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Creating a Media Kit Before BlogWorld Expo

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Do you have a media kit for your blog? Before you head to BlogWorld Expo, you should create a media kit or be sure the one you have is updated. You will be meeting a lot of fellow bloggers, PR and companies who will visit your blog. They will want to know who you are and what your blog is about. You could just let them make some assumptions by reading a few posts and googling you, but it would be better if you had a media kit. This will give you the opportunity to showcase you and your blog.

Media Kit Definition

According to Google, a media kit is

… a pre-packaged set of promotional materials of a person, company, or organization distributed to members of the media for promotional use.

Media Kit Contents

Your media kit should reflect your brand. If you are an artist, make it creative. If you are a photographer, use pictures. There are a few items that should be included in all media kits.

1. Your name. It sounds obvious, but be sure you include your full name.

2. Your top social networking sites. List the link so the social networking sites where you are the most active and include the number of followers.

3. Your blog name and URL. Include the URL and full name of all of your blogs.

4. Location. You do not have to give your complete address, but include the general area. For example, I live in the Washington DC metro area.

5. Personal accomplishments. List any awards you’ve received, positions you’ve held and anything else that you would like others to know that you have accomplished.

6. Pertinent experience. You do not need to include a full resume of your job history. Include any paid or volunteer experience you have that is part of your brand.

7. Statistics. I know, we all hate those pesky statistics, but they are part of the big picture. Don’t deny them, wear them proudly.

8. Contact information. What is the best way to contact you.

You can include all the information right on your website or have it available after they contact you.

Bonus Blog Tip

One last tip! Be sure your blog is ready. Prepare blog posts and schedule them to post while you are gone. I often create a “10 Most Popular Posts” list to post while I am at a conference. It is a good way to showcase some old posts when people who have met at BlogWorld Expo visit your blog. You could include this in your media kit also.

Media Kit Resources

Here are a few other resources to help you with your media kit:

  1. Writing Your Blog’s Media Kit – Another good list of items to include in your media kit along with an explanation of why you need one.
  2. Create a simple media kit with Microsoft Publisher – This gives you step by step instructions on creating a kit in Publisher, but also includes ideas on what to include along with a few hints and tips.
  3. Grow Your Blog: How to Create a Media Advertising Kit for Your Blog – This article includes links to some sample kits.
  4. Your Blog’s Media Kit – Answer both the what to include and the why you need a media kit for your blog.
  5. Create A Media Kit To Attract Advertisers To Your Blog – If you are creating your kit to attract advertisers to your blog, then be sure to read this article. Includes hints and tips that will help you attract advertisers.
  6. How PR Peeps and Mommy Bloggers can Work Together – An excellent article from Cathy of Web Savvy PR wrote an excellent article that gives both PR and bloggers insight into what the other side is looking for. This includes what PR is looking for in a media kit.
  7. Know Your Numbers: Putting Together a Media Kit – A session from the Type A Mom conference in September, 2010.

Do you have a media kit for your blog? What other items did I leave out of the media kit essentials?

Please include a link to your media kit if you have completed one.

– Photo from Microsoft Images

Michele McGraw is a mom of 4 who blogs about technology, digital scrapbooking and fitness at Scraps of My Geek Life. She can be found socializing on Twitter, @ScrappinMichele.

Transitioning Your Blog From Hobby To Business: When Is It Time To Get Serious?

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Have you considered Incorporating of Forming an LLC for your blog?

Maybe you started a blog on high desert gardening, or one on micro-brews of the Pacific Northwest, first-time parenting, iPhone apps, small businesses, salt water aquariums. You’ve logged long hours behind the glare of your computer display, fought writer’s block, and tried not to get rattled by the occasional negative comment. Along the way, you’ve produced some really great content.

What may have begun as a casual interest has turned into an extra source of income, or even a full-time business. Most bloggers start off as a sole proprietorship (or in reality, many bloggers don’t even consider a business structure at the beginning). Now and then you might wonder if it’s time to incorporate, but it’s an easy question to procrastinate about-after all, organizing next week’s topics is a more pressing matter.

