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November 2010

Turning Customers Into Passionate Brand Fans


Entertainers have always known that fans long for a personal connection with them. The more an artist can provide a behind the curtain experience the more people will become passionate fans who attend movies, watch TV shows, see concerts, download music and tell their friends. The other secret artists intuitively understand is that people like to share experiences with others who have the same interests.

Social media provides unique opportunities for brands to emulate the arts. Social platforms provide ways to connect employees, who are the heart of the brand, with their audiences. It also allows for the creation of digital events and communities that bring customers together to tell their unique stories about your brands.

On the surface, social media appears fairly simple. Drop a tweet, write a status update, post a video on YouTube. How hard can that be if middle school kids are doing it? Don’t let the ease of the technology fool you into the illusion using social media as a business tactic is child’s play. Incorporating social media into your master plan requires a sophisticated approach that is integrated, monitored and flexible to respond to market opportunities.

The digital brand experience frequently opens the door to a world where our customers collide with business units that have long been silo-ed within organizations (customer service to marketing, public relations, sales and beyond). To succeed a social marketing strategy must begin with aligning the enterprise. The first step takes into account the concerns and social interaction of the people who have contact (both actively and passively) with your customers.

Experience has taught us that while a step into the social web may initially increase awareness, the challenge of consistently extending and maintaining the goodwill of an organization’s online reputation through digital conversations is based on how well the details are managed.

  • Identify your target audience/s
  • Understand your target audience’s social media expectations
  • Understand the culture of each platform where your customers participate
  • Take into consideration how social media will impact resources: people, time, money and internal processes
  • Ensure social media tactics are integrated and supportive of business goals/objectives, as well as, current marketing, branding.
  • Determine measurements of success which may be quantitative or qualitative
  • Develop an outreach initiative for each social media initiative because they will not come unless you tell them.
  • Approach all social media initiatives from the point of view of social media ethics and values: Honesty, Authenticity, Transparency and Passion.

The corporate path may be more complex than the artist’s, but when the house lights go out success remains the same .. did we turn our customers into passionate brand fans?

Toby Bloomberg is recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values such as strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc. You can find her at Diva Marketing and @tobydiva.

Black Friday Deals for Bloggers 2010


‘Tis the season to be merry, generous, thanksful…and broke. Black Friday is the official start to the holiday shopping season, and to help out bloggers, I’ve compiled a list of awesome deals from around the interest. The first section includes deals from bloggers on products and services that could help you, and the second section includes more traditional deals from chain stores like Best Buy and Walmart for products that many bloggers could use.

None of the below links are affiliate links. If you’re  blogger with a deal on any of your products for Black Friday (or Cyber Monday…or the holidays in general), comment with the details below and I’m happy to add you to the list.

Awesome Deals from Bloggers Around the Internet:

1. First and foremost, I’m offering all BlogWorld readers $10 off my eBook for freelance writers. This deal is good starting today and lasts until 11:59 PM on November 30, 2010. To take advantage, simply make your purchase like normal, then email allison-at-abcontentonline.com with a note that you read about this deal at BlogWorld and I’ll send you an instant $10 refund. That’s nearly 50% off the normal price!

2. StudioPress, creators of the Genesis theme (as seen right here on BlogWorld!) and other amazing WordPress themes is offering 25% off for anyone who uses the coupon code ‘BLACK’ from now until Tuesday. According to Darren at Problogger, this will be the last time StudioPress offers a discount ever, so if you’ve been on the fence about one of their themes, now’s the time to buy!

3. Chris Ducker, from Virtual Business Lifestyle is offering $100 off a Brainstorming Session or $50 off at Virtual Staff Finder for all BlogWorld readers. All you have to do to take advantage is place your order like normal with a note that you read about this deal from Allison at BlogWorld and he’ll send you a refund. This sale is only good for 48 hours, so get your order in by Black Friday!

4. Wordart World by Jennifer is having a 50% off sale on Friday only. She has some beautiful word art for sale that you could use not just for virtual scrapbooking, but also on  your blog or as part of your posts.

