Looking for Something?
Monthly Archives

July 2012

Digital Blacklists: Yes, They Do Exist

Author:

If you’re creating content online, you’re part of the largest office in the world. You’ve got your virtual water cooler (Twitter), “office parties” if you go to events like NMX, and – yes – office drama.

People talk. Are they talking about you? Are you part of the “office” drama? If so, you could find yourself on some digital blacklists. Yes, they do exist.

Why a Digital Blacklist is Bad News

So what if some people don’t like you, right? If you have haters, that means you’re doing something right. Trolls indicate success.

Well, yes, to some extent, but you also have to realize that being blacklisted goes a lot farther than having haters. It’s about people in your own industry not respecting you or wanting to work with you. This could mean:

  • You don’t get speaking gigs at events like NMX, BlogHer, and SXSW.
  • Advertisers don’t want to work with you.
  • You’re left off the “top bloggers” lists and passed up for awards, both of which can land you lots of traffic.
  • People don’t consider you for cool partnership ideas.
  • Others in your industry don’t promote your stuff.

Can you be successful anyway? Sure. But it will be an uphill battle.

Basically, when I say “digital blacklist,” I mean that people – more than just a few – have mentally decided they don’t want to work with you or support your work.

What Gets You Blacklisted

So, what makes people talk about you in a negative way? Here are just a few of the things I’ve personally seen people do:

  • You talk badly about people behind their backs. Not venting or even complaining, but being downright nasty or snarky. If I hear that, I’m going to assume you speak badly about me too when I’m not around.
  • You’re unfair to others in your niche when you produce your own content. I think we have a duty to call people out when they do stupid things, but we have a responsibility as members of the media to be fair and honest when we speak negatively about people in a public way.
  • You aren’t completely honest. Maybe you’re not a big fat scam artist, but if you fudge your numbers or tell little “white” lies to get ahead and I find out about it, I’m going to assume that you lie about other things as well.
  • You act like a diva. Name the most popular blogger or podcaster you know. Now go to the grocery store and ask ten people if they recognize that name. I bet you at least 9 out of ten will have no idea what you’re talking about. Be humble, because no one online is that famous, and certainly even if you are very successful, you didn’t get that way without the help of others. When you act like a diva, it’s a huge turn off.
  • You don’t have time for people. We’re all busy, but if you constantly commit when offered cool opportunities and then blow people off, people are going to stop asking you to commit.
  • Your personal life is questionable. Yes, I know you can still be an awesome blogger even if you’re cheating on your husband and you can still be the best podcaster in the world even if you’re a deadbeat dad. But online, people care about who you are personally, and if who you are isn’t a very nice person, it makes people less likely to want to work with you.

Today’s the Day to Mend Your Relationships

We all make mistakes. Today’s your day, that day you start mending your relationships. If you’ve messed up, say you are sorry – and mean it. Follow that up with actions that show you are sorry. If someone else messed up, talk with them and forgive. You don’t have to forget or trust someone, but realize when someone is trying to make amends.

Digital blacklists do exist, but online forgiveness exists too. Think of it like a personal credit score. If you’re a scumbag, your credit score is going to drop lower and lower, but that doesn’t mean you can never rebuild it. It’s a lot harder to earn back your good credit score than it is to mess things up, but with hard work and commitment, you can repair your relationships and grow as a person so people no longer blacklist you.

Why “Blog When You Have Something to Say” is Bad Advice

Author:

One of the most common questions I hear about blogging is this:

How often should I blog? Do I need to write a certain number of posts per month or week or day?

And commonly, the answer I see people giving is this:

Blog when you have something to say. You don’t have to stick to a certain schedule or routine. What’s important is that you blog when you feel passionate about the topic.

It certainly sounds like good advice, but in actuality, it can be quite dangerous, especially for new bloggers. Why is “blog when you have something to say” such bad advice?

1. It encourages laziness.

When you only blog when you have something to say, you’re encouraged to be a lazy blogger. It’s almost as though we’re giving ourselves a free pass to do less work. Something big happens in your industry? Meh. I don’t *really* feel passionate about that topic, so I’m not going to write about it.To be sure, you don’t have to write about everything, but sometimes covering a topic is what is best for your readers. If you give yourself a free pass to ignore certain topics, you aren’t giving your readers the best experience possible on your blog.

