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BlogWorld is Over, But Your Work is Not Yet Done.

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blogworld keynote

Run the checklist, is your life anything like mine at the moment: Tired limbs, sore heads, great memories and a box full of business cards, notes and scrawled twitter handles…

Yes, the LA Blog World Expo is over, but that doesn’t mean you can start planning #bweny for 2012 just yet. To get the most from your conference, it’s time to do some follow-up, and make sure that the connections you made at the Convention Centre continue to work for you. Here are three easy steps to keeping the Blog World Expo moments alive for the rest of the year, and beyond.

First up, decide who you are going to reconnect with. I know the temptation is to go through all the collected business cards and say “Hi I met you at Blog World”, but I’ve always sent emails that either finish a discussion with an action point, or have some content that needs auctioned.

By all means send the personal ones out (especially if you can’t find them on Twitter or Facebook!), but there is nothing wrong in not following up with someone if there is no fit with you away from the exhibition hall floor – the exception being if you couldn’t give them details and you need to give them your details.

Go through the cards, file the ones that need to be filed, and action the rest.

Keep those first emails short and snappy – everyone is recovering from the Conference, so a quick one line reminder as to who you are, and what you’d like to do next. Be it a guest blog post, explore some licensing opportunities, or asking for a price list, make a clear action point.

Chances are, with all these follow-ups going around, you’ll have some yourself to answer. In which case answer them with the same focus, but place a deadline on it. For example, “thanks for getting back to me to ask for the pricing, here’s the PDF and I’ll be back in touch at the end of next week“.

You worked hard to get to BlogWorld (and the team putting on the conference worked even harder), but don’t stop now. Just a little bit more work and you can make sure you get the best results out of your time in LA.

Building Your New Media Empire

Author:

This year, BlogWorld attendees heard from an esteemed panel of online empire builders – host Mitch Joel from Six Pixels of Separation, BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone, Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, and CEO of Federated Media Publishing Deanna Brown. If you want to check out the entire keynote, definitely pick up a virtual ticket. Here were some of my favorite quotes from the panelists:

Deanna Brown

  • “I think it’s less about new empires and more about the fall of empires – the fall of old media.”
  • “The most successful bloggers in our network blog about what they love.”
  • “Avoid anything that puts you in a box.”

Michael Stelzner

  • “If you pick an area where you see a hole…you can build a massive following, and you can turn that into a business.”
  • “Figure out what your customers of prospects are interested in…and then give them what they want.”
  • “I say that I’m a publisher, I don’t say that I’m a blogger. I think that’s how we have to think about it.”

Lisa Stone

  • “Today’s empire of one has to have a diversified business model.”
  • “There is no contest that the most important thing you can do is deliver a fantastic story.”

Again, this is just a small sampling of the awesome empire-building advice these three panelists had to share! Check out the virtual ticket to see the entire presentation and get access to ALL of the sessions from BlogWorld LA 2011.

About the Speakers

Mitch Joel was recently named one of iMedia’s 25 Internet Marketing Leaders. He blogs at Six Pixels of Separation and is the president of Twist Media. You can find him on Twitter @mitchjoel.

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner. Technorati and AdAge rank his site as one of the world’s Top 10 business blogs. You can find him on Twitter @Mike_Stelzner.

Lisa Stone is the co-founder and CEO of of BlogHer. Their content hub at BlogHer.com reaches more than 27 million women monthly. She’s on Twitter @lisastone.

Deanna Brown is the CEO of Federated Media Publishing and the co-founder of CondeNet, the digital division of publisher CondeNast. Find her on Twitter @deannabrown.

One More Day of BWELA 2011: How to Rock It

Author:

Today, thousands of bloggers, brand ambassadors, social media professionals, internet marketers, and all-around good people will come together one last time in (this year at least) for a finally day of networking and learning. BlogWorld LA 2011 is winding down, though I hate to use that phrase. It’s actually winding up; although we’ll all soon be boarding planes and jumping into cars to go back to our separate lives, we’re leaving with more ideas – and friends – than ever. It’s a good feeling, right?

So on this, the last day of BlogWorld (until next year at least), how can you totally rock it?

  • Take pictures.

