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BlogWorld 2010

Farnoosh Brock on Turning BlogWorld Experiences into a Book

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Farnoosh Brock from Prolific Living is someone who first entered my radar right before BlogWorld, when she stopped by my own blog, After Graduation, and left a comment. She was one of the roughly ten million awesome bloggers I didn’t get to meet in Vegas, unfortunately, but following the event I kept seeing her pop up on Twitter and on other websites. One of the things I noticed about her right away was that she was truly embracing the warm fuzzy feelings that we all had after the event. She was writing a lot about BlogWorld on Prolific Living, as well as starting to put the advice she received into effect.

She didn’t stop there. Farnoosh took it a step farther and released a free ebook about her experiences at BlogWorld and the take away messages she’s now using to make her blog even better. I was lucky enough to snag a small piece of Farnoosh’s time to ask some questions about her BlogWorld trip, the book she created, and what she’s doing now that the event is over.

Allison: What initially inspired you to attend BlogWorld? How was your experience there difference from what you thought it would be?

Farnoosh: Honestly, my husband kept insisting that I must go to Blogoplooza, our nickname for the fabulous BlogWorld expo conference. I was nervous, hesitant and tempted. He wouldn’t drop it. You see, I didn’t consider myself ready as a blogger to attend the event. Then I realized a few of my blogging friends were going to attend and the thought of meeting these people in person excited me more than enough. These are people I have come to know so intimately through our blogs and people with whom I have formed amazing friendships. One look at the BlogWorld Expo conference page, the exciting sessions, the keynotes and the discounts for early registration, I knew I had to be there.

The experience was above and beyond my expectations. Even though I was a bit lost and a lot overwhelmed, I found the networking and putting faces to names exhilarating. I met incredible people, felt amazing energy of this gathering, and I now wholeheartedly believe it is necessary to, at least once, meet and touch the people who impact our lives daily in blogosphere.

Allison: What inspired you to write about your BlogWorld experiences on your blog and eventually turn those experiences into an ebook?

Farnoosh: I had to capture and bottle up the flowing inspiration from some of the keynotes – these things happen few times in a lifetime – and the empowering experience of connecting in person with some of my closest and dearest friends. I knew that many other bloggers, some of whom I knew and was hoping to meet, were not fortunate enough to be at BlogWorld. I wanted to take home a gift for them. I wanted to bring Blogworld to them. The ebook idea came from the readers; I heard their request to have all the BlogWorld series in one single story and acted on it! All my readers ever have to do is ask. I had to deliver and since this was to be my first ebook, I poured my heart and soul into it, I pulled the story together and developed it in PDF and the epub version (for all eReaders and most Smart phones). I offer it as a completely free gift on my site. My sincere hope is to bring more bloggers together at BlogWorld 2011.

Allison: Since BlogWorld has ended, what are some of the most rewarding things that have happened to you or that you’ve been inspired to do because of the event?

Farnoosh: Oh BlogWorld ended but my inspiration has been sky high and my motivation has been building higher and stronger every day. I turned a corner at BlogWorld during the keynote with the beloved trio, Brian Clark, Sonia Simone and Darren Rowse. That was the day I decided to take my blog super seriously – but not myself so much! ;) – so I can spread my message to more people, I decided to implement everything I learned with patience, I decided to learn even more about my readers, and I decided to put fear and hesitation aside so I can bring my ideas to life. The launch of the ebook was extremely exciting; the blogging community loved it. Then I started to see multiple mentions of my site on reputable blogs, I get invited to participate in projects and give interviews, my writing desire has been unleashed, my readership is growing, working endless hours on the blog does not even phase me, my ideas about what to offer next to my readers has tripled and my relationships from BlogWorld are still blossoming. And these are just to name a few.

If you loved BlogWorld as much as Farnoosh and I did, you should definitely grab a copy of her BlogWorld 2010 ebook, and even consider putting together one of your own based on your personal experiences at the event.

Thanks, Farnoosh, for such amazing support of BlogWorld!

BlogWorld Was Featured on ABC’s Good Morning America

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The BlogWorld Team is happy to announce some exciting news! This morning, Friday November 19th, BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010 was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America in a segment with Workplace Correspondent Tory Johnson.

Did you miss it? No worries, you can catch the video on ABC’s website and read Tory’s article here.

Tory visited BlogWorld at Mandalay Bay Convention Center to learn firsthand about the buzz surrounding the event. She spoke with dozens of bloggers, new media experts, and exhibitors about how blogging and social media plays a role in their lives and today’s world. She also explored the topic of monetization, gathering advice and information on the latest technologies from exhibitors at the event.

