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Are Mom Bloggers Worthy of Marketing Dollars and Here to Stay?

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Woman Using Laptop

Some predict mom bloggers are here to stay, while others say their demise is coming soon. I was just reading an interesting article on MomCrunch about why mom bloggers aren’t going anywhere.

As mom blogging exploded, the question “are they worthy of marketing dollars?” was raised. Here’s what MomCrunch has to say about that:

Mom bloggers have been leaders in the blogosphere, early adopters and creating change. The birth of new social media platforms has not weakened our blogs and reach. Instead, we have embraced the new platforms and they have increased our value.

In this feature I posted last week, it shows that moms are listening to brands and those companies know it. The report showed “that both mom bloggers and mommy “status updaters” are vital in terms of marketing and outreach programs”.

MomCrunch ends the article by saying for mom bloggers who can’t “succeed within changing trends, then yes, there may be some troubled times”. I agree. For moms who treat blogging as a business, who act professionally, who get out from behind their computers and engage with brands and other bloggers, then yes, I can see them sticking around for a very long time.

Where do you see the future of both mom bloggers and dad bloggers heading?

After Business Plans for Bloggers

Author:
mug-Thursday-Bram-223x300

… by Thursday Bram

Business plans can be a scary topic to bring up with bloggers: many of us have very clear ideas on how we want to make money with our sites and the consideration that there are numbers change the ball game can be terrifying.

I knew this going into my session at BlogWorld Expo in New York. I honestly wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in talking about the nuts and bolts of running a blogging business. But I was pleasantly surprised — and I think the audience was, too. We got to talk about what really makes sense, in terms of monetizing a blog, as well as the mechanics of actually putting together a business plan.

The Surprise of My Session

My audience more than managed to surprise me. I expected to attract a crowd that was familiar with blogging as a platform but were newer to the idea of a blog as a business. There were certainly a few folks in that boat, but there quite a few people who had actually already experimented with different strategies to make money from their blogs.

Now, I’m personally a fan of running the numbers on a new project before I get started. I have several blogs (at different levels of success or even starting), but for each of them, I have an informal business plan.

At the same time, though, I didn’t have business plans of any sort for the first couple of blogs I launched. A few of those died quiet deaths and the rest got business plans after the fact. It is more than acceptable to write a business plan even after you’ve been in business for a while; in fact it’s often necessary. With some more traditional models, the only time a business plan goes beyond the informal stage is when the owner wants to sell it!

If you’re in the position of working on the business end of your blog after the site has been up for a good while, that’s perfectly fine. It happens to a lot of us. But, just as I said at #BWENY, it’s important to sit down and write out a plan for that business. If you’re working with a written document, no matter how informal, you’re far more likely to actually get the numbers necessary to help you figure out how much your blog might earn, as well as address the potential barriers to increasing your blog’s income.

Zoom Out and Get Some Perspective On Your Blog

Author:

When you’ve got your nose to the screen and your fingers on the keyboard, it’s hard to pause and take in the bigger picture. After all, you’ve got a blog post to write today, a bunch of comments to reply to, and Twitter and Facebook to check.

You might have great daily – or weekly – routines for your blog. Perhaps you manage to get a post out every single weekday, or you’re really quick to answer comments, or you always get back to emails straight away.

But are you missing the bigger picture?

It’s easy to do – especially if, like me, you love blogging for its speed. You can take a thought through to published post in an hour or two, and get feedback straight away – which is fun, rewarding, and perhaps a teensy bit addictive.

Today, instead of racing on with the next blog post, how about taking a step back to look at five big questions ? These are the “W”s that let you see the bigger picture of your blog.

#1: Why Are You Blogging?

This can be a tough one to answer – but it’s crucially important.

There are dozens of potential reasons why you might be blogging. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

  • Just for fun – as a hobby
  • To improve your writing
  • To build up an audience for your products (physical or digital)
  • As a journaling or reflective activity
  • To create a website which will make money through advertising or affiliate sales
  • To build your profile in a particular field (perhaps aiming to get a job)
  • To attract clients who’ll pay for your services

Before you write your next post, be honest with yourself about why you blog. If you’re seriously intending to turn your blog into a business, you’ll be taking a very different approach from someone who just enjoys blogging as an outlet.

