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NMX 2013

The Unintentional Thought Leader: Seven Steps For Small Business Blogging

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When I launched Marketing Sparks three years ago, “thought leadership” was not a goal. Discuss issues I care about? Yes. Stoke my desire to write? Absolutely. Maybe even attract new business as a bonus? Of course.

Over time, though, I discovered that a certain style of writing could help position my small business blog as an authority and go-to expert. That said, I use the term “thought leadership” hesitantly and humbly—it tends to sound lofty—and there are no hard and fast rules defining it. When it comes to blogging, my definition revolves around having expertise on a topic, shedding light on issues, offering a point-of-view, and sharing innovative thinking…and doing this is easier than you might think.

Here are seven steps you can take to start your own thought leadership blog or tweak your current one to elevate your content from standard fare to superior must-read.

1. Write About Your Passion

It starts with a cliché we’ve all heard: “Write from the heart.” Nothing could be more true in a thought leadership blog. That doesn’t mean pontificating or talking down to your audience, it means sharing your interest and expertise and giving that information to your audience freely. In the process, your readers will feel smarter too. Spreading insights through a blog that excites and energizes you—the kind you can’t wait to share with the online world—is contagious, and your readers will ultimately share with their own networks.

2. Choose Your Audience and They Will Choose You

As Daniel Rasmus said, “Go vertical or go home.” Pick an area to cover and stick with it. Let’s face it, we can’t all be experts on everything, and frankly, generic information is pretty useless. Think of it as a marketing campaign: Who is your target audience? Who will care about your knowledge base? What can you offer them that they can’t get elsewhere? Once you start adding value to your audience’s professional or personal life, you will slowly be viewed as a trusted source and develop a loyal following.

3. Get A Hub With Spokes

Now that you found your audience, it’s time to stimulate, educate, and even entertain them with your expertise. The key is to write on a variety of topics from your knowledge base and cast the widest net possible. When I take on my “hub” of marketing, there are a lot of “spokes” in that wheel: I write about branding, advertising, social media, events, technology—the list goes on. I also sprinkle in a diverse range of blog styles so that unpredictability is the only thing my audience can count on. That means:

  • Opinion
  • Interviews
  • Breaking news
  • Guest blogs
  • Follow-up pieces
  • Evergreen/timeless topics (my PowerPoint alternatives blog post from two years ago still garners steady hits)

Click to tweet this quote!

4. Circle-Slash Vanilla Views 

Rehashing a trending hot topic—say, Apple’s court battle with Samsung—is more about content aggregation than delivering any meaningful insight to your readers. You might get a lot of Google hits, but are not illuminating anything new. Blogging as an authority means taking a stand and doing it authentically. One of the keys is not just to understand a topic fully, but to offer readers an alternative point of view or additional insight. In other words, content that makes your blog worth reading and stand out from the crowd. As Jessica Northey said at this year’s NMX in the  panel session How To Build Your Blog Community: Three Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets, “Tell the truth, make it matter, and never be boring.” Amen to that.

5. Do Your Homework

Having earned a living as a reporter early in my career, I’ve always had a nose for news, curiosity, and a desire to ask questions. And when my reputation is at stake, I take that very seriously—and your readers will too. They count on you to do the background and research for them. Make sure you are using the best and most current information before you hit “publish.” If an important data point is missing or there is sloppy attribution, your credibility suffers. Conversely, if you get corrections from readers, cop to it, update your blog, and even thank the person for pointing it out. We’re all mere mortals…even those gunnin’ to be a thought leader.

6. There is No “Self” In Promotion

Ever heard the old saying, “Let someone else say how great you are”? Don’t promote your business or anything that smacks of it in your blog. Readers will sniff it out and run the other way. With so many choices on the Internet to spend their precious time, readers come for new ideas and practices, not thinly-veiled or overt pitches.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t market the heck out of your blog on a regular basis: Promote it to your personal and business network, leverage your social media channels by sharing and starting conversations, and of course reciprocate with other bloggers in your field. Don’t forget to mention your blog to clients and prospects when a related topic comes up. And, yes, in case you were wondering, I have gained new clients from my blog posts. Not only do prospects get a shortcut to your knowledge and skill set, it builds instant confidence in you before you’re even hired.