So when, or why, should you consider Incorporating or Forming an LLC?

Is your blog making money? Do you earn your living online?
If your blog is generating significant revenue through ad networks, private sales or anything else, it’s time to consider whether you can improve your tax situation by Incorporating. If your marginal tax rate (of all your combined personal income) is higher than the corporate tax rate, this is a no brainer. In addition, Corporations may be entitled to additional deductions not available to individuals. Of course, you should consult with a CPA or tax advisor on your own particular situation – and just remember, each month you delay may be costing you in extra taxes.

And speaking of taxes, WebCPA reported that the IRS intends to increase audits on sole proprietors (and IRS statistics already indicate that the risk of an audit is greater if you operate your business as a sole proprietor).

Do you have liability concerns?
It’s hard to imagine that sitting behind your computer puts you at any real risk of a lawsuit. While running a blog is inherently a less risky business than running a day care center or plastic surgery office, there are some liability implications for bloggers.

For example, what if you unintentionally plagiarize someone’s work? Find yourself accused of slander? Or maybe you end up writing about a mobile prototype left in a bar? What if your major advertiser fails to pay, making it impossible for you to pay your own vendors, like any freelance writers under contract?

I’m not a fan of scare tactics, but I am a fan of education. Certainly these are worst-case scenarios, and you’ll most likely never run into these sort of problems. However, if you’re sued as a sole proprietor, you’ll be sued personally. This means that your personal assets are all at risk. And what was once an interesting side project or a form of self-expression can end up wiping out your retirement savings or child’s college fund.

The bottom line is that Incorporation can be pretty painless and affordable. For those of you who cringe at the thought of paperwork, the LLC (Limited Liability Company) offers the legal protection of a Corporation, with minimal formality.

Whether you stay a sole proprietor or Form an LLC or Corporation, be sure to keep your personal and business finances separate; set up a business checking account and possibly a business credit card. LLCs and Corporations are required by law to maintain official business accounts. A sharp line between you and your business can benefit the sole proprietor too. It’s easier to organize (and justify) deductions at tax time. And in the case of an audit, it may prevent the IRS from looking at your personal finances.

If you have any questions about the legal considerations surrounding your blogging business, stop by the CorpNet booth in the BlogWorld exhibit hall (booth 326). While I legally can’t give specific advice for your specific situation, I love talking to small business owners, can answer any questions, and help you navigate what’s best for your business.

Nellie Akalp is the CEO & Co-Founder of CorpNet, Incorporated, her second incorporation filing service company based on the simple philosophy of truth in business and her strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in getting their business off the ground in a fast, reliable, and affordable manner. Follow her on Twitter @corpnetnellie and Facebook.

Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business

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As more and more companies and businesses jump into social media – creating Facebook fan pages, adding Twitter accounts, and joining LinkedIn groups –

it’s important to create a social media policy to hand out to your staff and employees. Whether it’s a quick and easy guideline to follow, or a full set of instructions, businesses should set this in place early on to help employees understand what is acceptable when representing the company in the social media space.

Ideas to consider in creating a social media policy include:

  • Identify the purpose of the social media account(s). Will you be promoting products? Engaging with your customers? Obtaining feedback?
  • Establish the tone of all accounts. Are you going for a professional or conversational tone? Set guidelines for what is appropriate vs. what will embarrass the company.
  • Include everyone. Especially in larger organizations – include all departments in the guidelines and conversation.
  • Establish company accounts vs. personal accounts. Determine if you want your employees to create a new account specific to the company. This will help draw the line between tweeting about beer runs vs. a company luncheon. Another suggestion is to have your employees tag their Tweets with the company name if they are talking business.
  • Keep it confidential. Reiterate your confidentiality clause – it should stand true for social media as well.
  • Define Ownership. Define up front who owns what accounts and what happens if an employee is let go or leaves the company.
  • Establish a Responsibility List. Sometimes employees will receive complaints, questions, or concerns in their personal accounts, once they establish where they work. Put together a quick list of answers or accounts for them to direct the consumer in a timely fashion.
  • Revisit and Revise. Social media continues to evolve and change. Your social media policy should as well! Set dates to revisit and revise your document for redistribution.

