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Building Your Business with Twitter: Dino Dogan Interviews UFC’s Dana White

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At NMX 2013, Dino Dogan from Triberr sat down to talk with UFC President Dana White about Twitter, the possibility of the UFC going public, and more. Dino is a true fight fan with a passion for new media, so he was the perfect person to interview Dana! Check out the video here:

Thanks, Dino, for a great interview with Dana! Dana also sat down with NMX’s Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin to talk more about how the UFC is using social media, so if you missed that interview, you can see it now here.

Dino was one of our NMX 2013 speakers, and his session was packed. You know things are good when it’s still standing room only at the end of the presentation! For this week only, Dino’s session is 100% free on NMX University, the home of our 2013 virtual ticket. Don’t miss out; check out Dino speak about Insane Loyalty today!

Building Your Business with Twitter Transcript

Dino Dogan (0:08):  Hello everybody, my name is Dino, founder of Triberr, and I’m sitting here with Dana White.  We’re broadcasting this from Vegas for BlogRoll.com.  And, it’s an absolute pleasure for me to sit here with the president and the face of the UFC.  And the way UFC has been using social media is absolutely bleeding edge and very fascinating.  And we’re going to talk to Dana to get some insights into how he uses social media.

(0:41)So, Dana, thank you for being here.  Excellent keynote earlier.  I want you to make a business case for Twitter.  How do you use Twitter to actually lead your business?

Dana White (0:55):  The way that I personally use Twitter is I speak directly to the fans.  I talk to the fans one on one.  You know, I’m not speaking for the company, as the company, it’s me.  You’re talking to me personally.  And that’s the way that I like to do it, but what Twitter does for me, as far as the night of a fight, right, which is different from anything we’ve ever done in the history of the company is, you always have problems.  Things are always going to go wrong.  You know, I’ve had situations where people’s seats were blocked by a camera or pay-per-view goes down in Indiana, a laundry list of things that I wouldn’t have known until Monday.  But because of Twitter, I can handle it that night, get everything taken care of, make sure that everybody has a good experience.  That’s my job that night, is to make sure that everybody that bought a ticket or stayed home to buy the pay-per-view or watch it on free TV is having the best experience they can possibly have.  So, I love that.  That’s one of the million aspects I love about Twitter and social media.

Dino (1:58):  Yeah.  And you can respond to situations, to the crisis in real time.

Dana (2:01):   Yep.

Dino (2:02): Yeah, that’s amazing.  You’re out there.  You’re doing it yourself.  You almost take pride in saying that you’re bypassing the PR department; the filter that’s created between you the person and the audience.  And there’s certain inherent danger in that.  And, clearly, you embrace the danger.  And the benefit of it outweighs the danger.  But, you’re out there, you have 400 fighters doing what you do, representing the brand.  And just tell us a little bit about the crises that you’ve encountered.  How many of them have you encountered?  How exaggerated is the danger of getting out there?

Dana (2:46):  Yeah, it’s very exaggerated.  I mean, yes, we’ve had a couple…I have 400 plus guys tweeting every day.  I tweet every day.  You know, you’re going to have some problems here and there.  The biggest problem that we’ve ever had is guys trying to be funny.  Telling jokes and, basically, I tell these guys, use common sense when tweeting.  You’re not a comedian.  Leave the jokes to your friends, in your inner circle.  Don’t tweet jokes.  But, really, we’ve really had no problems.  There’s going to be some stupid stuff here and there but, at the end of the day, people need to relax.

Dino (3:22): Right.  It’s a tweet.

Dana (3:23): It’s a tweet.  It’s a tweet, relax.

Dino (3:27): Get over it.  That’s terrific.  A lot of people want to know.  UFC is a giant franchise.  You guys are just going gangbusters.  You’re on this incredible upslide.  Are you going to go IPO?

 

Dana (3:43): I never say “never”, but I’d have to say never.  I don’t think we…I don’t think so.  I don’t think we’d do it.  I haven’t seen too many great experiences with going public.  And I just don’t think this is one of those businesses that we could really run the way that we wanted to if we’re not…The thing that I’ve always said since day one, too, about going public is, nobody believed in this thing.  When we first bought it, started to build it, nobody believed in it.

Dino (4:13):  I just want to say that I did.

Dana (4:14):  Well, I’m talking about the business world, right?  Now, all of a sudden, I’m going to take advice from these guys, you know, on Wall Street who never believed in it in the first place?

Dino (4:23):  Right

Dana (4:24): I don’t see it.  Not while I’m here, anyway.

