Paper.li

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.

The Seven Deadly Sins of YouTube

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As a content creator, I’m a YouTube newbie. I’ve made the occasional video here and there, but I’m more of a consumer than a producer in that field. And maybe that’s a good thing for a post about what you should and shouldn’t do on YouTube.

Of course, different viewers are going to like different things, but there are a few general mistakes that I see a lot of YouTube-ers making. Today, I’d like to share with you the seven deadly sins of YouTube – seven mistakes that will prevent me from subscribing to your page, checking out more of your videos or even finishing the video I’m currently watching.

Pride

Pride may be a cardinal sin, but I do think you should take pride in your work! It only becomes a problem when you have an inflated sense of how awesome you are. Confidence is cool. Arrogance is not.

On YouTube, this pride manifests itself when a vlogger takes for granted that people will still know who he/she is. Sorry, but no one is that awesome. Every fan you have was a first-time viewer at some point, and even if your stuff is really cool, they probably aren’t going to Google you to find your blog or other non-YouTube profiles. If you’re lucky, they’ll subscribe, but unless you encourage them to find out more about you with a link in the description, that’s probably as far as it will go. Visitors to sites you own are much more valuable than viewers on YouTube, since you can get them to sign up for your email list, make purchases in your store, and more.

The Bottom Line: Don’t assume people know who you are. Give newbie links to find more information about you.

Envy

Whenever someone has anything resembling success on YouTube, about 500 other people try to replicate this success. It’s not going to work. Unless you’re doing a spoof (which can be quite funny), taking too much inspiration from another vlogger just makes you look like a copycat. Envious of another person’s success? You can have it too! You just need to come up with your own idea.

The Bottom Line: Be original.

Wrath

YouTube is the bottom of the comment barrel. Seriously, I have no idea why, but on that site in particular, people leave the most vile, nasty comments! It’s easy to get sucked in by the trolls. Wrath takes on a whole new meaning when you virtually wrestle with someone calling you racist or homophobic names.

But if you stoop to that level, it reflects on you too, not just the initial immature commenter. I’m not saying to avoid defending yourself, but before you respond to a negative comment, give it a few hours of thought. Often, people will come to your rescue so you don’t have to step in at all! But if they don’t and you feel compelled to reply to a troll, make sure the comment you leave in return is classy.

The same goes for other YouTube videos. If you uploaded a cool video, I might click on your name to see where you’ve left comments on other videos. If you’re acting like a troll elsewhere, I’m not going to support the work you do.

The Bottom Line: Mind your manners in the comment section and avoid feeding the trolls.

Sloth

There are a lot of lazy YouTubers out there. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but YouTube is one of the biggest search engines out there. Take the time to title your video well, write an accurate description with links, and add tags. More importantly, do a little research on how to make a good video. Here are a few places to start:

If you’re not lazy and actually take the time to do your research, your video content will be much better.

The Bottom Line: Everything is better if you take the time to do it right.

Greed

Few things annoy me more on YouTube than those silly little bubble links popping up every two minutes. I know that you want more viewers and subscribers, and I can appreciate how important it is to remind people to check out your channel…but I don’t need this kind of crap interrupting the video I’m trying to watch. I’m less likely to share or subscribe if links keep popping up, because it makes you seem greedy – like you’re only interested in me watching your videos if I’m also going to check out all of your links. Save the linking and subscription messages for the end of the video instead. I just want to sit back and enjoy the content you’ve created before I make decisions about that kind of thing.

The Bottom Line: Let me watch your video before trying to upsell me.

Gluttony

Traditionally, we think of gluttony as eating too much, but this term can be used to describe any kind of excess. In videos, the excess that bothers me the most is length. If you’re creating videos, you need to learn to edit them well.

This definitely doesn’t mean that every video you make needs to be under three minutes long. What it does mean is that you shouldn’t take 12 minutes to say something you could have said in half that time. Nothing will make me click the back button faster than someone rambling. So as you’re creating videos, keep this in mind and cut out anything that isn’t essential to the goal of your video. Shorter is better if you want people to watch to the end.

The Bottom Line: Learn to edit your videos to keep the time as short as possible for your content.

Lust

Lastly, we have everyone’s favorite sin: lust. In videos, I actually think most creators don’t have enough lust! Okay, not that kind of lust. More loosely, lust means passion, and I see a lot of videos where people just don’t really care about what they’re recorded. The reason someone like Jenna Marbles, for example, is so popular is that she is passionate about what she’s talking about. You don’t even have to be covering a controversial subject to show passion for your topic. Even a how-to video on someone boring can be made better by a host who’s clearly excited about the topic. If you don’t care about what you’re doing on camera, why should I?

The Bottom Line: Be passionate about your video topics.

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