5. The Cyber Monday motherload? It’s an Epic 72-hour sale from Only72.com. From 10 AM EST on November 29 (Cyber Monday) to 10 AM EST on Dec 2, you can get 23 business guides for $97…and the normal price for all of those guides if you bought them separately? OVER $1000! The guides included in the package are from HUGE names like Chris Guillebeau, David Risley, Johnny B. Truant, Jade Craven, and Leo Babauta…and that just scrapes the surface. You want access? Gotta sign up at Only72.com. Believe me – this is a sale you do NOT want to miss.

6. If you need a logo for your blog, head over to Etsy and check out the Bella Fleur Designs Holiday Sale. You’ll get 20% off any of her pre-made logos, which are sold once and then retired. Her sale ends on Cyber Monday!

7. Nicole Rosen, The Finance Diva, is offer bloggers 40% off a custom quote of tax preparation and credit repair. You can contact her to help fix your credit score or pre-pay for your tax preparation using this deal. Remember, if you earned any money from blogging in 2010, you’re going to need to file a tax return by April 2011, so this is a great chance to save some money on that process. Her sale runs from Black Friday to the end of the month.

8. Though not a traditional Black Friday sale, Darren Rowse and Chris Garret’s new Problogger Academy starts on December 6 – and if you purchase all four weeks (rather than each week individually, you’ll only spend $99, which is a savings of over $20. You can sign up here from now to December 6 for access to the sessions, the course content, and a live webinar with the guys.

9. iPad owners, this one is for you – Collin Vine from The Trailblazing Life has teamed up with TabGrip to offer products for 10% off starting at midnight PST – just use the promo code “Melanie” when you place your order. You could also win an iPad or one of 10 TabGrips they’re giving away for the holidays just by telling them why you want one of their cases. Check out their Facebook page for details!

Chain Store Deals for Bloggers:

In addition to the great deals above from awesome bloggers, you might want to check out the below blogging-related deals from chain stores. I’ve left out one category – computers – simply because I’m not well-versed enough to know whether or not desktop and laptop prices are a good deal without a ton of research. But luckily, Gizmodo published an amazing Black Friday guide, so that’s definitely the best place to start if you have hopes of snagging a great computer deal this week!

The following deals are in-store on Black Friday, though if you’re interested in any of them, check with the specific store. Some are also offering the deals online or through the weekend.


  1. Ativa HD Camcorder from Office Depot, $69.99
  2. Canon PowerShot from  Best Buy/Target, $129.99 – $179.99
  3. Canon EOS Rebel Lens Bundle from Walmart, $479
  4. Flip UltraHD from Walmart/Best Buy, $99
  5. GE Digital Camera from Kmart, $69.99
  6. Insignia AA Digital Camera from Best Buy, $59
  7. Kodak C183 Digital Camera from Walmart, $59
  8. Kodak Easyshare from Sam’s Club, $99.88
  9. Logitech Webcam from Office Depot, Buy One Get One Free
  10. Nikon Coolpix from Best Best/Target/Walmart, $79.99 – $349.99
  11. Polaroid V720 USB Digital Camcorder from Target, $49.99
  12. Sharper Image U Video Camcorder from JC Penney, $48.99
  13. Sony Cyber-shot from Walmart, $119.99
  14. Sony DCR-SR68 Handycam Digital Camcorder from Best Buy, $229.99
  15. Sony Handycam from Walmart, $189
  16. Sony SX44 Camcorder from Kmart, $199.99
  17. Vivitar Camera or Camcorder from Kmart, $39.99

Data Storage

  1. 8 GB USB Flash Drive from Office Depot, $12.99
  2. 8GB TwistTurn USB Flash Drive from Target, $14.99
  3. 64 GB USB Flash Drive from Office Depot, $99.99
  4. External Hard Drive (2TB) from Office Depot, $89.99
  5. External Hard Drive (640 GB) with Leather Wallet from Office Deport, $89.99


  1. Aluratek eReader from Kmart, $89.99
  2. Aluratek eReader from Office Depot, $89.99
  3. Nook from Best Buy, $99.99
  4. Literati eReader from Best Buy, $119.99
  5. Pandigital eReader from Best Buy, $139.99