Dino (4:25):  Gotcha. Terrific.  Anderson Silva/Georges St. Pierre fight.  I know you’re working on it.  This year?  Could it happen this year?

Dana (4:34):  Yeah, it could.  You know, obviously, everybody knows that GSP wants to fight Diaz right now.  That fight’s going to happen.  And after that fight, should Georges St. Pierre beat Diaz…yeah.  I want to make the fight.  I mean, everybody thought it was going to happen after Georges’ fight with Condit.  The kid had, you know, almost two years off with a knee injury, rehabilitating.  And he wants another fight first, so, we’ll see what happens.

Dino (4:58): Fair enough.  You have your employees actively engaged in social media.  And, I know this is not a fair stereotype, but if a general population was to imagine the worst type of person to represent your brand, that would be a fighter.  Because they’re perceived as brutes, which they’re not.

Dana (5:23):  Right.

Dino (5:23):  I know this.  But, there’s…you have a lot of your employees actively engaged, getting out there, representing your brand and there’s a certain amount of training that they have to go through in order to…just to know what tools to use, how to use them and how to represent themselves.  Like you said, don’t try to be funny, you’re not a comedian, right.  So, tell us a little bit about the training that these guys go through for social media.

Dana (5:50):  Yeah.  It’s not as hard as you would think.  Not only do I have, you know, 400 plus fighters.  But when you say my employees, my actual employees inside the company are all on Twitter too.  And, you know, obviously you’ve got to educate them on how to use Twitter, how to do this, how to do that as far as using social media goes.  And then is all about using common sense.  And I’m very lucky in that I’m not dealing with stupid people here.  Yes, we have 400 plus fighters.  Most of these guys are college educated.  You know, very smart guys.  Guys who, not only are the representing the UFC and the sport, but they represent themselves and their own brands and their own business.  For instance, like Anderson Silva.  Anderson Silva has 3 million followers on Twitter.    When he’s done fighting and he moves on to the next chapter of his life, those 3 million fans are going to go with him into the next chapter.  So, he’s not just representing us and the sport, he’s representing himself, you know, and his family and whatever he decides to do when fighting is over.

Dino (6:51): Right, yeah.  I have a theory about Anderson Silva.  Is he really a robot?

Dana (6:56):  I think he might be.  I’ve wondered that myself too.  He’s an amazing, incredible athlete.

Dino (7:03):  Mind blowing.

Dana (7:04):  Yeah, he really is.  Doesn’t get the credit he deserves, in my opinion.

Dino (7:07):  Yeah, he is just incredible.  Dana, this was a dream come true.  Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

Dana (7:15):  My pleasure.

Dino (7:16):  And it’s great to see you here in Vegas at BlogWorld.

Dana (7:18):  Thanks, brother.

Dino (7:19):  NMX!  Thank you, guys.

Marcus Sheridan talks about making speeches more social

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When I went to BlogWorld Los Angeles, I had one overwhelming thought. I LOVE that Marcus Sheridan guy! I had never seen him speak before, nor even heard of him, yet after his session, I was an immediate fan. Seriously, I can’t gush enough about what an incredible speaker he is, how he engages the audience, and how many fantastic insights he has for the small business owner. (You can hear his session from the most recent conference in New York by purchasing the Virtual Ticket!)

Check out what Marcus has to say about presenting and what makes for a memorable session in this interview from Blogcast FM‘s Srinivas Rao. Also, think that you can just blog when you feel like it? Marcus has some thoughts on that, too.

What do you think? Should speakers interact with their audiences more? Do you like a monologue or would you rather interact with the speaker throughout the session?

Robert Scoble talks about Blogging [Video]

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Back in the day, there were only a few hundred blogs on the web; not the millions there are now. When it comes to blogging, there are just a handful of people who have been in the space for a long time. One of those veteran bloggers is Robert Scoble.

Robert has built a name and strong reputation for himself and we’re always pleased when he comes to share his knowledge at our conferences. At our most recent event in New York, Srinivas Rao of BlogcastFM caught up with Robert. Check out what he has to say about standing out online, representing a brand while being your own personal brand, and about how social media has changed how we share.

 

 

Disclose This: How the FTC Has Left Bloggers and Publishers Dazed and Confused

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Many bloggers and other content creators do their best to disclose to their audiences when they have received money, gifts, or other special perks that supports the content they make available for others to enjoy for free. Despite these efforts, most bloggers and publishers may still not be following the FTC’s disclosure rules. Even for people who actually know about these guidelines, there’s still great confusion over what they’re supposed to disclose, and exactly how to do it. (See FTC’s New Dot Com Disclosures: What Every Online Marketer Needs to Know to learn more about the FTC requirements and upcoming changes.)