7. Leadership Versus Readership

There are so many blog styles: newsy updates, opinion blogs, branded blogs, affiliate marketing blogs, mommy blogs, and on and on. Choosing to do a thought leadership blog is a quieter and narrower path—dare I say “quality over quantity.” It takes time to grow your audience and build credibility, so be patient.

For most small business owners, blogging is a “sideline” to the busy life of running a company and does not pay the bills. Yet if you stay the course on the slow but sure path, you will be rewarded handsomely in personal gratification, respect, and potentially new work.

How could your blog be changed by adding a thought leader slant? What benefits would you gain from doing so?

Guy Kawasaki Talks About “Artisanal” Publishing

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We always feel lucky when Guy Kawasaki is able to speak at one of our events. This year, Guy sat down with Mark Fidelman at NMX 2013 in Las Vegas to discuss in a keynote entitled “Going Bananas with Guy Kawasaki,” which covered a wide variety of new media topics, including a discussion on publishing in the new media world. Here are some of the highlights from his talk:

“Let the people decide.”

The session began by discussing self publishing, or artisanal publishing as Guy refers to it. After publishing What the Plus himself, he decided to write his newest book, Ape, to discuss the process. Guy used social media for feedback and reviews by sending out the outline, and later his full manuscript draft, for his book to “4 million of my closest friends,” as he referred to his followers. He would never have been able to do so with traditional publishing.

“Traditional publishers would have an aneurism!”

Self-publishing allows you freedom to do things like sending your content to followers before it is published. With self publishing, the writer has complete control over the book from beginning to end, but that also comes with all the responsibility and risk. Remember, Guy has a huge audience, so he’s able to self-publish and try new things while still knowing that he will sell a healthy number of books. If you don’t have this massive following yet, self-publishing might not be as successful for you. However, don’t overlook this as an option, especially due to the freedoms self-publishing affords you.

“Guy’s provided me with such great content all year, the least I can do is buy his $10 book.”

What’s Guy’s personal social media strategy? He compared it to NPR. According to him, they provide “great content 365 days a year,” and once in a while slam you with a phone-a-thon. In Guy’s eyes, they’ve earned the privilege to promote once in a while because of their commitment to quality content throughout the entire year. He applies the same principle to his social media accounts. He provides his followers with quality content so consistently that when he does stop to promote his newest project every now and again, he hopes his followers think, “Guy’s provided me with such great content all year, the least I can do is buy his $10 book.”

Of course, during his keynote, Guy also spoke about a number of other topics as well. Did you know that all of our keynotes have been live-streamed and archived? Head over to NMX University to see our keynotes and additional bonus content live from the show.

About Guy: Guy Kawasaki is the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. He is also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

25 Brilliant Bloggers and Podcasters Talk about #NMX 2013!

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Brilliant Bloggers is a regular series here at the NMX/BlogWorld blog, but this week’s edition is a little special. Instead of talking about a specific skill, I’ve compiled links to some of those who blogged about NMX 2013 in Las Vegas. There are even some podcasters on this list, and as always, if I missed your link, please feel free to post in the comments!

Without further adieu, here are the brilliant bloggers and podcasters talking about NMX 2013:

  1. 6 Marketing Lessons Learned at the 2013 New Media Expo by Dan Gorgone (@dangorgone)
  2. 10 Social Media Lessons Learned from Ford – Scott Monty New Media Expo Keynote #nmx by Tom Treanor (@rtmixmktg)
  3. 38 Game-Changing Experiences for Business and Beyond (New Media Expo 2013) by Joel Zaslofsky(@joelzaslofsky)
  4. Can You Prove That New Media Are Effective? A Report from NMX 2013 by Tin Dizdarevic (@tdizdarevic)
  5. Day One of New Media Expo #NMX 2013 by Eleanor Prior (@theeleanorprior)
  6. Five Things I’m Doing Differently This Week Because of NMX by Erika Kerekes (@erikakerekes)
  7. Live from #NMX: 6 Ways to Make 2013 When Your Social Media Presence Hits the Big Time by Jesse Stanchak (@jstanchak)
  8. Meeting a Fellow Renegade at New Media Expo by Lisa Shaughnessy (@agilitysoccues)
  9. New Media Expo 2013 Review and My Biggest Takeaway’s from the Event by Chris Ducker (@chriscducker)
  10. New Media Expo: A Recap by Mitch Canter (@studionashvegas)
  11. New Media Expo Las Vegas 2013 Recap by Jason Parks (@TheMediaCaptain)
  12. NMX Blogworld 2013-Las Vegas by Lynn Dye (@lynntotherescue)
  13. NMX Takeaways: It’s All About the Community by Andrea Parker (@bigideasblog)
  14. NMX was Buzzing this Week – Here’s our Recap by Elizabeth Michaud (@uberVU)
  15. Post New Attendee Show Homework Tips by Elizabeth Traub (@elizonthego)
  16. Review of New Media Expo 2013 and Turning a Page on My Past Failure [Video] by John Corcoran (@johncorcoran)
  17. The #NMX Experience 2013 by Denise Garratt (@SimplyD)
  18. The Real Story at New Media Expo Wasn’t About New Media by Barry Feldman (@feldmancreative)
  19. What I Learned from Attending New Media Expo 2013 in Las Vegas! by Bernad Geropp (@MoreLeadership)
  20. Why Can’t Bloggers and Journos Get Along? #NMX recap by Peter C. Beller (@ebyline)
  21. You Should Have Been at NMX 2013 by Peter Pollock (@peterpollock)

Podcasts and Videos:

Don’t be shy! If I missed your recap of #NMX, add your link with a comment below!

Quick and Dirty Video Production

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From writing a script to lighting and sound, recording with the built-in webcam on your laptop, editing, production and post-production with Apple’s iMovie, award-winning speaker Dave Taylor demonstrated every step needed to create your first YouTube-ready video during his session at NMX 2013. We had the pleasure of seeing Dave’s workshop yesterday at NMX. Here are some of the highlights from his talk:

  • “You don’t need to invest yet to get started.”

iMovie comes preloaded for free on Mac computers and Dave fully explained how to use this free software for all it’s worth. From tips about shooting footage to best import options and title and transition tips, Dave explained all the options and best practices for creating a quality video. He then went on to put together a video in front on the attendees, demonstrating exactly how to implement the topics he covered.

  • “There is nothing that you can come up with that can’t become interesting.”

Anything, even the most mundane topics can become an interesting video. The key is presenting it in a fun, engaging way. Make a story out of a seemingly uninteresting topic to capture viewers’ attention.

Dave also shared many easy tips about recording and editing throughout the entire session, including:

  • “Really focus on looking at the camera, not the screen.”
  • “Shorter is better than longer.”
  • “Do something engaging.”

Did you know we have tons of bonus content from the show being uploaded everyday? Head over to NMX University to see videos, livestreamed keynotes and more.

About Dave:

Dave’s been online for over thirty years, during which time he’s founded four startups, published twenty books, and earned both an MS Education and MBA. He currently writes for a wide variety of online publications and produces how-to and marketing videos for a variety of clients, including Intel, Kingston and TrackVia. Find him online at DaveTaylorOnline.com

Leo Laporte Talks at #NMX about Building a Podcast Community

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We’re always excited when Leo Laporte is able to speak at one of our events, and this time around was no different. Leo gave our Day Two keynote, talking about how podcasting is changing the world of media. Check out his keynote, recorded live at NMX 2013 (made possible by our livestreaming partners Ustream and TechZulu):

Video streaming by Ustream

If you don’t have time to watch the entire keynote, here are some of the best moments from his talk:

“Podcast your passion but don’t do it for money.”

We all want to make money, but that’s not what it has to be about. You should be podcasting because you love what you’re doing and you love the topic you’re podcasting about, not because you want to make money. Passion is where it’s at. If you’re not passionate, your listeners will know.

“We’re not making little shows to download. I think what we’re doing is changing the world.”

Leo often talks about his disdain for the word podcasting since it doesn’t cover the entire industry and doesn’t sound as important as it is. As Leo stated, podcasters are changing the entire world, especially in the media industry. Mass media is actually a very young industry, and it’s still changing rapidly. Podcasters are shaping the future.