  1. Case Logic Laptop Sleeves and Cases from Office Depot, 50% off
  2. iGo Charge Anywhere Charger with USB Charging Ports from RadioShack, $19.99
  3. Livescribe 2GB Smart Pen from Best Buy, $99.99
  4. Logitech Wireless Mouse/Keyboard Combo from Office Depot, $24.99 (after mail-in rebate)
  5. Logitech Wireless Mouse from Office Depot, $4.99 (after mail-in rebate)
  6. Maxwell Headphones from Kmart, 2 for $5
  7. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 from Office Depot, $69.99 w/ any new PC
  8. P-Touch Labeler from Office Depot, $9.99


  1. Brother Mono Laser Printer from Office Depot, $49.99
  2. Canon All-in-One Wireless Printer from Office Depot, $29.99
  3. Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer from BestBuy, $19.99
  4. Samsung PIXMA Printer from Kmart, $19.99

You may also want to check out the Amazon Black Friday deals being offered, since there’s a lot of good stuff to be had for cheap on that site other the next week. Also, I lied. The Amazon link is an affiliate link. But none of the rest are!

Keeping Up With Community


Social media is an ever-shifting industry. There are always new headlines in the news, tools that solve a problem we didn’t know existed, case studies developing everyday and new interest community platforms forming daily. As a community manager it is your job to keep up with not only your community, but all communities as a whole.

Participation in all Forms
Every good community manager should know how to engage and participate across all mediums of social media. While it’s not necessarily a requirement that community managers be an expert in both Slideshare and Facebook, an understanding of the various platforms and its uses will help a community manager engage more thoughtfully within their respected communities.

While still remaining authentic to their current interests, a community manager should join communities so that they can understand how the community functions as a whole, what mannerisms the communities exhibit and how the community platform ethically behaves. In order to truly gain an understanding for each community platform, a community manager should interact with these communities regularly.

Keep up with Facebook and Twitter Brands

In the same vein as actively participating in communities online, it is a good idea to watch what other community managers and brands are doing in the social space. Usually the largest social media successes will show up on sites like Mashable, but it tends to be the unnoticed status updates that teach us the most about a community.

For Twitter, browse through the Who to Follow directory by interest to find companies and brands that are currently using Twitter as a social media outlet. Once you have selected a few accounts that are doing it right (or wrong) compile them into a private Twitter list that you can reference throughout the day. Referencing these accounts to see how users react to content, how brands respond to customer service requests and how often a company updates can effect how you operate within your own community.

Facebook is another excellent venue for monitoring competitors and like-minded social brands. Currently, there are 355 brands on Facebook that I have “liked”.  These brands range anywhere from from Barbie to Duck Tape. All of these brands are sorted in a private list within my Facebook profile. It’s here that I see social media examples and case studies developing in realtime.

Try the Tools
Tools are meant to be your friend, your best friend in fact. They are there to help you, support you and make your daily activities easier. By keeping up with the latest tools available, you can use your time efficiently. Sites like OneForty (an application and tool directory for Twitter) can help community managers find tools to manage followers, archive conversations and even provide in-depth analytics. A general awareness of the tools that are currently available can come in handy when the brand you manage asks for lists of all of the Twitter followers with “beanie babies” in the bio (Refollow is a tool that does this exact task).

Keeping up with the fast paced world of social media is a job in itself, but immersing yourself in a few select areas in addition to your community can be beneficial in the long run. As a community manager, how do you stay up on current trends, tools and social programs?

— Suzanne Marlatt

As the Community Manager for Edelman Digital Suzanne re-launched the Edelman Digital website in March 2010. Since then she has established a presence on 5 large social communities and manages the EdelmanDigital.com community and content daily. Prior to Edelman, Suzanne worked for Sittercity.com, a website for connecting care providers to care seekers, as their Social Media and Marketing Manager. When she’s not tweeting or Facebooking you can usually find Suzanne with her two dogs, Hannity and Opie. You can find her on Twitter @edelmandigital

Image Credit: Nerea Marta

How Social Media hasn’t changed the World


“to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events… to see things thousands of miles away… to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed… to see, and to show…”
— Henry Luce, Publisher of Life Magazine

This afternoon I ran across “Today in History” and found a very interesting mention that today is the 74th Anniversary of the first issue of Life Magazine, originally published on this day in 1936.