Even long-time veterans in our industry are left scratching their heads over where things are with the FTC. New Media Expo’s CEO and Co-Founder Rick Calvert is one of the thought leaders in our industry who I thought really understood this issue from both the perspective of the marketer and the consumer, and who was also willing to come out on the record over what has been a highly sensitive subject.

Grant: What do you think of the FTC’s requirements for disclosure of material relationships for guest bloggers and other outside content contributors?

Rick: I do think they are appropriate, I think disclosure is good. I think that as a publisher, and any type of content creator, you should always disclose if there is some potential conflict of interest with any type of relationship with somebody who is posting content; and so that definitely applies to guest bloggers.

For example, we’ll let people who exhibit at our show post a guest blog on our blog. But, we disclose that they are an exhibitor, we tell you who they are, and we also require that their post not be commercial – so it’s not promoting their product.

Now other people could have a different standard than that. It depends on what the audience that post is meant for. Some people want those types of product presentations, since that’s what that audience is looking for. But again, if somebody paid for that, or there is some sort of business transaction happening, you definitely should be disclosing that relationship.

Grant: Or, if it’s something someone received for free (or at a significantly discounted rate wouldn’t normally be made available to them?)

Rick: Oh sure, something for free – free travel, a gift card to Starbucks or an Amazon, that sort of thing.

Grant: Many of the most widely read and subscribed to blogs in online marketing, like New Media Expo, will naturally feature guest bloggers as speakers at their events. The FTC’s Press Officer informed me that those are also likely fall under business relationships, which should be clearly disclosed.

Rick: I really thought that was interesting to learn about, since I don’t think the FTC has ever actually included that information anywhere before that you need to disclose if somebody is speaking at your conference. Again, we have no problem with that and we do anyway, but that just seemed a little strange that the FTC would even think that far, and that deep.

Grant: Do you think the FTC has some issues with how they communicate their regulations to the online marketing industry?

Rick: I think the answer to that is, does the average blogger know about these regulations?

Grant: How about even veteran thought leaders in this space? Take the example of Search Engine Land’s Editor-in-Chief, Danny Sullivan. He himself has reported on the FTC’s activities for the search space for over a decade, and recently published an open letter to the FTC on search engine disclosure compliance – and even he was completely unaware (mistaken, even) on the FTC’s guest blogger disclosure guidelines.

Rick: It’s pretty indicative that if Danny Sullivan doesn’t know what these regulations are, I think it’s pretty safe to say that overwhelming majority, the vast overwhelming majority, doesn’t either. I don’t know how to describe the significance of that any stronger. The vast majority of people in our industry – social media, blogging – have no clue what these FTC regulations are and how they apply to us.

Grant: Do you think that most people who are entrenched in the online media and marketing ecosystem, who’ve started out in it and have been in it for so long – may not have the same understanding of FTC compliance laws versus the more traditional media industries?

Rick: I would assume that people like Huffington Post, AOL, Forbes – traditional media companies that are involved in social media – should know what those regulations are because they comply with those things in their normal, traditional media business. But I would bet you the average blogger wouldn’t. I could name dozens and dozens and dozens of conferences in our space – technology conferences, online marketing conferences, search conferences, social media conferences – they probably have no idea of those regulations or how they apply to them.

Grant: From my experiences as a long time blogger who’s been a freelancer or done guest posts for many different online marketing publications, I can say there’s so much confusion with publishers on what they believe the FTC disclosure guidelines are. You could even get completely opposite opinions from one publisher or another on why they think they don’t apply to them.

Rick: I wouldn’t fault any of those people either; it’s the FTC who has done this horrible job of making people aware of these regulations.

Here’s just for an example: There are 3.9 million active mom blogs in the United States alone. That’s one of these spaces where this is prevalent, where people are concerned about disclosure. It’s where a lot of people write posts either as guest blogger or on their own blog; or they will let a company write a guest post; or they will ghostwrite a guest post. What they don’t always disclose is if there is some sort of business relationship going on. A lot of times it’s just for free products, or a nice free trip for the blogger. But a lot of them are not disclosed. As big as that space is, it’s only just one example of how prevalent this is across our industry, where people need to be concerned about disclosure.

Grant: The FTC says the larger issue here is consumer transparency and building trust, so consumers can feel as though they can safely do business online, and so businesses can play fairly. I think most people who follow these guidelines can agree that the FTC isn’t intentionally trying to cause confusion, although there are certainly unscrupulous people in our industry who will try to take advantage of that confusion.