“Our opportunity is not to create audience but create community…Our type of advertising works because we have an engaged audience.”

We often talk about finding new listeners and building our audiences, but podcaster’s listeners are more than that. They’re our friends, our peers, and our community. And that’s what podcasters need to focus on – making their show a good experience so people want to be part of what you’re doing.

When we talk to our advertisers we tell them this is going to be a different relationship for you. And some of them don’t like it.”

Consumers are smart, so you can’t trick them anymore. Instead, you have to present ads in a way that makes sense for your listeners – your community, if you will. For example, on Leo’s show, they do ad slots, but it’s more of a conversation about the features of a product instead of a commercial. Ad recall for him is extremely high, which is great news for his advertisers, but some aren’t interested because there’s no smoke and mirrors. You have to have a good product with good features instead of tricking the consumer.

“We need to really think differently. We can’t just say “What we really want to do is be like the media on the internet.”

Digital broadcasting isn’t like big media as we know it today, and in Leo’s opinion, we should stop trying to be like television, radio, etc. We’re going to succeed because we’re different, and today’s mass media should be scared of that. Podcasters (any kind of digital broadcasters really) need to embrace their different-ness, because that’s how we’ll really change the world.

Want to see even more content from the show? Check out NMX University, our educational membership community where you’ll find virtual sessions, keynote recordings, bonus videos, and more!

Announcing the 2012 Podcasting Awards Winners

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NMX is proud to have been the host for The 2012 Podcasting Awards. This awards ceremony, which was founded by Todd Cochrane (@geeknews), celebrates the best in podcasting. This  year, it was hosted by Leo Laporte from TWiT. Here are the 2012 winners:

Congratulations to all nominees and winners!

Also, an interesting challenge was set forth at the awards ceremony. At the end, Todd spoke about donating to the awards to keep them going for next year, and one podcaster (from Ardent Atheist I believe, though the packed room meant it was hard to see), shouted out a pledge to donate $100 and challenged every other podcast in the room to do the same.

Inspired by his pledge, Leo himself offered to write a check for half of the awards operating costs (about $3,500) if the podcasters would donate the other half in the next month. So look for a donation button to be coming soon on The Podcasting Awards website!

Amy Jo Martin Speaks about Social Communication at NMX 2013

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Amy Jo Martin, author, speaker, founder, CEO of Digital Royalty shares how to tap into your inner renegade and bring innovation into your daily life. She explores how social media gives every human the power to make positive change. We had the pleasure of seeing Amy Jo’s keynote today at NMX 2013. Here are some of the best quotes and stories from her talk:

  • “Humans communicate with humans. Not logos.”

If you aren’t introducing the people behind the brand, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with your audience. People don’t respond to the faceless corporate branding that so many are guilty of doing online. They want to talk to individuals. A great example is Dana White (from UFC), whose Twitter blunder turned into constant communication with UFC fans, which has since expanded to all UFC fighters.

  • “The goal to to connect with people who believe what you believe.”

Who is your target audience? It’s a great question to ask before you start marketing online. You want to connect with quality people who really “get” you and your brand, rather than going for quantity.

  • “[Social media] is a dialogue, not a monologue.”

Broadcasting a message just doesn’t work. You have to be social. This makes you instantly more credible, since you’re now an authentic person. A great example of this that Amy Jo gave was Shaquille O’Neal, who created “random acts of Shaq-ness” to prove to Twitter followers that he really was the person tweeting.

  • “Deliver value when, where, and how your audience want to receive it.”

You don’t get to decide where your audience lives online. Find where they hang out instead of using the platforms you want to be using. For example, even if you love Twitter, if your primary target market is more active on Facebook, that’s where you need to be.

  • “Everything is trackable online… everything’s accountable.”

If you aren’t tracking what’s working online, it’s hard to be successful. The good news is that today, there are plenty of ways to track your online efforts, so there’s no excuse to not set this up so you can find out which of your activities are most beneficial.

This just scratches the surface of what Amy Jo spoke about at her keynote. Did you know that all of our keynotes are being live-streamed and archived? Head over to  NMX University to see our keynotes and additional bonus content live from the show.