2. We aren’t forced to push ourselves.

When you only blog when you have something to say, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not looking for something to say. It’s not about blogging about topics when you don’t care about them. It’s about finding things to care about. When you’re forced to push yourself to find topics to cover, you might be surprised at what you find. The world is an interesting place. You might also be surprised at the work you do when you push yourself to find the interesting story in a topic you don’t naturally find interesting.

3. More posts lead to more traffic.

The more you write, the more your fans will visit your blog to read what you write. Maintaining a high quality is important, but if you do, you will see more traffic. Chris Brogan talked at BlogWorld New York about how he recently decrease the number of times he posts per week and he’s definitely seen a decrease in traffic. When having a conversation with Jared Polin about this, he told me that he attributes at least some of his own success to the fact that he posts six or seven times every week. I can also confirm from my personal experiences that when I post more, I see more traffic. So if you’re measuring success with statistics, posting more often is a great way to boost your traffic. And remember, readers are creatures of habit. If you post on a schedule, they’ll know when to expect new content. If you post sporadically, they might simply forget about you.

Going back to the original question – how often should you blog? If the answer isn’t “blog when you have something to say,” what is the answer?

Some people might disagree with me, but I think the best answer is this: Blog as often as you can while maintaining a high quality. Get on a schedule and stick to it, pushing yourself to blog regularly. Sometimes it might be hard, but as Jimmy Dugan says, “It’s supposed to be hard! If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”

How often do you blog? How often do you think people should blog? Tell us with a comment below!

 

Um… Er… Ah… 7 Speech Tips for Podcasters

Author:

So, um, you know, there’s something that tends to worry new podcasters and even sometimes fluster experienced talkers. It has to do with, you know, effective speech and uh, verbal crutches. There are, ah, um, a lot of ways that a podcaster… okay, I can’t keep this up. Even typing “um” is driving me crazy.

Here’s the thing. You speak the way you speak. When you’re podcasting, you have a choice: you can speak in your own natural way, or you can try to alter your speech—if necessary—to remove verbal crutches and filler words. Heck, maybe your natural way of speaking makes you sound like Brian Williams or Katie Couric.

Brian Williams

Hasn’t said “um” since 1981. Image source

If your voice isn’t silky smooth and free of verbal hiccups, maybe a few things I’ve learned will be helpful. Oh, I’m not perfect. I still drop an “ah” on my listeners or a “you know” here and there. Still though, I’m ah, you know, a lot better than I used to be. Try on these seven tips for eliminating verbal fillers. To get started, you need to have a baseline—a measure of your speech patterns. That means you need to…

#1. Really Pay Attention

Although you can certainly go back and listen to past recordings you’ve made and pick apart your speech patterns, nothing beats paying attention to what you’re saying as you’re saying it. This is tricky because it requires you to do three things simultaneously: talk, think in the moment, and think about what you’re going to say next. The goal with Really Paying Attention isn’t so much to change your speech patterns but to recognize your speech patterns. Change comes later, when you decide perhaps to…

#2. Slow Down

The best advice I ever got for eliminating filler words from your speech is to sloooooooow dowwwwwwwn. Filler words can creep in when your mouth and brain aren’t moving at the same speed. In my experience it happens because my mouth can’t keep up with my brain. As I’m speaking, I’m sometimes on the next train of thought before my mouth has finished getting off the first. For others, it might be the opposite: you finish speaking your thought before you line up exactly what you want to say next, so you fill that gap between thoughts with an “um.”

Slowing down your speech when your brain races ahead can force you to slow your thinking down-which is not as bad as it sounds. You’ll trip over fewer words, use fewer fillers, and sound generally more coherent. Slowing down your speech when you’re having trouble figuring out what to say next can help you make that transition without needing filler. You’re buying yourself a little bit of time to get where you need to go.

#3. Learn to Love Silence

You know what’s better than saying “um”? Nothing. Literally, nothing—silence. Try it. Press record, and start talking. Make a concerted effort to simply stop talking instead of saying “um” or “uh.” This exercise doesn’t have to happen while you’re recording a show, but give it a shot under the same circumstances.

Be careful not to overdo it. I recorded a show shortly after trying this technique out, and later realized I had a 20 second pause in the recording. I was slowing down, I was using silence rather than fillers…and wow, was it bad. I had gaps in there you could drive the Batmobile through. Pausing for a breath, pausing for a moment, that’s fine. If your pauses go on for longer than it would take to say “um,” then you have a whole new thing to worry about-kinda like if you took up drinking to help you quit doing drugs.