Rick: Right, because people who are doing things like that, don’t care. They either are knowingly violating those guidelines or they don’t care what those guidelines are and nothing the FTC does is going to change what they do.

Grant: How much of the problem do you think is how the FTC can do a better job of catching criminals, versus better educating the public?

Rick: If the FTC finds out about somebody who is breaking the rules – maybe blatantly breaking the rules with forethought and doesn’t care and so they prosecute them, and it ends up with a fine most likely, that gets in the news, but that doesn’t really educate anybody.  It might scare a couple people, probably not, but it doesn’t really do anything to address the problem.

Grant: Clearly the FTC doesn’t have the resources to monitor the entire Web, with millions of bloggers and publisher sites. Where do you think the maturity of our industry is today to support independent watchdog groups – across social, search, blogging, etcetera – that can do the kind of monitoring with the expertise behind it that is trusted by both the industry and consumers alike for what they find and report – and can have the ear of both mainstream media and government?

Rick: I think there could be a place and it’s probably a good business opportunity for somebody. That’s probably the best solution, but New Media already has its own solution. Someone can start a watchdog blog where people can report something that they think might be a violation, and then you could review it and say, “Well to us, this is in compliance or this is not in compliance, and this is exactly what wasn’t and this is what they have to do to make it in compliance…” and if the FTC wanted to weigh in on that – it would be amazing if the FTC did that, but I doubt they every would.

Grant: So some people reading this are going to ask, why hasn’t there been some kind of watchdog association yet?

Rick: Well, there have been several people who tried a blogging association. We tried when we started BlogWorld and realized pretty quickly there is no critical mass to support that. For video, you know any type of video association there is, is only going to deal with traditional media entities, not independent publishers in any way.

This is something we always have to remind ourselves being inside the bubble of new media, is this space is still so new, and we really are still in the Wild West. We are, I think, years away from any sort of association type of governing body to lay down ethical practices and standards that anybody is going to agree on.

Grant: The FTC says in their documents that they apply the same legal standard for online media and offline media, or new media and traditional media.

Rick: But do they really? If that was the case, then people should be able to do things just like infomercials on television or on radio. I believe in having high standards for disclosure and transparency, but what I don’t want to have happen is the government impose that standard on us in New Media and not impose it on traditional media, and end up creating an unfair playing field.

Grant: What do you think that those of us can do in the New Media industry for improving trust and consumer transparency?

Rick: I think it is important for us as digital content creators to try and set a higher standard for ourselves; We have to remember why we came to the Web in the first place, I think it is incumbent upon us to create that higher standard and support it – however we do it is up to all of us.

To learn more about FTC guidelines as they pertain to online marketers, be sure to read the full report, Pay Me To Trust You: An Online Marketer’s Guide to the FTC’s Revised Guides for Disclosures of Endorsements in Social Media.”

What can Crowdsourcing do for You?

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There’s a lot of talk these days about crowdsourcing. It’s a buzz word that’s thrown around a lot, but many people have much different definitions of the practice.  To help you learn more about crowsourcing and if it may be of benefit to you or your company, we sat down with David Bratvold of Daily Crowdsource to explain the pros and cons.

Q: Crowdsourcing is frequently defined in different ways. For the purposes of our discussion today, how would you define the term crowdsourcing?

A: Crowdsourcing is simply getting a crowd of people to help you with a task that’s typically performed by one person or one team (i.e. get a lot of designers to help you create a website design or a lot of translators to translate your blog posts).

 

Q: Crowdsourcing has been used throughout history, before the internet and before the term was created. How has crowdsourcing been used successfully in the past?

A: Napoleon did a lot of crowdsourcing. In the 18th century he wanted to solve the problem of feeding his army after they left the safety of the French farms. He offered a prize of 12,000 francs for the most innovative approach to solving the hunger problems experienced by his troops. Nicolas Appert submitted the winning solution of canning the food in wax-sealed jars to preserve the food.

Q: When should someone consider using crowdsourcing?

A: Crowdsourcing is best used to solve existing challenges. It simply solves the same problems in a more effective way. If you need to implement something faster, get more creativity, or get more engagement, you can probably add crowdsourcing to the process to improve it. For example, if you’re rolling out a product, rather than simply unleash it on your community with a big bang, get your crowd involved during the development. Your community will become more engaged, you’ll have a better handle of what they want (in your product), and they’ll be more likely to purchase since they feel invested in it.

   Also, repetitive actions are great for crowdsourcing. Looking for 100 email addresses? Rather than look for them yourself, or pay an employee to scour the internet, hire 100 people to each spend three minutes looking for one address each. You’ll get all your results in a matter of minutes, rather than hours – at a cost much cheaper than you’d expect.