Want to read a sample? Check out IBM, Intel, or the Mayo Clinic!

Want to share your policy? Include a link and I’m happy to add it to the list!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

How to Turn Your Blog Into a Lead Generation Machine

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To generate online leads, you need a steady stream of new, qualified prospects to your web site. These days, that means strong search engine visibility coupled with an active presence in social media.

And there’s no better tool to help you in both categories than your business blog. But like any tool, it doesn’t work by itself, it just amplifies your own efforts. Here’s how to maximize your efforts to increase your online visibility, drive more qualified traffic to your site, and convert that traffic into leads for your sales team.

  1. Spend time crafting a keyword-rich title for each blog post. Every blog post creates a new web page; each web page is another opportunity to rank well for one of your targeted keyword phrases in Google and other search engines. Your blog post title becomes your web page title, and titles are the biggest variable in the search engine algorithm, so don’t short-change yourself here. Make sure your best keyword phrases appear in the first few words in the title for maximum exposure.
  2. Keep those titles compelling. Leverage the “sharing power” of social media by creating compelling titles. People will often “Like” or retweet a blog post based solely on the title, even without reading it first! Although the tool may be tongue-in-cheek, check out the Link Bait Generator for ideas on how to create a compelling title.
  3. Blog for your audience: your prospects and customers. Too many business blogs appear to be where press releases go to die. Although there’s a place in an active blog for company news, for most businesses that’s not what will attract customers. Instead, keep the focus of your blog on your customers’ pain points. Every time you get an email or phone inquiry asking you for your expert advice, turn it into a blog post. If one person had that question, probably a dozen, a hundred or a thousand other people had the same question. Answer it before your competition does. Eighty to ninety percent of your blog posts should be addressing problems that your prospects face on a daily basis.
  4. Blog regularly. Don’t fall into the “I don’t have time to blog” trap. Blogging is marketing, and every business needs to make time to market their services. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, don’t watch “Project Runway” one week (unless of course you have a fashion blog. Then watch it twice.) You should really be blogging at least twice a week, three times when you’re just getting started.
  5. Reach new audiences through guest blogging. If you have the opportunity to blog at someone else’s blog, you are immediately introduced to a new audience. If you get another blogger to contribute to your blog, very often they will promote the post to their faithful readers, who will check out your blog. In either case, the cross-promotion is valuable to help you reach an audience who may never have heard of you otherwise.
  6. Actively market your blog. If a blog is such a great marketing tool, then it should market itself, right? Well, it needs a little help from you, especially at the beginning. Leverage your social media presence by promoting your new blog posts through tweets and status updates. Use tools like Pingoat to push your post to news aggregators. Use social bookmarking & news tools like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon as appropriate. Leave (intelligent) comments at related blogs and make sure your name links back to your blog post.
  7. Funnel blog traffic to your web site. Once you start attracting new traffic to your blog, it’s time to convert those visitors into prospects. You can do this through keyword-rich links to areas of your web site where you offer more information, or directly to a lead generation form. Consider offering a free download from your blog (at flyte’s blog we offer “The 11 Biggest Mistakes Small Business Bloggers Make”) that requires an email registration for collecting leads.

Now it’s your turn: what techniques do you use on your blog that generate leads and get people to start doing business with you? Share your ideas in the comment field below…and who knows, maybe some later readers will follow your link back to your blog!

Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media, a web design and internet marketing company. He writes flyte’s company blog, is an Expert Blogger at FastCompany.com, and contributes to the Social Media Examiner. He teaches courses on web marketing and social media at the University of Southern Maine, and is the “Tech Guru” on 207, an evening news magazine on the NBC affiliate in Maine. You can stalk him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/therichbrooks.

Is There ROI In Location Based Marketing?

Author:

Justin McHood

If you are a business, is it time for you to start paying attention to location based marketing applications like Foursquare and Gowalla?
Maybe.