It really got me to thinking how things have changed in 74 years in so many ways; but really has that much changed or are we simply delivering things in new ways? The highly successful publisher Henry Luce, who also was also the publisher of Time, created in Life Magazine a picture-based periodical with the specific focus of showing the world what other magazines and newspapers only described in words. Life did exactly that with its first issue with a stunning cover photograph by Margaret Bourke-White of the Fort Peck Dam, one of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” public works projects completed in the 1930’s. Life Magazine was an overwhelming success in its first year of publication, its concept changed the way people perceived the world and the events there in. At its peak, Life Magazine had a weekly circulation of over 8 Million; or an average of more than 400,000,000 magazines a year. Life Magazine defined an era; it shaped minds and opinions; but like its name sake, Life wasn’t endless and ceased its run as a weekly publication in 1972 citing the growth of Television as a cause. In 2004 it resumed weekly publication as a supplement in numerous U.S. newspapers its combined circulation was once again in the millions.

That’s the quick history lesson on Life Magazine – The parallels in what we now refer to as the “Media Dinosaurs” are actually pretty remarkable. The vision that Henry Luce laid out 74 years ago still rings true, just in ways he and the world could never have imagined.

Facebook says that more than 3 billion photos are being uploaded every month – 3 billion a month; that is close to the combined results of other content (defined as “web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, etc.”). If we had to describe it in 1936 terms it would be like every person has their own printing press and personalized magazine – all 500,000,000+ of them. The parallels don’t necessarily end there either,
there are plenty more examples of how Social Media is really just a continuation of what was started on walls with pictograms when we were just able to also make a fire… and like pictograms — this too shall have its time.

I’m frequently asked if Social Media is “worth the time”, well of course it is – for the first time in history we the story makers are also the story tellers. My mother, who was around for the first issue of Life, recently joined Facebook. She was amazed at how many “friends” she had in mere days; and now has the ability to follow (and unfortunately comment) on the daily life of her children. She’s an interesting demographic because she’s lived through the invention of television (and color television in case you didn’t know they were two different things), the moon landing, bellbottoms, fax machines, cell phones, satellite dishes and now Social Media. As we sit on the “bleeding edge” of technology one has to wonder what will be the thing we’re amazed by in 74 years, just how much smaller can our world get?

Its worth pointing out it’s also the 47th anniversary of the BBC’s SciFi television show Doctor Who. The Doctor travels in time — so he already knew about Facebook, and what’s next… cheater.

Pete Housley has been a featured panelist and speaker at a number of social media conferences including the Twitter 140 Conference and BlogWorld Expo. With more than 15 years of Fortune 50 business consulting and analysis experience Mr. Housley now focuses on implementation and integration of Social Media. A coder and innovator Pete developed the Candid Tweet Twitter aggregation engine which is the framework for sites including pornstartweet.com, comedytweet.com and vegasstartweet.com. Contact Pete by email at phousley@vegas411.com or on Twitter @petehousley

You Tweet? I Shake Hands To Network


How often are you tweeting during the day? I’m sure its quite often. Then again, who’s not tweeting? We all are on Twitter, but the networking truly begins at a conference. Shaking hands is the best way to network and establish yourself as a credible source in this social space. When the conversation is only held online, you never have the opportunity to put a face with the name. You also never have the opportunity to truly get to know another person you may have connected with online.

The handshake means everything. It really determines what type of an impression you are going to make on someone. People go to conferences to network, become educated, and expand their interests. The majority of people going to conferences represent a business, whether that be their own or one they work for. That first handshake and interaction with another person can make or break your conference experience. It may sound like I’m over exaggerating, but let me give you an example.

You’ve made a connection online with someone who shares similar interests as you. You both have a similar type business. It just so happens you’re both going to the next BlogWorld event. Now, when you meet them face to face…your handshake and eye contact is going to let them know if you are for real or just all talk. Most people online hide behind they’re computers. They lack the ability to take the conversation off the internet and into real life. You may talk a good game online, but the real test is when you bring that to real life – the conference scene! If you have a grasp of interacting and making yourself known to people at a conference, this can not only be great for your networking, but for your business as well. You can be sure that once the conference is over, if you’ve made a good impression on someone, they will remember you and check out what you’re doing. However, if all you are is the person who lives in your computer, but can’t bring that energy to the conference, then your contacts aren’t going to be as substantial.