#2: Where Do You Want to Be in Six Months?

Whatever your reasons for blogging, you’re probably keen to progress in some way. When looking at the big picture, you might not want to think five years ahead (who knows what’ll have happened to the blogosphere by then?) – but six months is a good length of time.

In six months, you could:

  • Write and release an ebook
  • Substantially increase the subscribers on your blog
  • Build an email list
  • Start making a serious income from your blog

…and lots more.

In order to get there, though, you need to know what you’re aiming at ahead of time. Obvious enough, I know, but how often do you sit down and check that your current posts are taking you towards your eventual goals?

#3: What Products or Services Could You Launch?

Although this isn’t the route that every blogger takes, it seems to be how most successful ones make money. Unless your site gets huge amounts of traffic, advertising and affiliate sales probably won’t give you a full-time income.

Selling your own products or services, though, could net you plenty of money without an especially big audience. If you’re a coach, for instance, you might only need ten clients. If you sell ebooks, you might only need to sell to a hundred people each month in order to make a living.

Give yourself a few minutes to brainstorm possible products or services that you could provide:

  • Could you write an ebook or record an audio program that covers the same topics as your blog, in more depth?
  • What services could you provide? Lots of bloggers work as freelancers, or as consultants.
  • If your blog isn’t on an easily-saleable topic, how could you start tweaking it to bring it around into a slightly different area?

#4: When Will You Post Next?

Do you have great intentions about posting three times a week – only to find that yet another month has gone by with only two posts?

Do you find yourself staring at the screen every weekend, wanting to write a post but completely lacking inspiration?

It’s easy to get stuck, especially when you’ve been blogging for a while – it feels like you’ve said everything that you want to say. And it’s easy to fall out of good habits and let days and weeks slide by without a post.

A great way to fix this is by using a post calendar. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy – a notebook document with a list of dates and post topics might well be enough. A post calendar lets you:

  • Plan series of posts
  • Mix up different styles (perhaps a “how to” post one day and a “FAQ” post the next)
  • Set yourself specific dates for posting – no excuses!
  • Work out topics and post titles ahead of time, so you know what you’ll be writing

#5: Who Else is Blogging in Your Space?

Seeing the big picture doesn’t just mean keeping your eyes on your own blog. How often do you look for new blogs in your niche?

I know I fall into bad habits here – I’ll have a few favourite blogs that I follow avidly, and I often forget to check out new voices (or older blogs that I just haven’t discovered yet). But whenever I take the time to make new connections, it’s always valuable.

By finding and befriending other bloggers in your niche, you can:

  • Get opportunities to guest post, and attract new readers
  • Share ideas – and even partner up (I run a joint blog with fellow freelance writer Thursday Bram)
  • Produce a product together – using your combined expertise and audiences to create and launch something much bigger than either of you could manage alone
  • Help promote one another’s content on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon or other sites

Getting off your own blog can often spark new ideas. You might want to look at the ways that other bloggers in your area are making money, or at the sorts of posts that they write. Is there anything you could be inspired by, or take further?

Skip writing one post this week, or leave your comments unanswered for a day. Take a step back, and look at the big picture of your blog. How’s it shaping up?

Ali Luke co-authored The Creativity Toolbox along with Thursday Bram. The Toolbox includes a full guide on getting the big picture and the detailed view of any project – as well as two other great guides, and seven interviews with fantastic creative practitioners and coaches.

Scott Stratten Doesn’t Know Who You Are

Author:

Scott Stratten was the keynote speaker at BlogWorld 2010, and getting to meet him was definitely a cool moment for me, since I respect his work. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, and it led me to realize something important that I wanted to share with you:

Scott Stratten doesn’t know who you are.

Furthermore, Darren Rowse doesn’t know who you are. Chris Garrett doesn’t know who you are. Brian Clark doesn’t know who you are.

And I would even go a step farther and say that none of these guys even cares who you are.

Chris and Darren don't know who I am because I am a supporter of theirs. They know who I am because I marched up, introduced myself, and *told* them I am a supporter.