Her steps include:

  1. Select a topic you’re passionate about. Make sure you have a lot to say.

  2. Create a promotional plan. Figure out how you’ll get readers.
  3. Build the blog.
  4. Figure out how to make money.
  5. Take it offline — bring it to life.

Getting Your Blog Noticed by the Pros

Author:

During BlogWorld 2010, travel PR professionals John Forest Ales and Terri Maruca sat down with moderator Stafford Kendall to talk about how to get noticed by the travel pros. While I didn’t get to attend this session live, I’m loving my virtual BlogWorld ticket right now because in listening to the panel, this is relevant for bloggers from every niche who are interested in working with companies to do reviews.

Getting noticed by professionals, whether it be the PR company for a hotel that can give you free accommodations or a publisher that can send you a free book relevant to your blog, comes down to one thing: Build a relationship so you both give and take.

It's not about what they can give you - it's about what you can give them!

You might have a million readers a month, but a lot of bloggers are popular. Unless you have a relationship with a company, the PR person you contact may not know who you are. Or, they might know who you are, but 99% of the time, a PR rep can’t give you free stuff to review. They have to take your request and go through multiple levels to get it approved. A busy restaurant owner probably doesn’t have time to read blogs. They have no idea that you’re a respected expert within your community…yet. If you start to build a relationship, it doesn’t matter if you have ten readers or ten million readers – if you connect to the company, you can show them what you can do for them in terms of promoting their brand. Sometimes, having a small dedicated group of fans looking for something extremely specific is just as good for a company as having a larger community.

When building a relationship, something that is super important is considering what is right for your blog, not just what you can get for free. John and Terri noted that bloggers can sometimes come off as demanding and unprofessional, and often it’s hard to see through the noise of people who don’t actually care about the brand, but rather just want something for free. Let me tell you a bit about my own experiences with doing promotion and reviews while at BlogWorld.

I knew I would be in Las Vegas a day before most people, so I decided to contact some PR agencies with the hopes of doing a few restaurant reviews here on the BlogWorld blog. My thought process was that by highlighting a few places to eat, more BlogWorld attendees would go to those places specifically. The perk for me was getting to eat at some awesome restaurants. The perk for the restaurants was reaching a few thousand people in town for the weekend. Ultimately, I worked with Kirvin Doak Communications to review Border Grill for lunch, Tender for dinner, and Mix for drinks at night. Some of that worked. Some of that didn’t work. All of it was about audience.

First, let me tell you want did work – Border Grill. The food and drinks at all three locations was fabulous, and Border Grill was no exception. But it wasn’t just about my good experience that made this work for a BlogWorld review. Other things that came into play that made this an awesome option:

  • Border Grill was right by the conference location, so most people had to walk past it on their way back to their room. Convenience is the name of the game. They had been seeing it every day and possibly wondering about it, so a review solidified for them the need to stop in and check it out. Tender and Mix were both more out of the way, so if readers wanted to take my recommendation, they had to do a little hunting.
  • The price was right. Bloggers have McDonald’s budgets, so while Border Grill might be a justifiable price for a professional,at $20 – $30 minimum for a meal, this is a splurge for the average BlogWorld reader.  Tender and Mix, while being adequately priced for the quality and service, were just not possible for many people. Had my food not been comped, I would not have been able to afford either of these locations, and I know a lot of other bloggers were in the same boat.
  • Border Grill fit a range of readers’ needs. The atmosphere made it comfortable for readers wearing jeans or readers wearing suits – which was important, considering that some groups had both types of people. The food was also palatable to a wide range of people. It was Mexican, but not in a Taco Bell type of way. I felt comfortable recommending it to everyone I met, without a disclaimer of any kind.

While at BlogWorld, I know that my personal recommendation of Border Grill was responsible for at least three parties of 6+ people eating there or ordering food there, and since BlogWorld, I’ve gotten a few emails from people who traveled to Las Vegas for other conferences but remembered my review and checked out the restaurant. For every person who tells me they ate there after reading my review, there are probably ten people who also did, but just didn’t let me know. Did the restaurant get their money out of offering me a meal there? Absolutely. Tender and Mix? Probably not so much, unfortunately.

Border Grill met the readers’ needs here at BlogWorld extremely well in terms of convenience, price, and range. Again, this extends to non-travel reviewing as well. Will your readers ultimately take action due to your review? Is the product convenient for them? Is the price right? Does it meet the needs of a range of your readers, not just a small fraction of them?