Stare at this for 20 seconds and tell me it doesn’t feel like an eternity.

#4. Have Confidence in What You’re Saying

If you have no confidence in what goes into your mouth, you shouldn’t stick it in there. Same with what comes out. If you’re lacking confidence in what you’re saying, it might be better left unsaid. Sometimes though, we like to “think out loud” and come up with theories, concepts or ideas on the fly…while sitting behind a live microphone and device that records every noise we make. This is not necessarily a bad thing—a lot of really great material has been born of improv. The trick is to realize that even improv takes practice. With practice comes comes confidence. With confidence comes the elimination of the dreaded filler words.

#5. Talk With Your Hands

You don’t need to start conducting an invisible orchestra, but gesticulating while you’re speaking can be a great help. According to studies that I made up for this article, talking with your hands can help you cut down on filler words by up to 37.67%. Gesturing while you’re talking invests you in what you’re talking about. Have you ever spoken with someone who talks with their hands? Do they ever seem like they’re unconfident about what they’re saying? Gesturing invests you in your subject which makes you more confident which improves your speech.

Talking with your hands

Pictured: someone not saying “um” Image source

#6. Embrace the Fillers

Wait, what? No, don’t embrace the fillers that we’re trying to eliminate, but embrace a method of using them for good instead of evil. This might be a hard one to explain in print, but here goes. Voice modulation and inflection can help tell a story, and using interesting inflections—even on filler—can be entertaining or can help drive a point. This is something I’ve noticed a few comedians do when telling certain types of jokes. The premise gets set up, then there’s a protracted “ahhhhhhh” with a hint of a chuckle in it, then BAM, punchline.

There can be a lot of personality in an “um” or ” you know,” but only if you really pay attention to how you’re using the fillers.

#7. No, Really, Embrace the Fillers

Having said all of this about eliminating these kinds of verbal crutches, it’s important to note that they’re not all bad. When I was first getting started, I spent hours editing out all the fillers—some podcasters still do. It’s not necessary. Yes, some speakers are worse than others. If you have an “um” in every sentence you speak, if you begin every thought with “ah,” that’s pretty bad. But these fillers are natural to all of us, and we’re pretty good at filtering them out in our everyday conversations. When we’re listening to people with authority, we expect less filler. Broadcasters and podcasters fall under that category.

Daniel M. Clark

The face of authority. Move over, Brian Williams.

Take stock of your verbal fillers and be honest with yourself: do you use these crutches infrequently enough to let them slide, or do you need to work on them?

Featured Image Credit

How to Instantly Make Your Content “Pinable”

Author:

Want to instantly make every blog post you write pinable? Of course you do! According to PR Daily, Pinterest accounts for 3.6 percent of referral traffic, which makes it just about neck and neck with Twitter. So, the more your posts get pinned, the more traffic you’ll get to your site – and that’s a good thing all around, right? Yay, traffic!

It should come as no surprise that the best way to instantly make your blog posts more pinable is to focus on your images. But what if you don’t work in a visual niche like travel or food? Not to worry; you can still create images that will make your blog posts extremely pinable.

The following is an edited excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, and Videos with Pinterest, an ebook you can download for FREE right here on the NMX blog. In this excerpt, we’ll talk about how to create great images for Pinterest that make sense for you blog, no matter what your niche.

Images for Visual Niches

Start by analyzing your niche. Do images work hand-in-hand with your content? We’re not talking about your personal practices. A lot of people get a little lazy when it comes to adding pictures to blog posts. But what’s the standard in your niche? Do people generally use a lot of pictures? In any basic how-to niche (food, crafts, etc.), this is often the case. That’s why those topics are so widely spread on Pinterest.

If pictures are a huge part of your niche, half the battle is already done. The other half is making sure that your own content is up to snuff. Simply put, you need a money shot.

In film terms, the money shot is the scene that often takes a disproportionate amount of time and money to shoot, but is essential to the success of the film. It’s that moment in a film where viewers feel like the price of the ticket was justified. Money shots are those big movie moments that you remember forever, like the scene where Luke Skywalker loses his hand in Star Wars or Leonardo DiCaprio shouts “I’m the King of the World” in Titanic.