As adoption velocity of social applications appears to be increasing at an increasing rate, chances are that you will be hearing more about companies using applications like Foursquare in innovative ways to answer the basic marketing questions:

  • What makes people come to my store and buy something?
  • What makes them buy more when they are in my store?
  • What makes them come back and buy again once they have left?

And when developing a strategy around these basic marketing questions, it may make a lot of sense to start utilizing location based marketing services to your advantage.

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How Domain Names are Like Real Estate

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Last  summer a major online media property inquired about buying my freelance writing blog. At the time, I wasn’t interested in selling, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever sell. You see, I’ve always thought about my web properties as real estate. That a significant brand was interested proves to me that I’m on the right track.

Like real estate, care of your domain is essential.

If you’re going to choose a handy man special, be sure you can fix it up

My husband and I bought our house almost eight years ago. It needed work, but as it was a starter house we figured we’d fix it up and sell it, using the profit to buy something bigger and more beautiful. Mr. Ng used to be a carpenter and is handy like that, and I had high hopes. So he gutted the master bath, pulled up the living room floor and de-wallpapered and primered the walls. Eight years later, I’m still without a master bath, my walls are still primer white gray, and we really need to do something about those floors. Though things are slowly coming together, right now in it’s gutted, half finished state, our house has a lower value than at the time of purchase.

Blogs and websites need similar upkeep. Unless a domain name is in demand and can sell on that name alone, blogs and websites require constant maintenance. They need to be updated and added to or they’ll languish, driving down the resale value. Though it often requires a major investment, most of us know the importance of nurturing and loving our online properties just as we would our offline properties. Curb appeal matters online too.

When I chose the domain for my freelance writing blog, I wanted “freelance writing jobs” the name of my blog. However, the owner of that blog wants tens of thousands of dollars to give up that name. Instead, I chose “freelancewritinggigs.com.” I maintain my blog every day, adding and promoting new content.. The owner of the expensive domain does not. Guess who is at the top of the search engines for “freelance writing jobs?” Guess which will eventually sell for more money?

No one wants to buy personal

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Top Ten Ways to Draw Readers To Your Blog

Author:

Jane Boursaw

One of the most fun things about blogging is drawing readers to your site and creating a sense of community on your blog. There’s no secret formula to this. It mainly involves following a few simple guidelines that will bring readers to your blog and keep them coming back for more. Here are my top ten ways to do this.

  1. Be reliable. As with any type of writing, make sure you know what you’re talking about. If you’re blogging about a breaking news story, make sure you’ve got the facts right. Link back to the original story, so that people know you’re not making it up as you go along. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions, to give the readers something to comment on and talk about.
  2. Write lists. There’s something about lists that readers and other bloggers love. They contain a lot of information, they’re neatly ordered, easy for readers to skim through, and easy for other bloggers to link to. While you don’t want to overdo it on the lists, adding them into the mix now and then is a great idea. You could even create a brand, like the TV Squad Ten and Film Gecko Five.
  3. End your post with a question. That’s a call for immediate action, and when a reader sees it, they automatically start thinking of an answer and are more inclined to leave a comment. It can be as simple as asking readers for their own ‘Fringe’ theories or asking what TV guys have the best girly scream.
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How do You Become a Film Blogger?

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When I talk with my friends, I realize that I might just have the best blogging gig in the world with my Dave On Film blog. Every week I get email from the major movie studios and their agencies, inviting me to special screenings of motion pictures large and small, and every day I get updates on what’s in production, what’s filming, the upcoming schedule for studios, and much more.

Yeah, I’m a film geek. But here’s the thing: there’s nothing I’ve done that you couldn’t do too, fellow film fanatic. I often get questions from friends on how to become a film blogger or film critic, and even got one today from a friend who wants to know what elements should be present in a good film review on her weblog.

So I’ll spill the beans, share the secret sauce, let you in on the secret cookie recipe. The real secret?  Love films, see a lot of them, and write about them.