That’s how you get the pros to work with you. Should I review restaurants again next year for BlogWorld, my approach will be different. No matter how much I want a free meal at Tender, it just isn’t a good option for BlogWorld readers. A less expensive burger joint makes more sense. And showing that you’ve done that kind of thinking about your request is what makes a PR rep want to work with you. You’ve not just in it for free stuff. You actually want to promote what they’re doing. Free stuff is just a perk.

When you approach PR companies with any kin of review request, work to build a relationship. Don’t ask what they can do for you. Ask what you can do for them. Be receptive to their ideas, but be prepared with a proposal of your own – and one that has the ultimate potential to show them the biggest return on investment possible for the company. If you deliver for a company, they’ll want to work with you again and again, which is awesome not just for you, but also for your readers.

Thanks to John, Terri, and Stafford for a great panel!

Keeping Your Veterans Happy

Author:

Every community has veteran members – those who have been around since the very beginning. Your veterans are often the backbone of the community. They were there through the rough times, when you were just getting started, and they’ll often be some of your biggest supporters, even when others are disgruntled. A good group of veteran community members can actually be the biggest asset to your community. They’ll answer questions, help newbies, and promote your site.

But sometimes, veteran members lose their sh*t. I’ve seen it happen. You’ve seen it happen. Occasionally, someone blows up out of anger or frustration, and when it’s a veteran member, you’re in a pickle.

“The most challenging situations I deal with are not spammers. They’re not new people. The most challenging situation I deal with is when a veteran member loses it.” – Patrick O’Keefe

At BlogWorld 2010, Patrick O’Keefe, Chris Garrett, Lara Kulpa, and moderator Jeremy Wright presented “Building An Irresistible Private Membership Community,” and one of the topics they discussed was the problem of the veteran member who goes rogue.

There are two things to consider when dealing with this type of situation:

  1. You need to deal with all members equally and fairly.
  2. You don’t want to offend your biggest fans.

The first consideration is extremely important if you want your community to grow. Whether you have a paid membership community or a free community, if you allow certain members to break community rules with no consequences, other members won’t have a lot of faith in the community as a whole. It’s like when we were kids and a sibling got away with doing something bad but we got punished. It makes your community members feel like there’s a top-level clique that they aren’t a part of…and no one likes feeling like they aren’t cool enough to be included in someone’s little circle.

Applying the rules fairly includes ensuring that you are following the rules along with anyone else. Chris said something spot-on, in my opinion, regarding application of rules: “A key thing is to lead from the front.” If you have a no-cursing comment policy, don’t start dropping the f-bomb every two words. If you have a no-self-promotion policy on your forums, don’t create a thread specifically to pimp out your new ebook. The rules of your community apply to everyone, including you.

The second point though? Veteran members feel a sense of entitlement, and although it can get out hand, some of those feelings are justified. At the end of the day, they are the people who helped you build your community. They feel almost as possessive of the community as you do. Often, they’re just trying to protect what they think they have, whether that means rebelling against a new policy/feature or going off on a member they consider to be undesirable. Very rarely does a veteran member do something that is malicious, in my opinion.

So, when dealing with a rogue veteran, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Give them the benefit of the doubt. Allow your members to explain themselves and voice concerns to you privately before some kind of public ban or smack-down.
  • Approach them in an understanding way to avoid them feeling like they need to be on the defense. You want to be on their side!
  • Wait before you reply when the situation is emotional. Write your comment, email, etc. but wait an hour or two before you send it. Sometimes, when we have a moment to calm down, we realize that our emotions were running high. If you send an attacking message because you’re emotional, you may regret it later.
  • Listen! Veteran members aren’t stupid, and if they’re upset about something, there’s a good chance that they represent how others are feeling as well. One vocally upset member doesn’t justify suddenly changing how things are done with your community, but try to listen to your members’ concerns and address them.

When you do have to deal with a situation where a member isn’t following your rules, make sure you document the situation carefully. Take screenshots, save messages, and otherwise ensure that you have proof that someone was breaking your community rules. That way, if comments/posts get edited, deleted, or otherwise changed, you have a back-up of what really happened.

Thanks to Patrick, Chris, Lara, and Jeremy for a great BlogWorld panel!

The Step Between Friends and Customers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Win an iPad From YouCast!!