You need to use pictures that serve as money shots for your blog posts or other digital content in order to gain traction on Pinterest. You want readers to need to share because they’re so enticing. It’s that shot of freshly baked rolls with melting butter when you post a bread recipe. It’s that adorable shot of your daughter covered in finger paints on your parenting blog. It’s that shot of your finished product when you post a tutorial. Stock photography certainly doesn’t give you a money shot (in most cases).

And not every picture you take yourself is a money shot, either. These pictures have to be special; they have to make you want to click through to see the amazing website they came from. In other words, these pictures have to be evangelists for your content.

When the Money Shot isn’t Easy

The concept of a “money shot” picture is pretty easy to implement on sites that are already inherently visual. But on other sites, this is not as easy. For example, if you blog about social media and write a list of the “Top Ten Tips for Using Twitter,” there’s nothing physical to photograph, other than maybe a screen shot of you using Twitter. And that’s not exactly a money shot. Or if you’re a virtual assistant and sell services instead of products, there’s nothing to really photograph other than yourself.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful on Pinterest. On the contrary, if you work in one of these niches, you can be super successful because others aren’t using the network. Less competition means more opportunity for you! Creating a “money shot” picture that’s eagerly pinned is easier than you might think.

Step-by-Step Image Creation

The first step is to find a picture that makes sense for your post. It can be one of those dreaded stock photography images, as long as you’re making sure to use Creative Commons pictures that allow users to alter the image. Fair use photography can be found at a number of sites, include SXC.hu, Flickr, and Wikipedia. Again, make sure you check the licensing of any photo you want to use to ensure you’re giving attribution properly and to ensure that the owner allows people to create derivative works.

The second step? Add some text. In most cases, your headline works just fine, but remember, the focus here is on the picture. So if your headline is too long, alter it. You want the text you use to convey information and entice readers, which is why you should use your blog post/podcast/video title—you should already be creating headlines that attract clicks.

If you’ve never really thought of the power of headlines before, here are some great resources:

In addition, Brian Clark at Copyblogger has an 11-part series called How to Write Magnetic Headlines that you should check out.

The third step is to make the text look professional (and readable) by adding a drop shadow, highlights, and if necessary using photo-editing software like Photoshop. Looks matter. I know your content might be great, but that alone won’t help you get shares and clicks on Pinterest. You need to present a pretty package.

Even if you don’t have a photo editing program, you can quickly and easily add text to pictures with PicFont.com.

Examples of Great Images for Pinterest

These images can take on lots of different looks. Here are a few pins to check out to get some ideas for your own pictures:

We also have used images like this here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog. Here are some examples:

There are some challenges with creating these images. Sometimes, if you have a theme where the homepage pulls images of different sizes, it can be difficult to create images with text that work across the board. We have that challenge right now, so it’s one of the things we’re thinking about with future redesigns of this blog. If you aren’t a designer, placing the text on an image can also be challenging so that it looks good.

What’s important is that you’re trying, and that you’re making as many posts as possible pinable on Pinterest. This isn’t just about Pinterest. If you don’t like or don’t care about this platform, that’s your prerogative. What it’s about is realizing that a more visual, interactive web is where we’re going as an industry. If you aren’t making an effort, if you’re just using stock images and logos, you’re going to get left in the dust.

Want even more awesome Pinterest advice? Get the entire ebook for FREE here: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, and Videos with Pinterest

14 Tips to Becoming a Better Writer

Author:

As the owner of a blog there are several issues bloggers have to deal with. One of the biggest challenges is learning how to write quality content.

Below I will give you 14 tips to becoming a better blogger.

1. Write with a goal.

Every time you sit down to write you need to have a goal in mind. Maybe the article is supposed to educate, inform, or trigger thought. Knowing your direction will make the article flow more easily. People all over the internet write different types of articles for different reasons. For example, if you are looking to get on the big popular blog sites, you don’t want to write short articles that carry no meaning. The alternative is writing long informative 800-1,000 word articles that actually deliver quality information on your topic.

2. Do your research.

The better you know the topic, the easier it will be to write about it. By knowing your topic, you can cut down on the time it takes to create informative articles your readers will enjoy. Follow a general blogging rule; the topics you choose should be ones in which you are an expert. If you don’t consider yourself an expert, become one.