Why? Simple:

  • You lurk on their sites or as a Twitter follower.
  • You comment sporadically or never really say much in a comment other than “I agree.”
  • You RT them, but never actually comment on their tweets.
  • You’ve never introduced yourself.
  • You’ve never approached them in any way other than with the question, “Can you help me?”
  • You’ve never linked them on your blog, or even referenced them.

Do you know every single person online? Of course not. Even if you’ve been online longer than Peanut Butter and Jelly Time, you can’t possibly know everyone in your niche, even. Do you even know all of your Twitter followers? Unless you only have a handful, probably not.

So you sit there and fume that Scott Stratten (or whoever) doesn’t engage. “His entire stance on social media is that you have to engage with people. What a poser – he never once said anything to me, and I’ve been a fan of his for years. Waaaaaaah.”

Ok, I hope you aren’t actually being that melodramatic. Still, I think we all find ourselves thinking these thoughts. We feel ignored by people who, frankly, have no idea they are ignoring us.

If you do actively try to engage with any of these people (or the people you look up to within your niche) and they outright ignore you time and time again, ok. I stand correctly and they’re assholes. But I’ve never once met someone in the social networking/Internet marketing/blogging world who is like that. In fact, I never once met anyone considered to be “kinda a big deal” in their industry who is like that. You don’t get to be a “big name” if you refuse to acknowledge people.

Have you ever just tried being a friend? Have you ever walked up to Scott or Darren or Chris or Brian or (insert your favorite blogger here) and just said hello? I have.* And guess what? They know who I am now. Are they going to be my new bff in real life or even on Twitter? No. That’s just silly. Building a relationship is a slow endeavor. Meeting me once at a conference does not mean that they are now going to recognize every single thing I do or say. “Oh my god, I just tweeted that I’m going to bed. WHY HASN’T SCOTT SAID GOODNIGHT TO ME?!?!”

If you want someone to know who you are, 99 times out of 100 it is not their fault if they don’t. You want the relationship, so initiate it. These people all want to meet their fans…and more importantly, these people all consider you as a peer, not as someone on a lower level. They’re more than happy to get to know you if you actually take the time to get to know them, as a friend, not just as a follower. Say hello. Reply to their tweets. Comment on their blog posts in a way that adds to the conversation. Propose well-written, interesting guest posts for their blog, if they accept them. Write a blog post that names them in the title? I don’t know – do something to show them that you support whatever they’re doing. Y’all are creative people. Be creative.

I would like to make one other point before I leave you with your thoughts for the night, and to be honest, this point deserves a blog post to itself, which I’ll probably end up doing in the near future:

If your mindset is “What can he do for me?”, Scott Stratten may come to know who you are, but he will never care who you are.

And that’s true of anyone. Even me.

*Well, I almost. I never actually found Brian Clark at BlogWorld to say hello…hopefully next year!

Bloggers Unite to Urge Release of Comrade

Author:

Sure, bloggers may be a competitive lot – especially when they’re struggling to capture readers in a crowded niche. But there’s one thing they often band together on – freedom of speech and civil rights.

A collective of bloggers and activists have launched a blog to campaign for the release of Ali Abdulemam, a blogger and the editor of Bahrainonline.org (recently shut down) in Bahrain. Abdulemam was considered an icon among Arab bloggers for his courage in speaking the truth and pushing for government transparency and reform.

Unfortunately, Abdulemam was arrested last week for “publishing false news” and there’s speculation that he’s been tortured for the crime. After one week he is reported to be in solitary detention and has not been allowed to see his family or lawyer.

The blog (http://freeabdulemam.wordpress.com/) is a place to find news and aggregate posts from those pushing to free Abdulemam. Bloggers, from Morocco to Bulgaria have taken up the cause and have demanded that Bahrain authorities free him as soon as possible. They urge you to tweet about Ali and send a message to Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa (@khalidalkhalifa) – but they request that you be polite and respectful to protect Abdulemam’s safety.

I, for one, am planning to join in and support his release.

Go Where The Geeks Are: Why Tech Events Matter for Tourism And Travel

Author:

Panel: Tourism Currents workshop on social media for tourism
Speakers: Sheila Scarborough and Becky McCray
Date/Time: October 14, 09:45 – 5:00

Those who want to connect with visitors online need to speak their language, understand their communication tools and appreciate their culture and etiquette. Your CVB (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) cannot make smart decisions about destination marketing in a digital environment unless youíre smart about how your visitors function in that environment.

