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BlogWorld 2010

The Step Between Friends and Customers

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When it comes to social media, we have friends whom we know personally and we have customers who we can always count on to buy our products. But how does that jump from friends to customers happen? Declan Dunn presented “How To Turn Friends Into Fans And Customers” at BlogWorld 2010, and he made some super important points about how we categorize our interactions with others. This is the new media game.

“Fans are people who raise their hands and say ‘I want more.'” – Declan Dunn

When you meet someone new using social networking, it is easy to become fast friends. “Oooo, he replied to me on Twitter!” “Wow, someone liked something I said on Facebook!” “Yay, he wants to connect on LinkedIn!”

The problem is that often, people don’t foster that relationship and instead hit people with a hard sell. Woah there, buddy. I just met you. I don’t want to buy your product yet. Relationships take time.

This is where Declan has come in with the concept that you have to move friends into the “fans” relationship level before they can become customers. Fans are people who are opting in to support you. This might mean a literal opt-in by signing up for your mailing list, but it could also be another kind of opt-in.

  • Friends who refer you to others are opting to become fans.
  • Friends who become a part of your blog community through comments, forum posts, etc. are opting to become fans.
  • Friends who promote your stuff on social media, without prompt, are opting to become fans.

That still doesn’t mean that they’ll buy something from you – but what it does mean is that you can approach them without worrying so much about offending them. Defining your fans means a lot less work to chase down those dollars. If you try to sell something to friends, few will make the purchase. They aren’t emotionally invested in supporting you or in need of the information you’re selling. They just like interacting with you. Fans, on the other hand, do want to support you, which often grows from a strong need for the information you’re selling.

The bottom line is this: If you try to sell your products to friends, you’re going to do a lot of work for little reward and possibly even offend a few people. If you try to sell to fans instead, you’ll see much better results.

Thanks, Declan, for a great BlogWorld presentation. His session covered a number of other topics, of course, and if you missed it or opted not to attend BlogWorld this year, consider picking up a virtual ticket to see his session.

Audience versus Community: The Future of Web Television

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The Friday closing keynote at BlogWorld Expo 2010 covered the topic of web television. Where is it going? How can we get there and how did we get where we are now? How does out thinking about television need to change to monetize it for Internet users? The panelists, (Jim Louerback, Dick Glover, and Dermot McCormack) talked about all these points and more.

But one thing that stuck out to me about the keynote was a comment Dermot McCormack made that audience is essentially the same things as community.

So I throw the question to all of you: Is audience the same thing as community?

For me, it’s not.

When I was in college, a friend of mine made a valid point in saying that friends talk to one another, but best friends talk with one another. To me, that’s the difference between audience and community.

An audience watches or listens or reads. They may be able to post input or feedback on your work, and you may even reply. But they aren’t a community.

A community holds a conversation with you.

A community shapes future videos/posts/etc. that you create.

A community has members that connect with one another.

An audience doesn’t do these things. Audiences don’t feel a stake in your work, or feel like part of a collective. Audiences enjoy what you do, but communities are part of what you do.

Think of it this way: Audience members cheer for you when they’re reading your posts. Community members cheer for you all the time.

Even with a traditional television show, this is true. Audience members tune in every week to watch Grey’s Anatomy. They may be extremely dedicated or even talk about the show with friends the next day.

But Grey’s Anatomy also has a community. These people are online, coming up with cliffhanger theories, writing fan fiction, tweeting about the show, live blogging, and joining Grey’s Anatomy related online discussion groups. They don’t just chat about the show at the water cooler the next day. They have real, meaningful conversations about the show. They identify themselves as part of a group – people who love Grey’s Anatomy.

You want your audience to become a community. Audience members may love what you do, but they’re passive. Encourage people to be an active part of your blog instead.

And that starts with being the first member of your community. Interact. Engage. Be a fan of what you write. Foster community by being community, not just another audience member on your blog.

The Faces of BlogWorld Expo 2010

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Video music by DoKashiteru and ditto ditto

Thank you to everyone who participated. If you didn’t catch me to do a video in Vegas or reply to me via Twitter just leave a comment on this post to participate! Who are you and what is your site about? What did you enjoy most and what were the best BlogWorld tips you learned at the event? Will you be back next year?

(Also, things I learned for next year: I need to purchase a mic :-p)

Credit Where it’s Due: Thank You BlogWorld Track Leaders

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Some of our BlogWorld Track leaders

There’s a misconception out in the blogosphere. Many of you are crediting me with solely providing all of BlogWorld’s educational content. While I did have a little something to do with it, mostly it was a team effort. Several of the bigger tracks or smaller community tracks were led by track leaders who helped to pick speakers and create the content.  Some of these track leaders put so much time and energy into creating killer tracks, that they probably spent more time with us than with their own families. On behalf of the BlogWorld team, I’d like to take this time and space to thank them for all  of their help.