3. Just write.

The more you write, the better you will get at it. Don’t just focus on personal topics, but challenge yourself to research and write on topics you don’t know. Write on anything and everything, and your overall writing skills will improve, not to mention your typing speed. Both things will help you reduce writing time in the long term.

4. Write with your readers in mind.

Instead of writing with the idea of making money, write about what interests your readers. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is the reason my readers are reading my article?
  • Am I addressing their needs and concerns?
  • Why would anyone read what I have to say?

If you can get into the mind of your reader and what they are seeking from you and your writing, you’ll be able to address their needs and write something that they will enjoy and keep coming back for.

5. Backlinks.

If you are writing for the purpose of back linking remember to include your keywords. Now with back linking I am going to say the main goal is still the same and that’s to attract your readers, remember traffic is the key to getting ranked in Google. As Google recommends, create your content for your readers, not just to improve your ranking in Google. If all you’re trying to do is rank in Google you will fail.

6. Learn to use crafty titles.

Titles are one of the most important parts of the article and a big part of the writing battle. It doesn’t matter how informative or well written your article is, if the title doesn’t catch the readers and make them want to open the article then all your blogging is pointless. With that being said, spend some time on your blog post title. Next, focus on making it reader friendly and interesting.

7. Write with passion.

If you are bored by your topic, chances are your writing is going to not only show it but bore your readers as well. If you love your topic then your readers will be able to pull the passion right off the content you write. The more passion they feel on the topic, the more interested they become in what you’re blogging about. Not to mention, you my gain them as a daily reader.

8. Forget the Grammar.

Stopping to do spell check and grammar is a killer on time when you are first writing. When you constantly stop to edit your post, most likely your post will die with it. Instead, focus on getting the thoughts and ideas down, and then go back and do the spelling and grammar checks. You’ll find your mind thinks and writes much quicker by using this method.

9. Quality.

There will forever be the debate over quality and quantity. The truth is good quality will automatically give you quantity. If you are always providing good quality then people will check out your work on a regular basis. The more publishers that take notice of your work, the more targeted traffic you will be getting.

10. Turn off word count.

Don’t worry about how many words your post has in it. Sure, don’t have your posts be 100 words each, try and keep it above 300 words but whatever. This is the best way to ensure that your articles are quality and not fluff. Watching word count makes you want to add extra wording that does not need to be there and it keeps you from concentrating on your content.

11. Read. Read. Read.

Reading is a way to open you up to the world and what it has to offer. It also gives you knowledge that can be used in your writing. Some people don’t believe this but it can help with your grammar and vocabulary all of these are things that can lead to quality content.

12. Check the competition then do it better.

Find out what your competition is doing and try and do it better. By knowing what kind of content you are trying to compete with, you can improve your own skills and marketing mindset.

13. Use your target audience language.

If you are writing for highly educated people, your writing should reflect that. If you are targeting parents, write from the mindset of a parent. You get the picture. Now what this means; you have to know who your target audience is and what they need. Figure this out and it will be a gold mine to you.

14. Understand that writing is a skill.

It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. If that is the case then you need to spend lots of time practicing. You also have to realize writing is not for everyone. If writing is not your thing then you should consider outsourcing the work to others. There are tons of people that love to write content. Check out Blogging.org, it’s a great resource for finding quality writers at cheaper prices.

I hope these tips will help you improve your content writing skills. These tips are not going to help unless you actually start writing and putting them into practice. Once you do this it will become second nature.

If you already use these tips or have others feel free to share them.

Gawker has a Content Problem, Not a Comment Problem

Author:

Over the past month, the Gawker family of sites has introduced a brand new way to comment. Called Kinja (previously called Powwow and not to be confused with their 2004 commenting system also called Kinja), this commenting system highlights the comments where conversation is happening, rather than the most recent comments.

It’s an interesting concept. With this system, commenters are encouraged to join existing conversations where people are already talking about the topic, rather than starting new threads. It’s like taking comment nesting to a new level. Kinja is more like a forum under each blog post than a commenting system. In fact, internally, they’ve banished the word comment, imposing a $5 fine whenever someone uses it.

A comment revolution is perhaps exactly what the world of blogging needs. But is Gawker the one to lead it?