To really comprehend how wired people use social media and technology – particularly mobile devices, in ways you probably don’t expect – you have to be immersed in their world. Saying hi to your teenager on Facebook (IF she’ll friend you back!) only gives a partial picture.

You need to do what networking expert Thom Singer calls, “Run With the Herd of the Nerd.”

Tech events are one giant market research opportunity. Watch how people use Twitter, see how they shoot photos and send them immediately to Facebook from their phone, note how they conduct quick hallway interviews with handheld video cameras and how they look for ideas on where to eat and party (hint: it’s probably Yelp/UrbanSpoon or Gowalla/Foursquare, not a brochure from a hotel lobby rack.)

This is why we’re excited to bring tourism organizations to BlogWorld; it gives them the chance to connect with some of the thousands of bloggers, podcasters and other online content creators who can help spread the word about a town, city, heritage highway, state park or downtown cultural district.

We’re designing a hands-on, no-fear social media seminar that will introduce tourism folks to our “geek world” and show them how it can upgrade their communications work. Rather than have people come to this huge tech event and be rather overwhelmed, we will take the time to give them the lay of the land, and show them how to listen online and how to connect with the people who will want to talk about their town and help tell its stories.

There is no other event that gives tourism professionals both an in-depth educational session plus the opportunity to meet thousands of online publishers, in one economical package in one place.

(And pssst: you can get 20% off of a BlogWorld pass with the code TC20. Jussayin’.)

The flip side is that many bloggers have no idea that there are organizations that exist solely to promote tourism and travel to wonderful places.

Are you a travel blogger? There are CVBs that would love to meet you.

Are you a food blogger? Plenty of CVBs would be happy to tell you about their wine trails, restaurants and agritourism opportunities on local farms.

Are you a parenting blogger? There are tourist boards who are full of ideas for family-friendly fun in their town.

Are you a craft or quilting blogger? There are tourism folks who can show you amazing craft shows and quilt trails.

Tech and social media stuff moves fast, and organizations need to keep up in order to make intelligent decisions about whether to incorporate the latest whiz-bang thing into their marketing efforts. Don’t feel intimidated, though; we feel strongly that technology is for everyone, not just wired geeky types.

At events like BlogWorld, you will be surrounded by the future of communications….right now….today.

Sheila Scarborough is a writer specializing in travel, tourism and social media. Along with Becky McCray, she is the co-founder of Tourism Currents, an online community focused on social media and technology training for tourism professionals. She thinks everyone ought to have a passport and experience jet lag. You can follow her on Tourism Currents and Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff. Sheila is also on Twitter @SheilaS and @TourismCurrents

Blogging Statistics Show Most Bloggers are Young and Living in the USA

Author:

Sysomos analyzed more than 100 million blog posts that provided information about their age, gender and location information to gather blogging statistics. In a report released this month, they say that bloggers tend to be:

  • Between 21-35 years of age (53.3%)

  • Male or Female (females outweighed males by a mere 1.8%)
  • Living in the United States (29.2%)
  • Living in California (14.1%)

So are you in the majority or minority?

Other news and tips across the blogosphere this week (June 4th):

Copyblogger: How to Build a Successful Business With a Small Audience
We all want our businesses and blogs to grow. But not all growth is ideal or even beneficial. Sometimes blind growth can be harmful.

Daily Blogging Tips: 8 Tips for Conducting Effective Interviews with Bloggers
Learn the best ways to approach bloggers and conduct an interview.

ProBlogger: How to Stay Focused and Avoid Distraction as a Blogger
Check out Darren’s video that talks through some of the distractions that bloggers face as well as his simple 3 point strategy for staying focused.

ReadWriteWeb: Twitter Ad Changes: Who’s Affected, Who’s Not
After earlier news that Twitter Ad Networks would be affected by the inability to place instream ads, it seems like it may not be the case. Twitter ad networks are not at risk, but Twitter client applications are.

Mashable: Google Testing New Ad Format for Boosting Twitter Followers
Google has put together a new kind of display ad that lets advertisers attract more followers to their Twitter accounts.

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

Image Credit: SXC

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

Author:

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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