You never get home and think “Woah, I took way too many pictures.” You can always delete the ones you don’t want! Several times, however, I’ve come home from events wishing that I would have remembered to pull out my camera. You’ve probably seen some awesome professional photographers roaming the event, but don’t rely on them to capture the images that mean the most to you. Snap pictures with the new friends you meet, the speakers you adore, the expo floor…anything and everything. You won’t regret having those pictures as memories.

  • Attend sessions.

At BlogWorld, it is easy to get distracted in the halls and never make it to sessions. Networking is uber important, but try to sit in on some sessions today too. They’ve been pretty freaking amazing so far, and today’s are going to be great too. Even if you think you don’t need more education, I guarantee that you will walk away with new tips and tricks. Heck, I even saw Darren Rowse and John Chow attending sessions this weekend. If popular a-list bloggers can get value from our sessions, so can you.

  • Blog.

We get so busy with education and parties and awesomeness that most of us don’t actually blog while at BlogWorld. Don’t forget about your readers back home, though. I’m living proof that you can attend BlogWorld and keep your blog updated while there. You don’t have to write a 2000-word killer post. Just do a quick status update, report on one of the sessions you attended, post some pictures, etc. Or, at the very least, get some posts outlined as drafts so you can clean them and post them rather quickly when you get home.

  • Say hello to the BlogWorld staff.

We don’t bite; I promise! Everyone on the staff is super friendly and we roam the halls regularly. You can catch some of us in sessions (I intend to check out as many as possible tomorrow), and if all else fails, follow us on Twitter to find out where we are. We’ll all definitely be at the party afterward, so if you don’t see us during the day, hunt us down there!

  • Make plans with new friends and partners.

Saying “I’ll tweet you when I get home” or “we should definitely do a project together” is great, but it’s rare that people follow through. If you really want to make a lasting connection with people, make more solid plans before you leave. Set up a time to talk via Skype, come up with some tasks that you can both work on developing, or otherwise come up with a definite plan instead of just a wishy-washy “see you around the internets!”

BlogWorld may be coming to a close today, but there’s still time to enjoy the conference and the company. What are you doing today to totally rock it before you leave LA?

Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011

Author:

Technorati’s annual State of the Blogosphere report was being unveiled at BlogWorld 2011 right now! We’re live-blogged the event, as stats were announced by Technorati Media CEO, Shani Higgins (along with host Mitch Joel from Six Pixels of Separation and Mikal Belicove from Entrepreneur Magazine). Thanks to everyone who came to #BWELA…if you weren’t there, here are the important points:

  • 4,114 bloggers were surveyed by Penn Schoen Berland, 1,231 consumers were surveyed by Crowd Source, and for the first time, 111 senior level agency and brand markets were interviewed, with more interviews to come.
  • 61% of bloggers are hobbyists.
  • 59% are male (down from 64%)
  • Bloggers are educated and affluent – about 79% have college degrees.
  • Bloggers have an average of three blogs.
  • 80% have been blogging for 2+years and 50% have been blogging 4+ years.
  • Bloggers measure success first and foremost by personal satisfaction (61%). Most blog to share their expertise with others (70%).
  • 66% of professional bloggers use Google+ (59% of all bloggers use it).
  • Probloggers use Twitter more than Facebook, but both are popular.
  • The average blogger has 847 followers on bloggers (probloggers have more).
  • 75% of probloggers and 50% of all bloggers have separate Facebook accounts for their blogs.
  • Only about 13% of bloggers syndicate on Google+.
  • LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Stumble Upon, Del.isio.is, Picasa, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Digg are the next most popular social networks (in that order).
  • Twitter drive the most traffic overall, though Facebook drives the most social media traffic. (Tagging your blog posts and commenting for reciprocity are also high traffic drivers.)
  • The top tools for bloggers are: social sharing widgets, built-in syndication, providing site search on your blog, video hosting sites, widgets from other sites, trackbacks, photo hosting, and commenting systems beyond the traditional blog platform system).
  • Blogs outpaced other media for inspiration, product information, and opinion. They won out over traditional media in all categories except news information.
  • Consumers still trust convos with friends and family first. Friends of Facebook come second.
  • The number one influence for bloggers is other bloggers (68%). This is a huge jump from only 30% in 2010.
  • 2/3 of bloggers blog about brands. 1/3 post brand/product reviews and 1/3 post about everyday experiences in stores or with customer care.
  • 1/3 of pros publish product reviews once a week or more.
  • 2/3 of pros are approached 8 times a week by brands.
  • It is very important for bloggers to choose advertising that aligns with their values. This is up from 10% last year.
  • Last year, 33% of bloggers encouraged readers to boycott brands. This year, that number was 25%.
  • The biggest complaint with brands was that 60% of bloggers say they are treated less professionally by brands than traditional media is being treated.
  • Only 15% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as very favorable.
  • Less than 25% say brands provide value or are knowledgeable about their brands.
  • 86% of bloggers disclose when a post was sponsored or paid. 58% disclose when they receive a product for review. (Alarming, since the FTC now requires disclosure.)
  • The majority of brand social media professionals have only been using social media for 1-2 years. 34% have their own blogs.
  • Brands most commonly measure success on social media with followers, friends, likes, and social sharing.
  • Some of the biggest changes brands saw in 2011 were that individuals trust bloggers, the subject matter needs to fit the brand, and it’s about building small pieces of content to entertain. In the future, they see that social media is a campaign leader, not just a supporter.
  • 4% of bloggers and 37% of full time pros say that blogging is their primary source of income. 14% receive a salary for blogger.
  • Only about 6% of bloggers write sponsored posts, but most make less than $50 per post.
  • Only about 1/4 are blogging weekly or more. Most can’t quit their day job (yet).