Why Gawker’s Comment System is Different

Gawker isn’t the only company playing with the concept of a new commenting system for blogs. Comments have been evolving for several years. When I started blogging in 2006, most blogs didn’t even have nested comments, which is a pretty standard feature these days. Now, there are several commenting plugins you can install, including Disqus and LiveFyre.

What Gawker is doing is different. Why? Because it has to be.

Gawker’s new commenting system gives the house keys to the readers, so to speak, as Kat Stoeffel notes in the post linked above. They’re invited to create the content, not just respond to it, and staff writers hoping to keep their jobs have to take part in these conversations. Comments are arranged using a “secret algorithm,” which I’m guessing is easy for the Gawker staff to manipulate, and conversations can be controlled by those who start them – you now have the power to “dismiss” any reply you don’t like.

Gawker’s commenting system has to be different, has to be formatted in a way that gives both users and staff members more control, due to the choices they make with their content.

I’m a big believer that you get what you give. Trolls can – and do – attack online no matter how thoughtful your content might be, but if we stop demanding more of ourselves and instead cater to trolls, the problem is going to be rampant, as it is on Gawker’s family of sites. When you’re little more than an online tabloid and gossip mill, you can’t be surprised when you need a more closely controlled commenting system.

What is “Good” Content?

I don’t think all Gawker writers are bad, nor do I think that everything they post is without merit. But let’s take a look at what’s on these sites right now. The very first thing that comes up for me? Scorned Wife of Director That Kristen Stewart Humped Takes Sadness to Social Media Outlets

Seriously? “Director that Kristen Stewart Humped”? There wasn’t a better way to say that, especially in conjunction with a story about his wife, who had no part in the indiscretion and is likely going through one of the worst events in her life right now?

It’s not just the headline though. The entire article is full of conjecture rather than fact. Worse, it is full of misleading statements. For example, the post ends with:

Ross’ latest dig at The Huntsman starlett? An instagram photo of a less-than-pristine looking Snow White with the caption: “Not so pretty or so pure afterall …..” Burn.”

If you actually click on the link to read the story, however, you learn that this was “an Instagram photo from the user “libertyross” (which may or may not actually be Ross, who is the director’s wife).”

As a long time gamer and previous writer in the video game industry, I’ve seen similar problems with Kotaku, another site in the Gawker family. Headlines are often misleading and rumors are presented as fact. Furthormore, writers on all of Gawker’s sites seem trained in the art of getting a rise out of people. I believe the term spin doctors might apply here; perhaps they aspire to careers in politics. At the very least, Gawker’s writers seem to understand the rhetoric required in blog posts to elicit emotion.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but rhetorical power in the wrong hands leads to…well…posts about the wife of a man Kristen Stewart is “humping.” It’s almost like readers are being trained to be trolls.

Good content is not only that which seeks a neutral stance. Controversy, when done correctly, can be extremely effective. But quality has to come before the spin. Reporting is still important, and fewer and fewer bloggers are retaining this skill. When a large “media” company like Gawker doesn’t value quality, it hurts the entire industry because they’re sending the message, “This is okay. This is what blogging is about.”

It’s Time for Better Commenting

It is, in fact, time for the blogging industry to embrace new ways of thinking about comments. Kinja might be the start of that, but there are still some problems. Peter Stern of the Columbia Journalism Review writes,

“The goal is to erase the traditional distinctions between writers, editors, readers, subject, and sources,” Denton told CJR in a Gchat. At the same time, he insisted, “our goal is to help our writers each achieve greater influence and reach with the same amount of work.” So which is it—does Denton want to empower writers or replace them?

But the future of commenting is here, and we can’t just ignore it completely. We don’t have to embrace it, but as bloggers, we can work to understand it and improve it. Says community management and social media strategist Natalie Rodic Marsan from Broken Open Media,

This is the natural progression of comments, and in fact, I’m thrilled to see that the thinking around blog comments is catching up to the AI-driven, algorithmic social web as we know it. I’d say this is the first step in what will be an even more customized approach to how each viewer can interact with a post and ensuing comments. While sites like Mashable, HuffPo, and now even LinkedIn are encouraging us to customize the news and updates we receive, as well as the other readers/members we want to follow, the natural progression is for these choices we make to also affect the comments we see on any given post (especially posts with upwards of hundreds of comments).

