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entertainment blogging

How to Compete with TMZ

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Entertainment bloggers have some special challenges they have to face. I blogged about reality television for a few years, and about video games up until December, so I’m no stranger to these problems.

As a small or new entertainment blogger, it doesn’t really matter how specialized your blog is – someone will do it better. It’s frustrating, but few of us have the time and resources to compete with TMZ or any or the other big celebrity sites. A good 99% of the time, any story you report will be reported other places first and you’ll likely not have enough time to post every relevant news story of the day like a large blog with multiple staff members.

Here are my suggestions to combat this problem:

  • Post the most important stories and post them well. You might not have time for 15 stories a day, but you can post the major stories in a thoughtful, intelligent way.
  • Add your opinion and personal flair. If readers can find the same stories elsewhere, why will they come to you? Think about that as you write.
  • Focus on original features. Instead of rehashing news stories, think about evergreen content that will be unique to your site.
  • Dig deeper. If there’s an interesting news story, take the time to do some background research, contact people for quotes, or schedule a full-scale interview with the celebrity in question if possible. If you can do those things, bigger sites while actually link to you!
  • Post a daily round-up. Write what you have time to write and then post a list of links at the end of the day (or week) to stuff you may have missed. Readers will still view your site as comprehensive that way.
  • Get on press release lists. If you blog about a specific show, channel, celebrity, or genre, find out which PR companies release information and email them to get on their press release lists.
  • Go to as many live events as possible. Even if others are posting the same stories, people who can’t attend events (like E3 in the video game world or movie premier red carpet if you’re a film blogger) will read multiple stories about the same thing to get a better feel for what happened. You don’t have to be first as long as you’re at least as timely as possible.
  • Kill for exclusives. Okay, maybe “kill” is a strong word, but do as much as you can to get exclusive coverage of something, even something small, like an exclusive interview with a guest star on the television show you blog about. If you want exclusives, start getting to know the PR people in your niche well.
  • Consider audio/video content. There are literally thousands of celebrity blogs out there, but a very small percentage are doing podcasts or vlogs. If you do audio/video content well, you’ll stand out.
  • Blog with friends. You might not have the money to pay a staff, but you and others who are passionate about the same topic could come together to create a blog. If you have two or three bloggers working on a single site, you’ll be able to cover more news every day.

Are you an entertainment blogger? If so, how do you compete with large sites like TMZ that have huge staffs?

So You Want To Interview A Celebrity?

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Entertainment and the Internet.. the two go hand in hand. If it was not for the Internet and blogs we would not be blessed with sites like:

Dave Peck

Hey, I am guilty of checking them every now and then… fine…. I check them several times daily.

They get all the good gossip, videos, updates and interviews. So how does a blogger new into the entertainment field get those interviews? Those exciting pieces to drive traffic? There is no magic wand that can be waved. There is however some things you can do.  Let share some of these little tips, insights and yes, tricks to doing it. I will put them in list form, as people like lists!

  • Do not go big..cause you will go home! If you think your going to get someone big like Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio or Kristen Stewart (hey I have daughters I know Twilight too) forget it. You cant just call them on the phone or email them. They have these things called PR firms.  They will just direct you there and you will not get anywhere.
  • Go after the celebrity who is active on Twitter. So what I do is look over Twitter for celebs who are actively posting and responding to people. Right there I know they are more “down to earth” and easily approachable.
  • Look for a celeb who has a cause. Just like the rest of us on social networks the celeb has a message they want to get out, a brand to build. So if they have a cause, charity, or foundation they believe in, offer to make your post about that. So when you reach out to them, do not say “Hey can I interview you for my blog?”  Instead start with “Hey, I am very interested in your foundation XYZ. I would like to interview you and also cover XYZ.
  • If you can, target those you have a bigger network than. Not everyone can do this, but this is something I always start with. I look for the celeb I have a bigger following then.  So using Twitter I will look at the number of followers and reach out to the celeb I have more followers then.  This makes the celeb think, “Wow they have twice as many followers, if we do an interview I can get more followers.” Yep they are no different then us, they want a bigger network and have an ego.  (Shocking I know right? I have an ego! Hey just ask my wife)
  • Just send a tweet!  So I will start with @xyz I would love to interview you about your current project. If I get a response, I will ask them to allow me to DM them. From there I thank them with a Tweet so everyone knows. It helps to get the community involved.
  • Do not be a pest! I go very slow with my back and forth emails and tweets. I do not want to be all fanboy on them. As I do not want to scare them off.

So has this worked? Yep I have been able to do interviews with folks from TV and the movies and have several more in the works.  You have any tips?

Dave Peck is a Social Media Strategist For Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Follow him on his Website: www.thedavepeck.com or on Twitter

Review Tips for Entertainment Bloggers

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Little known fact about Alli: Long before I worked for BlogWorld Expo, even before I worked for b5Media or Binge Gamer, I was an entertainment blogger. I ran a blog called Reality on Bravo, which was all about those formulaic reality shows on Bravo, like Top Chef and The Real Housewives of Orange County. Back in my day, circa 2006, Bravo wasn’t getting much attention, except with Project Runway, and although there was definitely a fan base, finding traffic was, at times, like finding a needle in a haystack.* People who were interested generally went straight to the Bravo website, so I didn’t see much traffic.