Head to Technorati to read the entire State of the Blogosphere report. And don’t forget, you can check out the BlogWorld virtual ticket to get the entire presentation and listen to all of the other awesome new media sessions at BlogWorld.

We are Wayfarers: Amber Naslund Rocks the Keynote Stage at BWELA 2011

Author:

I’ve been excited to see Amber Naslund on the keynote stage since we first found out she’d be speaking. Last year, I saw her and Jay Baer speak about concepts in their book, The Now Revolution. Her keynote at BlogWorld LA 2011 had one very strong message that we all need to remember: We are the people defining the future of business.

If you want to check out Amber’s entire presentation, consider our virtual ticket option. Here are some of the key points from her speech:

  • We crave proof and run away from the unknown because comfort builds confidence.

We’re not afraid of failure as much as we’re afraid of blame. The stuff business have always done is what people cling to because at least they know what the outcome will be. But in this day and age, standing still will eventually lead to death. It’s our job at the forefront of this industry to take people into the future.

  • “It’s not the era of experts. It’s the era of inquisitors. It’s the era of the curious.”

We applaud children for being full of wonder. Why can’t we get back to that point? In order to move forward in business, we have to be willing to question everything around us and be curious about the results.

  • We need to be part of the solution, not just pointing out the problems.

It’s fantastic for those of us in the new media world to point out problems, but we also have to offer an alternative path. If what businesses are doing is wrong, what can they do that will be better? Our job is to define the next step.

My favorite quote of the night came close to the end. Amber told her own story of how, with just two month’s savings in the bank and a one-year-old daughter, Amber quit her rat race job. She didn’t even have much of a plan of where to go next. While she asserted that this is not the best path for everyone, you do need to take risks. Or, as Amber put it, “Sometimes you need to take a step on the path before you see where it’s going to lead.”

Check out more about Amber here.

Strategy that Creates Community

Author:
Liz Strauss 2

If anyone knows a thing or two about community, it’s Liz Strauss. I got the opportunity to attend her track keynote at BlogWorld LA 2011; here are some take-away key points from her talk:

  • “A leader is someone who wants to build something they can’t build alone.”

We all believe we have to build things alone, like help is a four-letter word. But we all need help to build something great. Remember, John Kennedy had no idea how to actually put a man on the moon. Invite people who share your values to help you – and they will bring their friends.

  • “In order to know where you’re going you’re really have to have a strategy.”

Strategies are the the same as tactics. According to Liz, “strategy is a realistic system to leverage opportunity.” We all have different opportunities, but you need to have a mission so people will follow you…and you need a vision to have a mission. Missions make roadblocks irrelevant, because you’ll find your way around them.

  • “Pick your position. Know where you are.”