Q: As a company or other entity, what are the benefits of using crowdsourcing?

A: The greatest benefit from crowdsourcing is the engagement you’ll receive from your crowd. Getting help from your crowd to produce the content for your site makes it easier to roll out. Secondly, the speed at which things can happen when crowds of people can get involved is astonishing. Imagine translating a blog post. With the traditional approach, you send your post to a translator then wait 2-4 weeks for it to be returned. With crowdsourcing, I’ve been able to translate posts in 30 minutes.

 

Q: What are the drawbacks of using crowdsourcing?

A: I’ll never be one to claim crowdsourcing is a “miracle cure,” as I realize it does have a few drawbacks. The biggest hurdle includes managing the process. With crowdsourcing, you’re getting a lot of people to help out, which means keeping a lot of people happy. And if you don’t keep your crowd happy, they can turn into an angry mob (as evidenced with the famous GAP logo redesign a few years ago).
   Crowdsourcing takes time. It’s not a set-and-forget work process. It takes time to provide feedback & support your crowd. Imagine having one employee working for you. Now imagine having 100.

 

Q: Why do some people see crowdsourcing as unethical or controversial?

A: Designers don’t like the disruptive nature of crowdsourcing. When crowdsourcing is used for design work, it’s often in the contest model (lots of designers provide work, only one gets paid). This is what they call “spec work” which a segment of the design community believes is unethical. It’s a judgment call, as a lot of this world is built on spec work (from nearly every consumer product to multi-million dollar houses).
   Also, microtasking involves paying people pennies for work that takes seconds to complete. The very low cost causes people to bring up the age-old “minimum wage” discussion. While a lot of microtask work is completed overseas, several companies, including uTest, provide great salaries for individuals in the U.S.

 

Q: New forms of crowdsourcing seem to be growing (e.g. crowdvoting, wisdom of the crowd, crowdfunding, microwork, inducement prize contests, etc). Is this a good thing for businesses? Good for individuals?

A: I don’t know that the new words are good for business, as I personally hate industry jargon. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize industry jargon simply turns potential clients away as it causes them to lack an understanding of what can be accomplished. These words are actually quite meaningless. These are all new terms for pre-existing processes. crowdvoting is a redundant term for “voting” (Have you ever held a vote without a crowd?).
   I think a lot of people are trying to jump on the “crowd” bandwagon, without realizing customers don’t buy something because of the hot buzzword. Customers do not buy crowdsourcing services. Customers buy solutions to existing business problems that are solved in the most effective way possible. Crowdsourcing just happens to be the most effective way possible. But no one goes looking for the best crowdsourcing provider. They go looking for the best video provider, web researcher, or SEO specialist. Those that utilize crowdsourcing to solve these problems provide the most effective solutions.
   Customers don’t care if it’s done with crowdvoting, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, microwork, etc. So inventing all these new confusing terms is not going to help your cause. To prove this, look at the most successful platforms and you won’t even see the word crowdsourcing on the homepage.

 

Q: What would you say to critics who think crowdsourcing takes advantage of people for little, to no, compensation?

A: I have yet to see any crowdsourcing platforms that exploit human labor. In fact, a lot of these platforms are providing very expensive training resources to very poor & very uneducated populations. Some of the microwork platforms are providing opportunities to individuals who have no other (viable) options for providing money for their family. Those that aren’t sourcing their crowds the philanthropic way are adhering strictly to minimum wage laws in the countries they get work from.

 

Q: Is the quality of the work acquired through crowdsourcing of a lesser quality?

A: It definitely can be. Depending on what type of project you run, how you run it, and the way you run it, you can get very poor results. But the whole point of crowdsourcing is to get a diverse set of results. Which means you’ll get everything from horrible to amazing results. Obviously the great results rise to the surface.

 

Q: If a company is interested in using crowdsourcing, what’s the best way to get started?

A: The best way to get started is by signing up for Amazon MTurk and testing it out as a worker and requester. This will give you a sense of what crowdsourcing is, exactly how it works, and how to get great results. After using the MTurk platform, you’ll start to get ideas of how you can use it in your website. If you decide to go with design work, microwork, or simply getting your crowd engaged, you’ll have a better understanding of how to manage the process properly.

 

Q: How can a content creator such as a blogger, podcaster, or Web TV producer use crowdsourcing?