As Gawker continues to tweak Kinja in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how readers react. Gawker’s content issues pose a huge problem to us, though – can we really understand the value (or lack of value) with a system like Kinja when readers are trained to be trolls?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this with a comment below. And yes, we still call them comments here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog!

 

The Number One Mistake You’re Making if You Want Sponsors

Author:

You have awesome content. Your traffic is steadily increasing. You’re setting yourself apart from other bloggers and podcasters in your niche. And yet, still, no sponsors or advertisers are knocking on your door.

Why? Why is no one interested when it seems like “lesser” content creators in your niche have more opportunities than they know what do do with? Why are you suddenly the last kid to get picked in gym class, the girl without a prom date, the smelly boy sitting by himself at lunch?

Easy: there’s a huge zit on your face, and it needs to be popped.

Bloggers and podcasters make one mistake more often than any other, and I should know; I’ve made this mistake too. Recently, while listening to Marcy Massura speak at BlogWorld New York 2012, I swear a light bulb clicked on above my head.

The number one mistake you might be making too is this: If you want family-friendly sponsors, you have to be family-friendly.

What does that mean? Let’s take a look at Disney, for example.

Think About Disney

Now, the likelihood that a company as big as Disney will sponsor your blog is low unless you have mountains of traffic, but let’s say you have a travel blog and you really are blowing other travel bloggers out of the water. You’re getting nearly a million hits a month and driving a ton of traffic to advertisers’ sites, which is going to make Disney sit up and take notice.

But what happens when they get to your site and see an f-bomb every two sentences. Is Disney going to slap a sticker of approval on your blog? Absolutely not. It doesn’t matter if your target audience is parents, not kids. Disney is a wholesome, family company. If they endorsed a foul-mouthed blogger it wouldn’t be in line with their company branding.

Now, Disney might not be your target, but any family-friendly company from a Fortune 500 corporation to a family-owned local travel agency is going to feel the same way. You become a risk, and risks are not good. So, instead, Disney and Mo’s Travel Shop are both going to spend their advertising dollars elsewhere.

Think about Disney when you’re writing or recording. If they wouldn’t be happy with your language and content, you should think twice before posting it online.

How Scandalous!

It goes farther than foul language, though. I know some content creators who never use a word stronger than “darn,” but family-friendly companies still shy away. Why? Because you’re scandalous in some way. You create controversy that makes the company uncomfortable. Here are some examples:

  • You’re argumentative on your blog, podcast, or social channels.
  • Even though you aren’t in the political niche, you voice strong political opinions often.
  • Your content has a strong religious slant or bias.
  • You party at professional conferences (or elsewhere – and pictures/videos are posted online).
  • You attack other people in your niche or industry.

In other words, you rock the boat. And not just by writing op-ed pieces regarding what’s going on in your niche or including your opinion when you discuss the news of the day on your podcast. You rant, belittle, and take no prisoners even when the topic has nothing to do with your niche.

Again, you’re a risk. If a company sponsors you and your next piece of content is a rant about gay marriage or the next election or whatever the hot topic of the day might be, you put that company in a very awkward position of looking like they agree with whatever you’re saying, even though they haven’t voiced an opinion one way or another. They’re guilty by association, and your opinions might cost them customers who don’t agree.

If you’re scandalous in any way, sponsors are going to be scared. Just look how many sponsors left when Rush Limbaugh verbally attacked student Sandra Fluke.

Your Brand Matters Most

Regardless of what sponsors want, however, keep in mind that your branding needs to come first. Being a buttoned-up blogger or a demure podcaster might not make sense for you. We need people to question the status quo and certainly there’s a large audience who likes the more edgy style. I hope Erika Napoletano never stops “slapping” people, and I would cry if The Bloggess suddenly became a family-friendly blog. There will be plenty of people – and even plenty of sponsors – who are happy to support this kind of style.

Maybe dropping those f-bombs every two sentences or promoting your religion or being snarky on Twitter is what works for you and your community. That’s okay. Just understand the costs associated with this type of branding. Certain sponsors will never come calling if your content isn’t family-friendly. Be aware of your goals for sponsorship so you can make sure your content is setting you up for success, not scaring potential sponsors away.

Want to learn more about getting sponsors for your blog or podcast? Check out our monetization track at NMX Las Vegas!

12 Rut-Busting Productivity Tips [Infographic]

Author:

As content creators, I think we all sometimes struggle with productivity. It’s easy to fall into a rut and feel uninspired, perhaps even totally burned out. It happens to everyone, no matter how prolific you are online.