When you choose your position, you’re going to attract people to you and help you build your tribe. Notice people: who they are, what they do, and what they notice. And notice people who notice you – those are the people who think like you and share in your vision and mission. Identify your advantages and look for people who need those things. And remember, what you think are your weakness can be turned around into strengths.

  • “Cycles, trends, and conditions shine with opportunity.”

Change allows for the chance to grow. “Bad” conditions don’t have to be bad for you – did you know the most businesses were started during the height of the American Great Depression. You can turn challenges into opportunity.

  • “Understand that you’re going to have different people in your tribe.”

Support people in every way you can, but realize that people are different. You have apostles, people who execute, two-minute volunteers…understand how your tribe works and value them at every level.

  • “Campaigns make sales. Communities make relationships.”

Campaigns are about your products, but you want people to build a relationship with you. That way, when you make mistakes or change your mind, people will follow you.

  • “You can’t lead the community and be the community.”

Liz told a great story about her friend who, within a year of owning her first car, got into five (minor) accidents because she had a habit of speaking with her hands to people – she wanted to be a passenger and a driver. You have to lead – and that means setting an example and being in control of your community.

These were just a few of the awesome points she made during her session. Remember, you can pick up a virtual ticket if you want to hear Liz’s entire talk as well as other presentations from BWELA 2011 – as well as special backstage exclusives from Johnny B. Truant!

About the Speaker

Liz Strauss is a brand strategist and the founder of SOBCon, the business strategy workshop event that grew out of her popular Successful-Blog.com. She was named to Dun and Bradstreet’s 68 Most Influential Small Business People on Twitter and awarded the prestigious title of Titan of Web 2.0 at the World Forum “Communication on Top” in Davos, Switzerland.

Live Painting & Auction to Benefit United Way LA #Art4Charity

Author:
unitedwaygla

As you may well know, we’ve got a great Cause Track this year at BlogWorld, and what I’m announcing here, is a way-cool addition to those with an appreciation for charity and beautiful art.

Natasha Wescoat has graciously offered to do a livepainting session in our New Media Lounge on Saturday, Nov 5th from 1230p-330p at BWELA, and will be auctioning off the painting with the proceeds going to The United Way of Greater Los Angeles!

The live painting will be open to the world to watch on Natasha’s Justin.TV channel, and the painting will be up for auction in her eBay store. (This will be clearly labeled in the auction title.)

We’d really love your help in spreading the word about this session, as the more word gets around, the more likely we can get a high bid on the piece and have a nice amount to give to The United Way LA! The official hashtag for this event is #Art4Charity, used in combination with the standard #BWELA hashtag.

Learn more about the United Way of Los Angeles:

HomeWalkLA
United Way LA on Facebook
United Way LA on Twitter

And learn more about Natasha Wescoat:

About Natasha
Natasha on Facebook
Natasha on Twitter

Leah Segedie Says BlogWorld Raises Her Game

Author:
leah-segedie

Session: Lifestyle Makeover Roundtable
Speaker: Leah Segedie

Leah Segedie will be speaking with some amazing bloggers about “Finding the Right Fit” – which addresses their experiences working with brands and how to stand out in your own space.

Leah says she really likes conferences, but especially loves BlogWorld because she learns a lot, and always something new.

Hear what else Leah has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

The Recipe for a Successful Blogging Business: How to Minimize Your Liability

Author:

… by Nellie Akalp

You’ve logged long hours behind the glare of your laptop display, battled writer’s block valiantly, and tried your best not to get rattled by the occasional negative comment or flame war. Along the way, you’ve produced some great content and have joined the growing ranks of more than 175 million blogs worldwide.

While blogging has become a serious industry, most bloggers don’t necessarily consider the business aspects of their blog when they’re just starting out. But soon enough what may have started as a casual interest turns into an extra source of income, or even a full-time business.

If you’re a self-employed or self-starting blogger, you’ve got to be aware of a few things as you navigate the legal and business aspects of your blog.

Liability issues

Yes, I know, it’s hard to imagine that sitting behind a computer can put you at any real risk of a lawsuit. And certainly managing a blog is inherently less risky than managing a sky diving business. However, there are some liability issues to consider: What it you accidentally plagiarize another writer’s work? What if you write about a mobile phone prototype left behind at a bar? What if you’re fined by the FTC or named in a class-action lawsuit for positively reviewing a defective product?