A: Crowdsourcing is used to source labor from a crowd of workers. So it can be used to enhance nearly every work process you go through on your blog, podcast, or Web TV episode. The possibilities are literally endless. The most common uses are to get design work such as a logo, website design, or banner ad; to perform web research such as identify potential podcast interviewees; moderate your UGC (user generated content) such as forum posts, blog comments, or submitted articles; to provide voiceovers; or to provide video clips.

 

Q: Are there are pitfalls of crowdsourcing that are unique to content creators

A: Nothing that’s unique only to content creators, but since one of the top uses of crowdsourcing is to create content, the biggest pitfall in this is ensuring the created content is of great quality.

To learn more about crowdsourcing and how it may be beneficial to your business goals, David’s offering a $200 discount to Crowdopolis in Los Angeles on July 19th. Just use promo code “Blogworld” and you get in at the discounted rate.

Have you used crowdsourcing? For what kind of project? What were the results? Would you try it again?

Nine-year-old Blogger Becomes Web Sensation

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You don’t see many kids smack dab in the middle of a controversy about free speech. But nine-year-old blogger, Martha Payne, has been through a lot in the last few days. The blog she started just six weeks ago was shut down, but people across the globe rallied around her and got it reinstated. What was such a hot topic that put this little girl’s name on the lips of millions online? School lunches.

Like any successful blogger, Martha writes about what she knows. In this case, she dedicated her blog to discussing the meals that her school serves each day. She posts photos of the food and then rates it on taste, nutrition, and other factors, such stray hairs. Her blog, NeverSeconds, started as a daily writing project to share with relatives. However, it quickly exploded, securing millions of page views and dozens of comments each day. That success quickly put school officials on edge.

Although Martha had gotten permission to take photographs of her food, those images quickly illuminated the fact that those lunches weren’t always of the best quality. Frequently, showcasing small portion sizes which left Martha hungry and unable to concentrate on her studies. After posting just a few short weeks, Martha was told that she would no longer be allowed to take photos of her school lunches and she posted her final blog entry, titled “Goodbye.”

Well, nothing like a blogger done wrong to make the web come to life (remember when a PR flack dissed Jenny Lawson?). That goodbye message garnered nearly 2,400 comments of support and her traffic grew by the millions (as I’m writing this, total pageviews are six million and counting and I can actually see the counter go up a visitor each second!). Public pressure quickly convinced local officials in her hometown of Lochgilphead in Argyll, Scotland to reverse their decision and allow NeverSeconds to continue.

We caught up with blogger phenom Martha Payne today to talk about the trials and tribulations of being a blogger:

Q: When you started your blog, you incorporated a charitable angle by helping to raise money for Mary’s Meals. Why did you do this? Do you think it’s important for bloggers to raise awareness about important issues and inspire others to help?

A: Dad showed me a comment on my blog saying I was lucky to get a dinner as many children don’t. I have raised money for Mary’s Meals before and I thought of them. I think it’s important to show people looking at my blog that I care because I do.

Q: What has surprised you the most about writing a blog?

A. It’s harder some days than others. The hard days are when I am tired after school and a club.

Q: What have you learned about putting your opinions out there?

A: People you don’t know will discuss them.

Q: What advice do you have for other bloggers who may not know what to write about?

A: I chose school dinners because I have them everyday and I wanted to write everyday. I think pictures and ratings are fun.

Q: Other students have sent you photos of their school lunches and you’ve shared many of them on your blog. You could have very easily made NeverSeconds all about you. Why did you decide to let the community be part of your blog?

A: When Dad showed me the first email sent in I liked it so I thought other people would too. I have learnt a lot and can find lots of countries on the globe.

Q: Fans of your blog came to your defense when NeverSeconds was shut down last week. How does that make you feel? What would you like to say to everyone who spoke up for you?

A: I’d like to say thank you to everyone that supported the blog and Mary’s Meals. I haven’t read all the messages as there are so many but it is great that I am allowed pics again.

Q: Do you see yourself being a professional blogger when you grow up?

A: I’d like to be a journalist when I grow up because it is easier to ask questions than answer them.

Q: Your school term is ending in a few weeks, what will happen to NeverSeconds during your break from school?

A: Dad would like schools from around the world to guest blog for a week at a time. He thinks schools may be interested.

Q: Many bloggers find it difficult to make the time to write blog posts every day. What are your tips for people who want to write daily, but make excuses about why they can’t?

A: It was hard but now it’s habit. I think you get used to it.

The uptick in exposure for NeverSeconds raised so much money for Mary’s Meals that a new kitchen is being built at the Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi and nearly 6,000 meals can now be given to other needy children. Martha was given the opportunity to name the new kitchen and, in recognition of the community that made it happen, she chose “Friends of NeverSeconds.”