In this inforgraphic by Noomii, you’ll learn some great steps you can take to get content production back on track. Noomii writes, “Getting out of a rut can be a challenge unless you implement some realistic strategies to help put you on the right path.” Check out these 12 tips:

12 rut busting tips

What’s your best tip for getting out of a rut and starting to create content again? Leave a comment below!

This infographic is brought to you by Noomii, an online directory of business, life, and career coaches. You can find a life coach in Boston as well as thousands of other cities around the world.

State of the Blogging World in 2012

Author:

Imagine how differently things would be if WordPress were never created. Before I started my blog five years ago at ZacJohnson.com, everything I did was through basic HTML and if I ever wanted something complex done, I would have to contact a programmer or just didn’t end up pursuing it.

Jump ahead a few years and WordPress and blogging is everywhere! WordPress isn’t just for blogging anymore, but it’s a full content management system that can do anything you can dream up. Thanks to all of the programmers, coders and designers out there who have made a living out of WordPress customization, we can all focus on using WordPress to create anything we like.

The days of blogging just being for people to write their thoughts and opinions online are over… WordPress is free, yet it still powers some of the world’s most known web sites that are worth billions of dollars! The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, eBay, People Magazine, New York Times, Wired, Mozilla… all WordPress running platforms and blogs!

State of the Blogging World in 2012

Just the thought of blogging and WordPress in itself is enough to blow your mind, but having some fun stats and an infographic to break it all down is even better. Let’s take a look at some of the mind blowing numbers behind WordPress and the millions of users who rely on the software every day.

There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the U.S. as of July 2012.

Businesses Blogging Stats

  • 60% of Businesses have a Blog
  • 35% Blog At Least Once A Month
  • 65% Haven’t Blogged Once In The Past Year

U.S. Blogging Stats For 2012

  • 42,000,000 Blogs in the US
  • 329 Million People View A Blog Monthly
  • 25 Billion Pages Viewed Monthly
  • 500,000 Daily New Posts
  • 400,000 Daily Comments

For even more crazy WordPress stats, check out the full infographic below.

Special thanks to Blogging.org for the creation of this infographic.

An Invitation for Cathryn Sloane

Author:

We'd love to offer Cathryn Sloane a scholarship to attend New Media Expo and the Social Media Business Summit.

Dear Cathryn,

Over the last weekend a lot has been said both for and against your position that social media managers should be under the age of 25. As you know, there was quite a bit of outrage from the over 25 year olds who felt you were off base. While most of us who posted offered the reasons why social media professionals can be older, not too many of us reached out to support or mentor you in your goal to become a social media manager.

The New Media Expo team may not all agree with your stance, but we admire your guts and willingness to speak your mind despite the repercussions. However, while we agree the discussion of ageism is an important one, it’s not helping with a deeper issue: helping to educate recent college grads so they can find work and become productive, positive members of the social media community.

With this in mind, we would like to offer you an all expense paid scholarship to New Media Expo in January. We’d like to fly you out to Las Vegas, put you up at the Rio Hotel and Casino where NMX will take place, and offer you a full access pass to attend New Media Expo and the Social Media Business Summit.

If you attend NMX, the conference formerly known as BlogWorld,  you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Learn from many of the top social media and content creation professionals in this field.
  • Learn about new tools and technology.
  • Meet the people who hire social media professionals.
  • Network with potential mentors, collaborators and employers.
  • Meet the authors of many of today’s top social media and business books.

The NMX community is one that is warm and welcoming. If you attend, you’ll find our speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees nothing short of supportive. Sit down at any table in the New Media Lounge and have a thoughtful discussion with other like minded people. Everyone is friendly and they love nothing better than helping others succeed.

The other day when I said “get off my lawn,” I should have instead invited you in, offered you a place to sit, and asked how I could help you achieve your goals.

Please contact me at deb(at)blogworldexpo(dot)com so we can talk about how to make this happen.

Sincerely,

Deb Ng
Director of Community NMX

 

What’s New on the NMX Blog:

NMX 12 Days Of Giving: Day 1 – Complimentary VIP Upgrade

NMX is pleased to once again present our annual 12 Days of Giving event, where we offer a special gi...

Learn About NMX

NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #NMX

Recent Comments