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BlogWorld is proud to announce our new Managing Blog Editor, Nikki Katz

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This all began one night last year…I was tweeting, answering the “What are you doing?” question, true to Twitter’s purpose. What was I doing? Complaining about the final Prison Break episodes being spaced too far apart, of course; I couldn’t stand it. There was no damned good reason FOX should cruelly keep me waiting like that. I loved it, I hated it, I was ticked off and somebody out there online could certainly understand the monumental importance of my concern. Was Michael Schofield going to capture Scylla and bring down the Company? Was Linc going to live or die? Would somebody finally get rid of that bastard, T-Bag? This was madness, I tell you!

Nikki Katz

Nikki: blogger, Prison Break fanatic

A few seconds later, someone who shared my angst replied. It was Nikki Katz, a local San Diegan who happened to be blogging for the b5media network on, you guessed it, the Prison Break blog. She may’ve been more perturbed than me, and that’s really saying something.

Turns out, Nikki was not only in my town, our daughters were in the same grade and same school, she was a certified Prison Break NUT (seriously, I think she has a certificate), she also happened to run five of b5’s entertainment network blogs, was an accomplished book author and a real New Media pro. What a great connection!

We kept in touch off and on, and as BlogWorld 2009 approached, Nikki became Editor for the entire Entertainment channel at b5media, managing 50+ blogs. Fast-forward to February 2010 and things were about to change. The same week b5’s management announced closing down their entertainment blog network, we’d just decided we needed an experienced Managing Editor to help us grow our blog into the robust New Media industry source we’d envisioned for the past few years. I DM’d with Nikki the day after she got the b5 news, a new opportunity was waiting for her with BlogWorld, and here we are…Sometimes things just seem to fall into place. The fun part of Social Media networking lead right back to the business part, creating valuable connections as it often does.

We’re very excited to be changing, growing and improving our blog, and you’re going to see some great insights and conversations here every day, so be sure to check back during your morning coffee. And don’t be surprised if you show up here in a few weeks, and the entire blog has a completely new layout, look and feel. Good things are happening behind the scenes, and we can’t wait to show you.

Nikki, thank you so much for your enthusiasm and hard work already in this first week. This business is a labor of love for Rick and me, and we’re happy to see someone plug into the blog with such energy. It’s going to be a terrific year, and if we get busy running around like lunatics planning the conference and forget to say it, I’m saying it in advance. You’re doing a great job. Btw, I’m still ticked off Prison Break ended.

Dave

You can follow Nikki’s personal Twitter account @katzni and her new BlogWorld account @nikki_blogworld.

Why is "Linkbait" Such a Dirty Word?

Author:

As bloggers, we’re supposed to be building traffic with good, useful content. Though it’s something we all strive for, we’re not supposed to publicly state how much we want to build traffic and back links. We don’t want anyone to know we want our posts to go viral. We would be scandalized if folks knew we secredtly hoped for a massive response from Digg or Stumble Upon. It’s all about the vibe, you know?

Why is this?

Seriously, why?

Hear me out…

As bloggers, we want to build up traffic, right? We want people to visit our blogs and we want to profit from them. Sure, we have good intentions too. We want to share what we know , build relationships and teach some useful skills, but if you think most bloggers aren’t in this for marketing or money making purposes, you’re in need of a reality check.

Bloggers want traffic. Lots of traffic.

So why is “linkbait” such a dirty word? Isn’t it our goal to have folks link to us? Don’t we want to write headlines that will draw in readers? If no one else will say it, I will. Yes, that is our goal. We want readers and we will do what we have to do to bring them to our blogs.

Why, then, do we talk about linkbait as if it’s something dirty as in “Oh, he’s just using obvious linkbait tactics.” Well, so what?

I’ll even go as far as to say often times linkbait posts are more interesting than the regular “evergreen”content.

Granted, linkbait traffic is shortlived, but there’s no denying people will drop by often and stick around if they know there’s a good read coming up. If the purpose of linkbait is to solicit traffic and links, isn’t everything we write a ‘bait?

What do you think? Why aren’t we supposed to admit to using linkbait?

Deb Ng is founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network.

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