Author:

YouCast, a sponsor of BlogWorld 2010’s Tech Karaoke event, creates integrated social media campaigns for BRANDS and provides INFLUENCERS with unique, quality content and promotions.

BlogWorld INFLUENCERS: Join the YouCast Influencer Network by tonight at midnight and automatically be entered for a chance to win an iPad!
Help us learn more about your blogging interests here – so we can connect you with the brands that best fit.

Brands include; Turner Networks, Pepsi, Mandalay Films, CBS Films, Pepsi, OMD, WPP, Energizer, Novartis, GE, Ad Council, Ventura Foods

BRANDS can also sign up and enter code #bwe10 to automatically be registered for $1,000 off your next marketing campaign with YouCast.

YouCast is a highly specialized digital marketing company with established expertise in social media marketing including Influencer Marketing, Digital Word of Mouth, Social Media Reputation Management, Social Media Strategy.  With a range of products and innovative marketing solutions for major brands and advertisers, YouCast incorporates key components of SEO, Media Buying and PR into a winning formula/secret sauce that results on managed and tracked distribution of Brand Assets & Communications into the Earned Media space.

The YouCast Vision:
Provide advertisers with the ability to activate and communicate with thousands of proven influencers across multiple channels for multiple brands, while measuring and optimizing the impact on the brand and campaign on a real time basis.  Provide Influencers with a source of powerful content and publisher growth opportunities from both a traffic and a revenue point of view.

Creating Brand Influencer Networks:

  • Developed proprietary technologies that allow the company to produce superior and more cost effective campaigns for its clients.
  • Part CMS, part Influencer Management, part ad network, the YouCast Influencer DataStream delivers to advertisers the ability to track, re-target and build audience beyond the network hub or owned media properties.
  • Developing Brand Influencer Networks that allow for highly targeted campaigns enlisting segmented teams of Influencers who can drive sales and conversions with their significant power of referral.

Expertise:
YouCast has the expertise to reach the right consumer with the right message — to pinpoint niche communities, influencers and social networks where the target market will seek information and make decisions.

Access:
YouCast has access to the target consumers in Social Media through our Influencer Network and proven earned media marketing processes.

Website:
www.youcastcorp.com
@youcast

The Faces of BlogWorld Expo 2010

Author:

Video music by DoKashiteru and ditto ditto

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

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

Live Streaming: The How, The Why and The Future

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Tune in this morning at 11:00AM-12:00PM for live streaming of our Live Streaming panel with Cali Lewis (moderator), Philip Nelson, Colleen Kelly, and Tammy Camp! Details below.


 

Live Streaming: The How, The Why and The Future

Colleen Kelly Henry Philip Nelson Tammy Camp Cali Lewis
Colleen Kelly Henry Philip Nelson Tammy Camp Cali Lewis

Live streaming is the “next big thing”. It’s taken the online space by storm because it offers people interactivity with their entertainment – directly and without delay. On this panel Colleen Henry, Philip Nelson, Cali Lewis and Tammy Camp will discuss how you can take advantage of live streaming technology to enhance your business or personal brand. They’ll educate attendees about matching streaming purposes with your goals, easy set-up tips, examples of how traditional and new media personalities are using it, overcoming challenges, and what the future of live streaming looks like. This will be an information-packed session with lots of take-aways for you to start streaming!

Dave Hamilton and Jean MacDonald Talk About Podcast Sponsorship

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Dave Hamilton and Jean MacDonald as a team for a panel about podcasting is genius, simply because Dave sells ads and Jean buys them. So, attendees got to see the business of podcasting from both sides. I’ve dabbled in podcast with my blog Binge Gamer, but never really thought about monetizing it in any way. For me, this panel was an eye-opener.

Like with all the sessions I’ve been covering while at BlogWorld, there was so much packed into this hour that I can’t possibly convey it all here to you. I highly recommend picking up a virtual ticket to BlogWorld to see the entire discussion. One thing I did want to touch on here that Dave and Jean covered is finding the right sponsor, since this applies to blogs just as it applies to podcasts. It boils down to one rule of thumb:

Do what is right for your listeners (or readers).

Think about the topics you cover. What products or services would you naturally talk about on the show, even if you weren’t being paid for it. Think about your medium. Some things are just better to promote with visuals, while other things are better to promote with a vocal blurb. Think about what your listeners need. Give it to them. This is as important with sponsors as it is with your podcast (or blog) content.

Once you’ve found the right sponsors, getting them to consider your sponsorship package is a lot easier. Identify the sponsors you want and half the battle is already won!

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