The lunches at Martha’s school have also been improving. Students are now allowed to have unlimited salad, fruit, and bread and Martha was recently asked, “Is that enough for you?” when she was given her lunch. Think a blogger can’t change the world, or his or her corner of it? Think again.

As content creators, many of us struggle from time to time. We either lack the discipline to create regularly, or come up short when it comes to ideas. But, Martha can be an inspiration to us all and her story is a good reminder to bloggers of what it takes to be successful online:

  • Write about what you know
  • Don’t be afraid to share your opinions
  • Allow your community to participate in the discussion
  • A picture always tells a story
  • Find a way to give back
  • Acknowledge those you contribute to your success and accomplishments

Even at the age of nine, Martha gets it. So, the next time you feel as though you’ve hit a wall with your blog, podcast, or Web TV episode, channel your inner Martha. We suspect this young blogger has a bright future in store.

BlogWorld Daily Wrap-up for Thursday, June 7th

Author:

Today was the last day of BlogWorld & New Media Expo, so I’m closing out my job hosting the Virtual Ticket for this event. But really, after yesterday evening’s keynote announcement, I guess I should be calling it the “New Media Expo” because that’s BlogWorld’s new name. I like the name change. I thought I wouldn’t, but I do. The-Conference-Formerly-Known-As-BlogWorld isn’t just a blogging conference. It really is about all kinds of new media, with a particular focus on blogging, podcasting, and web TV.

So that was announced in yesterday evening’s keynote. It was more relevant (but less titillating) than what happened during Tuesday’s keynote, when someone in the audience stood up, took her top off, and ranted to the crowd.

This morning, I attended Corbett Barr’s session called “The Art of Writing Epic Sh*t” (The asterisk was actually in there. I’m not self-censoring.) I figured I was going to like the session, but he really blew me away. (This is really something you can learn, but it involves hard work. You have been warned.)

As I have over the past few days, I wanted to give you a couple of cool interviews we conducted on-site. So here we go:

First, I talked to Pat Flynn about how to implement passive income strategies without being sleazy. Pat is pretty much the opposite of sleazy. Check it out:

I also chatted with David Risley. David presented a session on monetization strategies, but what’s perhaps more important is that he’s the monetization track leader. Have a listen to get the goods:

Remember, these are only a small sample of the interviews we did, so if you want more of these — plus the entirety of BlogWorld’s conference session content — check out the Virtual Ticket. It goes way up in price after June 22, so sooner than later would probably be better.

So that was BlogWorld New York 2012. It was crazy fun and crazy informative. Awesome.

The BlogWorld Daily Wrap-up for Wednesday, June 6th

Author:

Attending live events is kind of like attending a reunion every year. Each time you go, you get to see the people you’ve met in the past. But you also get to meet new people. Then the next year, you get to see all of those people again and meet a few MORE new people. Your networks and friendships grow like a snowball. I love it. There’s nothing like meeting folks from the virtual world in person.

So if you can go to live events like BlogWorld, you should go. But sometimes you can’t go to the actual live event, and that’s why BlogWorld has me working on their Virtual Ticket program, which brings the entirety of the conference’s content and a bunch of bonus footage to people who can’t be there in person.

So here I am, live from New York. Not on Saturday night, though.

Today, my Virtual Ticket partner Lisa and I caught up with a lot of cool folks. We hung out with Syed Balkhi, Jonathan Fields (who is trying to distract me from writing this post right now), Derek Halpern, Pat Flynn, and a ton of other folks. Oh, and I forgot to tell the world that yesterday, Jason Van Orden gave me his salad totally out of the blue. Thanks, Jason. I owe you a salad.

Here, as promised, are two more interviews we recorded for the Virtual Ticket, which we’re giving to you for free because we’re just that cool:

First, I talked to Syed Balkhi about growing your traffic. And yeah, I know… everyone talks about that and we all secretly think it’s impossible to actually do, right? But Syed had some actual, practical tips. Check out the audio file below:

NOTE: Last time I saw Syed in LA, he was wearing a necklace that said “AWESOME” on it. He wasn’t wearing it this time, but claims to still actually BE awesome. You be the judge. The audio is below:

Second, I talked to Mur Lafferty about distributing your books via free podcasts. I’m actually in the process of doing this myself for my book The Bialy Pimps, so this was an interview with a nefarious ulterior motive. But you’ll dig it anyway:

The only thing I’ll add as a P.S. is that today I talked to Peter Shankman about how he uses ADHD as an entrepreneurial superpower. And he mentioned that when he gets wound up, he’ll sometimes drop and do pushups to burn off steam — even if he’s on a plane. So I told him to drop and give me 10 and Peter and I did pushups in the conference hallway. Yes, we got it on video for the Virtual Ticket attendees.