If you’re involved in blogging or social media, you’re most likely aware that back in 2009 the FTC revised their guidelines to bring social media and Internet advertisers into the mix. At the heart of this revision was a concern that recognizing ads in social media was becoming increasingly harder. And since then, we’ve seen a handful of controversies surrounding celebrities not properly disclosing brand relationships.

Here’s my recipe (just three simple steps) to minimize your liability as a blogger:

Step 1: 1 cup of disclosure

You need to disclose any ‘material relationship’ with an advertiser or brand. A material relationship can be anything and everything from receiving cash, free samples, a free product, or free trip in exchange for a product review or blog post. Let’s say that Jimmy is an online gaming expert who drinks lots of energy drinks and blogs about his gaming experiences. A game manufacturer sends him a free game and asks him to write about it. Accepting this free game creates a material relationship that must be disclosed or Jimmy can face substantial fines.

If you’re not sure what constitutes a material relationship, err on the side of caution. After all, do you think Jimmy’s readers will be upset to learn he received a free game (particularly, if he’s known for enthusiastic, albeit dead honest, reviews)? Beyond FTC penalties, I believe that disclosure is good practice, as it maintains the relationship of trust that you’ve built with your audience.

Step 2: Sprinkle reviews with results that consumers can ‘generally expect’

It’s no longer acceptable for a blog review to make outrageous claims like “I made $30,000 last month from home selling on eBay; I lost 50 pounds in 2 months.” This is true even if you put a disclaimer ‘results not typical’ in fine print. Like advertisers, bloggers are required to disclose results that “consumers can generally expect.” If you don’t comply, you could receive substantial fines or a consumer protection lawsuit. In most cases, the company itself will be the defendant, but as a participating blogger, you could also be named in the lawsuit.

Step 3: Form an LLC or corporation

Most bloggers aren’t really thinking about business structure when they first start out, meaning that most begin as sole proprietors. While you may think you should incorporate in order to lower your taxes, the main benefit of incorporating or forming an LLC has to do with separating your personal and business finances and minimizing your personal liability.

With an LLC or Corporation (S Corp or C Corp), your personal assets, such as property or a savings account, are shielded from any judgment if your blog happens to be sued or fined. On the other hand, 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 you initially started as an interesting side project could end up wiping out your down payment savings.

Also be aware that creditor judgments can actually last up to 22 years. This means that if you’re sued today, your personal assets will still be vulnerable for up to 22 years.

This may sound like scare tactics. And I’m not a fan of scare tactics. But I am a fan of education. Most likely, you’ll never run into any sort of problems with your blog except for the occasional troll. But following this simple recipe of shielding your personal assets through an LLC or Corp, using common sense when choosing your advertising/marketing partners, and always erring on the side of transparency will help make for the sweet success of your blog and business.

Nellie Akalp is a passionate entrepreneur, small business advocate and mother of four. As CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, Nellie helps small business owners form an LLC or incorporate a business in order to start and protect their new business ventures the right way. To access free guides, advice and informative videos on small business legal topics, visit here: http://bit.ly/pChZbV

At next week’s BlogWorld in LA; Nellie will be exhibiting information for attendees to learn the benefits of forming that business structure to a new venture and why it’s an integral part of the success of a business. She will be giving away one iPad2 on November 4th and one on November 5th to BWE attendees. People just have to stop by the booth and look for the ‘Word of the Day’. Once they find it; they need to Tweet to @CorpNet or comment on the CorpNet Facebook page with that word to be entered to win. If they tweet and comment; they are entered twice.

Marcus Sheridan: The Story of Inbound Marketing

Author:
Marcus_Sheridan1-110x110

Session: 7 Blogging Ideas That Will Brand Your Business and Make You the Voice of Your Industry
Speaker: Marcus Sheridan

At BlogWorld LA, Marcus Sheridan will not only show 7 powerful ways by which businesses will gain huge SEO and Branding visits through content, but he’ll also take the audience to the ‘next level’ of understanding how consumers think, feel, and the things they truly want to be reading about.

Hear his story:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

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