Except for review days. Review days were my bread and butter* as far as blogging traffic went. Doing a review of some form of entertainment, like a television show or movie (or even live events, like a concert) is a bit different from reviewing products and services. Yes, you should still be honest, and you should certainly cover both good and bad points, but as an entertainment blogger, you should keep the following in mind as well:

  • Post your review ASAP. As soon as show is over or a movie is released, people are online reading reviews. You have a lot of competition, no matter what you specific topic within the entertainment niche, and one of the ways to drive traffic is to be the first one with a review posted. If you’re consistently first, especially for those of you who review TV shows, fan will soon realize that your blog is the place to be for immediate dishing, and they’ll before regular readers.
  • Talk like you’re gossiping with a girlfriend. Men, use your imagination here. Everyone has their own writing style, but if you just write a run-down of what happened on the show…meh. And I hate the word “meh,” but there’s no other way to describe it. It’s not that it’s bad; it’s just boring. Give your opinion, and do so in a conversational tone. Don’t be afraid to get emotional with your writing, especially if you were surprised by a plot twist, outraged at a reality show outcome, etc.
  • Use “Spoiler Alert” generously. I seriously can’t believe the number of entertainment bloggers who don’t warn when they post spoilers in reviews. Hell, I’ve even seen some entertainment bloggers give away spoilers in their titles. It’s a courtesy that needs to be the rule on your blog, unless you want to lose the respect of your readers.
  • Consider live blogging the show/movie/event/etc. Few bloggers have time to live blog all the time, but it’s something you can consider for a season premier/finale, an awards show, a televised concert, or something else unique related to your niche. If you don’t want to live blog, consider tweeting throughout the event – just warn people first so your non-entertainment followers can ignore your billion tweets until the event is over.
  • Don’t forget to recap. When you review a product, you include specs, like the length of a book or the retail price of the hairdryer. If you’re reviewing something in the entertainment world, don’t forget the “specs” – in this case, a short recap. Sometimes, I don’t have the time to see a movie or watch a TV show, so bloggers bring me up to speed with what happened. If you post a review without a recap, I’m going to move on to another blogger. Your opinions don’t mean much if I have no clue what happened in the first place.
  • Be honest, but be classy. Believe it or not, celebrities, directors, producers, and others in the entertainment industry actually read blogs. Would you be ashamed if the star of a movie read a comment you made about him? Don’t hold back your opinions, but be aware that even big-name celebrities might see what you wrote. Rather than attack a person, attack the performance, and be constructive by saying what was wrong or how it could have been better, instead of just bashing people with insult after insult.

If you’re an entertainment blogger and not doing reviews, you’re missing out on tons of traffic. Seasoned entertainment bloggers – what are your best review tips?

*God, I love overused, corny cliches.
**See?

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. Do not judge her for her love of Real Housewives marathons.

Image credit: sxc.hu

Keeping Your Entertainment Blog Entertaining

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Prior to my role as Managing Editor here at BlogWorld, I was a full-time entertainment blogger for b5media. I ran Prison Break Buff, Approaching Lost, The Hilton Files, 24 Headquarters, and Junior Celebs. In fact, I still run a teen celeb spin-off with my co-blogger at modOration. So I’m pretty well versed in the art of running a blog focused on music, television, movies, and celebrities.

With a niche entertainment blog, you’re stuck with a varied amount of news content and images coming your way. If your celebrity lands in jail for a month (Paris Hilton) or if your show goes off the air (Prison Break), you very quickly find yourself with a lack of new content to keep your readers engaged. Since I found myself in this situation often throughout the years, I have some tips up my sleeve for keeping your entertainment blog entertaining!

  • Create Biography Pages: This works for all genres of entertainment blogs. Create a biography page for a celebrity, their family members, their ex’s, etc. Create a biography page for the actors and characters in your television show or movie. Create bio pages for the members of your bands. Continue to expand on these, and use keyword linking to link to these pages in future posts, to increase your SEO and pagerank.
  • Create Timelines: You can easily create timelines for a vast amount of items for your niche. Whether it’s a plotline for the television show, venues where an artist has played, or the lovelife of a celebrity – you can create dynamic timelines that even link back to your older posts regarding those topics. You can even write recaps of the episodes of your show and organize them in order of their air date.
  • Create Galleries: With a lull in news and photos, it’s time to start organizing the pictures you do have! Put your image into galleries (by episode, by season, by event, by fashion season, etc). Then you can have higher level pages that drill down to these galleries, for easy finding by your readers. You can even create polls to have them choose their favorite.
  • Create Games: In order to keep your audience coming back, you need to keep them engaged and continue to post new content. One way I did this during the season breaks on my television shows, was to create games. I would conduct playoff style polls to see which character they liked the best, use quotes to have them guess which character said it and in which episode it was said, and ask trivia questions based on the show.
  • Interact With Your Community: Have your loyal readers write guest posts with differing opinions than you have on your topic. Perhaps you’ll spark some interesting conversations.

By keeping your audience engaged during your niche topic downtime, you keep them around for when news does start cropping up again. In fact, by using these ideas, you can pre-post and not always have to be on top of the latest, breaking news (which, believe me, can be very exhausting!)

What are your tips for keeping your entertainment blog entertaining?

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

Image Source: SXC

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