The track leaders made my job easy. For the smaller tracks, for example food, travel, and sports, the track leaders handled all the content and speakers. For the larger tracks, the track leaders were also assisted by a committee, and chose proposals from the BlogWorld community. In any event, they deserve our thanks and recognition.

  • Social Media Business Summit – Thanks to Arik Hanson and Chuck Henan
  • Digital Broadcasting – Thanks to Jeffrey Powers
  • Tourism Currents – Thanks to Becky McCray and Sheila Scarborough
  • Cause – Thanks to Chris Nobles and Jim Turner
  • Sports – Thanks to Stephanie Agresta and Katey Dietz
  • TECHMunch – Thanks to Babette Papaj
  • Travel – Thanks to Shannon Lane
  • Monetization – Thanks to Jim Kukral
  • Music and Entertainment – Thanks to Hadji Williams
  • MilBlogging – Thanks to Blake “Laughing Wolf” Powers
  • REBlogging – Thanks to Jason Berman
  • ProBlogger – Thanks to Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
  • Social Health – Thanks to Rob Halper

Thank you, all. Your wisdom and guidance helped this year stand out as the best BlogWorld ever. Can’t wait to do it again!

  • Deb Ng
  • Conference Director
  • BlogWorld & New Media Exp

BlogWorld 2010 Web Round-Up!

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BlogWorld 2010 has come to a close, but everyone is still in the midst of uploading blog posts, videos, images, podcasts, and more. I’m trying to aggregate that information in one spot (this post) – so feel free to post your own links in the comments section and I’ll add you.

As a first-time attendee to BlogWorld, I was extremely impressed by every aspect of the event – from the panels and speakers to the exhibit floor and sponsors. And even as a long-time blogger, I garnered information and tips from each panel I attended!

Official BlogWorld:

Blog Posts About BlogWorld 2010:

Photos/Videos

I know I’m missing some, so help me fill in the blanks!

Photo/image credit: (cc) Kenneth Yeung – www.snapfoc.us

5 Things Learned While Working at BlogWorld ’10

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So. BlogWorld ’10 is over, and the Monday morning quarterbacking is about to begin. Attendees and speakers are posting their thoughts and takeaways and you can be sure we’re going to read them all. It’s important to know what we did right and wrong, in order to bring you the best event and best content next year.

With that said…

I thought I might share my own take aways. Working as Conference Director this year gave me an entirely different perspective, one that I’ve been sharing with you since I landed the gig.

Before I get into it, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with the lovely woman who volunteered  to sit outside the door of the ProBlogger track and scan badges. After she mentioned to me how “those nice looking boys from Australia were so popular!” she told me that she sits at seminar doorways for many events each year and this has been the nicest one she’s been to. She felt all attendees were well mannered and enthusiastic. She said that unlike other events, folks seemed to want to be there and weren’t just there because they had to for their jobs. She said the atmosphere was so positive and upbeat, it was infectious. So there you go, BlogWorld. You rock.

Five Things Learned While Working at BlogWorld

We Can’t Please Everyone, But We’re Going to Try Our Hardest

Let me preface this item by saying that even though there are times we can’t please everyone, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to. The BlogWorld team works hard to ensure everyone walks away with a positive experience, and if you don’t we want to know about it so we can make it right.

I’m going to get into the mistakes part in a little while, because I made a bunch of them, but this isn’t about mistakes…

I really didn’t know much about the world of event planning before accepting this gig. It’s fun, exciting, overwhelming, and, at times, stressful. Most people totally dig what we do and believe me when I tell you that BlogWorld ’10 was the most rewarding, validating thing I’ve ever experienced. Still, there are times when people don’t come away with a positive experience.  When people aren’t happy, sometimes the first response is to roll eyes or wonder why they’re so cranky – but I can tell you the folks who work for BlogWorld aren’t like that at all. They bend backwards to make things right for everyone.  Occasionally it’s not good enough but most of the time we do make things right and I’m happy to work for people who own up to errors and fix it to make sure this community is happy.

The thing is, most of you love what we do. Almost everyone wanted to help and I can’t tell you how many folks stopped me in the halls simply to say, “thank you.” So while there will always be a few people who may not like the way we run things, or prefer the old venue, or were unhappy with the WiFi, or wish we had free coffee in the hallways, (and we will work to make things right for the people who aren’t happy) the majority of you love BlogWorld and for that, we’re extremely touched and grateful.