About Amy Jo:

Amy Jo founded Digital Royalty three years ago to help companies, celebrities, professional sports leagues, teams and athletes build, measure and monetize their digital universe. Clients include: Shaquille O’Neal, FOX Sports, Nike, The X-Factor, Chicago White Sox, UFC, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Los Angeles Kings, Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos.com and more. In addition, Digital Royalty provides customized social media education programs through Digital Royalty University. Amy and Digital Royalty have been featured in top-tier media outlets including Vanity Fair, TIME, Forbes, The New York Times, Fast Company, ESPN SportsCenter, USA Today, MSNBC and Newsweek.

Amy Jo herself has nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers @AmyJoMartin and she travels the world to speak about the latest trends in social media, how to monetize various social platforms, and how to successfully build a personal brand by utilizing social media.

NMX Attendees: Visit Goretorium for Free

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NMX attendees, are you looking for something fun to do while in Las Vegas? Well if you’re a horror fan like I am, consider checking out Goretorium! They’re offering free attendance for all NMX pass holders in exchange for an honest review of the experience (just show your conference badge and I.D.).

Goretorium is a year-round haunted house from horror movie director Eli Roth. You might know Eli from movies such as Hostel and Cabin Fever, and if you’ve seen either of these gory flicks, you know what to expect at Goretorium! This self-guided tour features live actors, animatronics, and of course, tons of special effects that will send shivers down your spine.

After your tour, you can relax at the ’60s-inspired Baby Dolls Lounge, which features a complete horror-inspired cocktail list and the occasional zombie feeding.

Take a look at some scenes from Goretorium, and then check it out live while you’re in Vegas!

[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″]http://youtu.be/P2VGkL9x1UA[/youtube]

Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick is Coming to NMX in Las Vegas!

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True story: I’m so excited about this NMX announcement that I can barely write this post. So I’ll just get right down to the big news: NMX is proud to welcome Chris Hardwick from The Nerdist Podcast and The Talking Dead as a keynoter to our 2013 show in Las Vegas this January!

Chris has built a new media empire – or as he so fondly calls it, a “nerd media empire.” He started his nerd website and podcast in 2008. Along with co-hosts Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, the podcast features guests ranging from Mythbusters‘ Adam Savage to Larry King to the cast of Doctor Who.

Since it’s inception, Chris has partnered with Peter Levin (GeekChicDaily) to form Nerdist Industries, and what started as a single podcast has since turned into an entire network of podcasts, a YouTube channel filled with premium content, the Nerdist News newsletter, and even a TV show on BBC America.

Nerdist Industries is now the digital division of Legendary Entertainments, where Chris and Peter serve as co-presidents.

You also might know Chris as the host of The Talking Dead on AMC, a weekly talk show-style program that airs after The Walking Dead every week. The show, which he recently announced would being expanded to a full 60 minutes instead of having the previous 30-minute time slot when returning in February, features fans’ quotes and questions via social media, an online poll to go with the episode every week, and continues online for 15-20 minutes after the television program ends. So, it’s combining the online and offline world in a way that few other programs do.

Oh, and Chris is also a writer for Wired Magazine. And hosts events like Course of the Force, an annual Comic-Con lightsaber relay. And filmed a Comedy Central special, Chris Hardwick: Mandroid. Really, what doesn’t this guy do?

I might have a little nerd crush, in case that wasn’t obvious!

You definitely don’t want to miss Chris’ fireside chat with Leo Laporte at 4 PM on January 7, 2013 at NMX! If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, you can register right now at the NMX event site. Register by Friday, December 14 to save up to $200 on your ticket!

 

Note from Rick Calvert, NMX Founder: I am a HUGE WALKING DEAD FAN and love watching The Talking Dead after the show every week. I am guessing a lot of you are fans, as well. I can’t wait to see if Chris can share any inside news on the show’s return in February. Maybe even bring us a sneak preview?

Favorite line from the last show (which was a tweet from a fan) “If you put Merle, The Governor and Hershel together you have an actual Pirate.” I almost fell out of my chair. What is your favorite line or scene from the show this season?

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