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Overheard on #Blogchat: Advice from @copyblogger

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: How to Create Compelling Content For Your Blog

The #blogchat community got a real treat this week, as the discussion was co-hosted with Mack by Brian Clark (@copyblogger) from Copyblogger. As is usually the case, tweets hit on a huge spectrum of topics, this week including things like using keywords for SEO purposes, writing headlines, and the best blogger tools and themes.

Straight from the horse’s mouth*, though, this was by far the best advice of the evening:

@copyblogger: First, what are you trying to accomplish ultimately? What business are you trying to build, who are you trying to influence?

@copyblogger: Never lose site of your ultimate goals.

@copyblogger: From there, focus on 3 things relentlessly – 1. Links. 2. Subscribers. 3. Action (what do you want people to do?)

What I want to touch on tonight with my own commentary is the first point that before you even start focusing on links, subscribers, and action (and anything else dealing with monetizing your blog), you need to sit down and determine your blog’s ultimate goal.

I feel like this is where so many bloggers fall short. It’s not hard to gain a following, no matter what your niche, as long as you’re helpful and engaging. But I see so many bloggers struggling with how to build up readership after they’ve plateaued and how to make money once they have the community. Often, an inability to do so comes from the lack of an ultimate goal.

Start with a broad understand of your blog’s goal. For many of us, that goal is to make money. For some, it may be simply to express a certain point of few and gain followers, and money doesn’t matter, as might be the case with a non-profit blog. For others, it may be to raise brand awareness for a product that you don’t actually sell on the blog. I talked last week about another common blog goal – the blog resume, and you can also have the goal of just enjoying writing online, having a place to rant and rave and journal about your life.

All of these goals are fine. The problem comes when you say, “Oh, I don’t really know. I’ll just start writing and see what happens.”

If you do that, you almost certainly will have a hobby blog that essentially becomes your online journal. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re OK with not making money, gaining a huge following, or promoting a specific brand. I find many bloggers are not OK with that, which is where the problem lies.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You cannot inconsistently post about a mish mosh of topics that interest you and expect to make money.

That would be like opening a store at the mall and instead of selling items that fit into a certain category, just selling whatever you personally like. If I walked into a store that sold bicycles, peanut brittle, portable air conditioners, high-heel shoes, car batteries, clipboards, scarves, and toasters, I’d think the owner was nuts! Yet, that’s how many people treat their blogs – as a catch all that they expect to magically start making money.

Unless you have an ultimate goal, your blog can’t succeed as a business. Well, I’m sure some blogs have accidentally succeeded that way, but in general, you need to have a clear target in your mind. Even if you love a myriad of things in life, pick one to cover on  your blog or, if you have time, start multiple blogs. Set goals, and then put Brian’s plan into effect – start building your readership and making money.

*Erm. Not that Brian Clark is a horse!

BlogWorld Keynotes Announced: It’s Looking Good!

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Penn Jillette will be participating in the closing talk show at Blogworld.

Who are the BlogWorld keynoters this year? When are they happening and what will everyone be talking about? How will we ever top the rousing success of last year’s closing keynote talk show?

Relax. The answers to these questions and more are about to be revealed.

  • As previously announced, our opening keynote is the unMarketer himself, Scott Stratten.  Scott’s opening the ‘Expo with his talk “Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together” where he’ll discusses blogging with passion and emotion, while not necessarily sticking to the rules regarding posting content. Scott’s keynote will take place on Thursday, October 14 at 8:30 a.m. I know it’s early and you’re in Vegas and all, but you’ll want to get out of bed for this one.
  • On Thursday afternoon at 2:45, drop by and spend time with “Engage” author, Brian Solis.
  • Our closing keynote for Thursday will feature founding member of the pioneering 360 Digital Influence team at Ogilvy and the bestselling author of “Personality Not Included,” Rohit Bhargava interviewiing LIVEstrong CEO, Doug Ulman. Stop by the keynote room on Thursday at 5:15 to sit in.
  • On 5:30 Friday, our keynote features a discussion of the future of web videos. In what promises to be a killer panel, CEO of Revision 3,  Jim Louderback and Funny or Die‘s Dick Glover, will chat with Moderator Susan Bratton of Personal Life Media.
  • You’re in for a treat Saturday as members of the Third Tribe open the day with “7 Harsh Realities of Blogging.” ProBlogger Darren Rowse, and CopBlogger‘s Brian Clark and Sonia Simone discuss the pitfalls of making money with your blog and  how to do it right. Join us Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. for your reality check.
  • We set the bar high last year with our closing keynote talk show, and this year we’re raising that bar. Our host for the event is Rob Barnett, Founder and CEO of MyDamnChannel. It will be a packed house as Rob interviews Adam Carolla, host of the Adam Carolla Show (among others!), the talkative half of the comedy/magic team of Penn & Teller, Penn Jillette, “The Mirror Test” author and former Kodak CMO, Jeff Hayzlett, and web TV host, Cali Lewis. The show begins at 5:00, but get here early, you’ll want to land a seat for this one. I can’t promise that we’ll be passing around a bottle of wine this year, but I can guarantee a good time will be had by all.

Tickets are still available for BlogWorld ’10. If our published schedule hasn’t already convinced you to attend, hopefully our keynotes will seal the deal!

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