Oh, yeah. I should mention that you can still get the Virtual Ticket if you haven’t already, or you can add the Virtual Ticket to your live conference registration by emailing us or stopping by the registration booth.

I’ll drop another wrap-up (and more interviews) tomorrow. Stay tuned!

The Blogworld Daily Wrap-up for Tuesday, June 5th

Author:

I’m here at Blogworld in New York, having a good time, meeting a lot of cool people, meeting some old friends and learning a ton of stuff – particularly about my new interest in podcasting.

Since I am in charge of producing the virtual ticket, I thought it would be cool to give you a rundown of what’s going on at Blogworld and to let you know who we are talking to and what’s going on here in New York in case you can’t be here.

I started the day by coming into the speakers room and hanging out with Srinivas Rao, Father Roderick Vonhogen, Leslie Samuel, and a handful of other cool people. Then I attended a panel session by Mur Lafferty and Rob Walch on conducting interviews – really cool information. I heard Scott Stratton and Jim Krukal face off in what was basically a cage match over the merits of self publishing versus traditional publishing. Check out the audio clip of our interview with Jim, talking about the merits of self-publishing below:

Here’s a behind-the-scenes audio clip of Srinivas Rao chatting with us about the evolution of a platform and when it makes sense to go into multiple forms of media.

And as the host of the Virtual Ticket, I’ve created some killer content today just for the Virtual Ticket holders. If you’re one of them, you’ll find interviews with:

  • Father Roderick Vonhogen, a Catholic priest who has a podcast about pop culture and Catholicism (which you would think would be an odd mix). It just goes to prove that can you use new media in all sorts of applications – not just the ones that we normally think of.
  • Rich Brooks talked about ways to come up for topics for your blog so that you never run out of things to write about in your blog.
  • Rob Walsh chatted with me about how to get the best interview for your podcast.

Here’s another video from the BlogWorld conference floor. If you’re not in The Big Apple, here’s what you’re missing:

I will be posting more updates and interviews for you to listen to each day – both tomorrow and Thursday. And don’t forget, you can still get into Blogworld without leaving your home by picking up a Virtual Ticket. And if you’re onsite, head over to the registration desk and ask for the Virtual Ticket, and they’ll add it for you!

Stay tuned until tomorrow!

Book Review – Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World

Author:

If you have a business, you need customers. Plain and simple. Ironically, most consumers these days complain that customer service is at an all-time low. If you’re a smart business person, now is the time to turn that trend around and start setting yourself apart from the competition!

For those new to the social media space or who want to amp up their customer service efforts, I highly recommend you check out Peter Shankman‘s latest book, Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World (Que Publishing, 2011).

Probably best known for founding Help a Reporter Out (HARO), Peter’s someone who has made a career out of thinking differently. In this book, his version of thinking differently is reminiscent of a time when people saw people as humans and not merely as numbers. From identifying the different types of customers you’ll encounter online, including the complainers and the braggers, Peter tells you how to deal with each of them through your social channels. He also discusses how to drive revenue, keep an eye on the competition, utilize freebies, identify how your customers like to be communicated with, and how to monitor what people are saying about you. However, he also emphasizes all the human elements of customer service: how to acknowledge customers, show appreciation, create brand loyalty, and what to do when something–anything–goes terribly wrong.

There are also seven valuable case studies that profile companies who are succeeding in the online space by thinking outside of the box and offering value. My favorite is the story of Bravo! Italian Restaurant and Bar.

Some business books are a labor to read, but Peter’s is incredibly user-friendly. For a book that offers great advice, insights, suggestions, and is incredibly educational, it’s a surprisingly easy read.

So, in short, if you’re not maximizing your online efforts to connect with your customers, engage them, excite them, and make them lifelong fans, you need to pick up a copy of Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World. And, although, lots of social media books become outdated within months of publication, I have no doubt you’ll want to keep this one on your book shelf to reference time and time again.

BlogWorld’s own Shane Ketterman recently interviewed author Peter Shankman and they talked about all things social media, including pinning, poking, and Peter’s Top Ten Tweet of 2011 (which yielded some incredible customer service and amazing PR for a social media savvy company!). Be sure to check out the video below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To see Peter live and in person, be sure to see his session When It Gets Real: What Happens When Your Fun Little Personal Brand Has to Grow Up at BlogWorld New York on June 6th!

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