Everyone Has Different Reasons for Attending BlogWorld

As the person who was tasked with making sure we had the best educational content ever, I was disappointed at first to see so many people hanging out in hallways (even though I always did this myself) instead of attending sessions. So I asked why they didn’t attend presentations. Some attendees felt the sessions were too basic, while others said they were there for networking over learning. Not everyone needs to sit in on the talks. Some people are there for the power lunches, or the trade show, or brainstorming sessions and that rocks too.

The Right Venue Makes a Big Difference

So. Mandalay Bay. Word on the street is that you all dug it. You liked the color, the vibe, and the close proximity to your hotel rooms. I personally think the location had a great deal to do with this year’s success – and I think you do too.

I Made A Lot of Mistakes … and That’s a Good Thing

See Item #1 above.

I stressed out a bit about mistakes because I don’t think there are any little mistakes in this situation. I worried about speakers falling through the cracks and sessions not getting on the schedule -and some of that stuff did happen for a variety of reasons. I’m not minimizing any of that as much as I’m letting you know I’m aware of it.

I didn’t always use the right wording when sending emails, friends didn’t appreciate a form letter approach, and I think a lot of things (that I did) could be handled differently. While there were a couple of items that did cause me to lose a bit of sleep, I realized that all of my mistakes are a very good thing. Now I know how to make things right next time around. I know how to handle things differently. I know which people appreciate my sense of humor, and those who don’t. I have an idea how to streamline the process for speakers so we don’t keep making (last minute) requests for bios or info. So, yes, I make mistakes. But every mistake I make, means fewer gaffes next time around.

Team Work Rocks!

BlogWorld is made up of an amazing team of people.

  • Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin who I can’t thank enough for entrusting me with this important job. They put their hearts and souls into BlogWorld and it shows. They always had time for me and the rest of the team and never brush off concerns. I’m honored to work with you.
  • Patti Hoskings is our Director of Sales who puts so much time and passion into BlogWorld that she will always be an inspiration to me. She’s also an amazing friend and one of the unsung heroes of BlogWorld since the very beginning. Almost all of our vendors and sponsors are here because of Patti. She’s our mother hen, our role model, our sensible voice and a lot of fun to hang out with during down time.
  • Jennifer Holder is Rick Calvert’s assistant and one of the hardest working people on the team.We spent so many late nights on Skype working together over the past couple of weeks that I probably spent more time with Jen than my own family. She keeps Rick on track and even helps him to rock that huge vat of email he gets each day.
  • Nikki Katz is more than BlogWorld’s Editor in Chief, she’s also our marketing person and Dave’s right hand. If you didn’t see Nikki much at BlogWorld it was because she was in the office working very hard behind the scenes.
  • You may have spotted Allison (Alli) Boyer walking to various sessions with her laptop live blogging different sessions. Alli made sure those who couldn’t attend still experienced BlogWorld.

BlogWorld is a huge team effort. We had speakers and track leaders and PR people helping us. Without any of them, none of this would have happened. I’m not big into kumbayas and don’t want to turn this into a big old Oprah moment, but I will say this: It’s an honor and pleasure to be a part of this amazing team.

and a number 6 bonus takeaway…

Y’all are ugly on going home day

Bleary eyed with just out of the shower hair, not everyone is looking their best as they head to the airport. I hope that means you had a good time and you’re taking home some good content, connections and memories. Hope you’re getting your beauty rest now.

Did you learn anything at BlogWorld?  Let us know in the comments, on your blog or on our Facebook page. We’d love to check out  your big take aways.

Also, if you’d like to send more intense feedback, feel free to email me at deb(at)blogworldexpo(dot)com.

Toonblog: Closing keynote

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This was a tough one to diagram – at times because I was laughing so hard (Penn Jillette nailing Adam Carolla around the mike handoff was the high point of the night for me), at others because the material was flowing so quickly. But what resonated most – for me, at any rate – was Penn’s passionate, hilariously profane defense of online connectedness. That, ultimately, is what brought us together for BlogWorld 2010, and it’s the spirit that I’m taking home with me.

Toonblog of the closing keynote presentation

Cartoon: It’s all relative

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Mind watching my computer? I'm going to step out of the new media lounge and get some fresh air in the corridor.

The one thing that cheers me up about the fact that there’s only a little more than an hour left in BlogWorld is this: the prospect of seeing sunlight again. Hearing the chirping of birds, the wind whispering on my cheek, the cursing of a driver who just got cut off on the Strip. Aaah.

That said, if I had to be indoors for three days, this was a pretty dang swanky place to do it in.

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