Contacts you make online become substantial and mean more once you have shaken hands with that person. Now you know they’re “real” and a “transparent” person. The things you say online follow you and if you say things online that resonate with people both on and offline, then you’re success as a conference goer is going to be a fruitful one. Many people usually get that vibe from your first handshake with them whether or not you present yourself as a successful person. The conference seen is a great way to establish yourself and become known in the industry. However, you have to make sure you make the effort to make a good impression. If you make a good impression on one person, they may introduce you to someone they know and that individual may have significant influence in the space. When going to a conference, you never know who you will run into. The possibilities are endless, you just have to show your confidence and demonstrate you are going to be taken seriously. Meeting new people for the first time can be difficult especially in a conference scene, but that’s why people go to conferences. Everyone wants to see new talent and be educated on something new.

If you do your thing and do your best to make yourself known in a positive way, then those online conversations you have when the conference is over will mean a lot more. You go from being just an online contact to a meaningful friendship. Just remember, the true success at a conference starts with that handshake and introducing yourself. Even if you don’t consider yourself a known person, that’s fine. Most of the people there aren’t…its all about the impression you make. That in the long run will make you “known.” Ultimately, after the conference is over, you have handed out your business cards, you don’t want to just be another card in the pile. You want them to look at your card, remember who you are, and reach out to you. That my friends is the ultimate conference experience and that’s why the conference scene can help you in so many ways! Its worked for me and I’ve only been able to attend one conference. However, one is better than none and that alone had given me the opportunity to talk with so many people.

So, give it a shot, shake my hand and tell me about yourself.

Frank Angelone is a blogger at Social Tech Zone. He talks about social media strategy and tech tips for individuals and small businesses. He also runs a tech support company providing individuals with remote technical support. You can follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/frankangelone or email me frank@socialtechzone.com if you would like to connect or have any questions.

Twitter Content That Doesn’t Suck


Twitter is undoubtedly one of the best places to promote the blog posts you write. It can also be pretty fickle. The problem with Twitter is that content flies past users at an extremely fast rate, and for every awesome post being tweeted, there are ten (probably more, really) ridiculous retweets that aren’t interesting or helpful. In other words, there’s a lot of crap on Twitter, and your posts can easily be lost in the shuffle.

I don’t like people who write link bait for the sake of driving traffic. It should go without saying that you need quality content. Otherwise, any content that you drive to your blog won’t stick. People won’t trust you and likely won’t come back again.

But beyond writing great content, what can you do to increase the chance that your post will gain a little traction on Twitter or even go viral? Here are a few tips you can keep in mind:

  • Write a bangin’ headline.

This seems like a no-brainer, but keep in mind that your headline doens’t have to be something super shocking. It just has to be something that people want to share. In addition to writing a good headline, keep in mind that Twitter has a character limit. People forget this so often! Keep your titles on the shorter side so that people can add their own comments when retweeting. Remember, your initial tweet should be well under 140 characters so people can edit easily.

  • Reference people on Twitter within your post.

People like to share content when they’re involved. One of the things I do every week is attend #blogchat and discuss two or three of my favorite tweets made during that group discussion. Afterward, the people who I’ve mentioned in my posts always retweet the link, and most have friends who retweet it as well. You don’t have to specifically discuss things that have been said on Twitter, though. You can also just discuss general things a person has said on his or her blog or via a comment, forum post, etc. When you send out the tweet about your post, make sure to @ reply the person/people so they know they’ve been mentioned.

  • Create Tweet-able quotes.

I find it to be an ultimate success not when someone retweets one of my links but when they actually pull a quote from the post and tweet that with a link back. Good content should automatically create tweetable quotes, right? Not necessarily. The character limit comes into play, and if there’s not a definitive one-sentence statement that makes someone shout, “YES! EXACTLY!” when they read it, you aren’t writing a tweet-able post. It could be the most amazing post in the world, but that doesn’t mean there are tweet-able quotes in it.

  • Highlight interaction opportunities.

Twitter is all about interaction, so posts where this is highlighted tend to do better than non-interactive posts. Of course, every blog post is interactive (assuming you have comments turned on), but for example, if you ask for opinions from readers, like I’m about to do, it entices people to get involved, which is the spirit of Twitter in the first place. Strong opinion pieces do the same. If the post doesn’t lend itself well to comments, it likely won’t lend itself well to Twitter either, though this does vary depending on niche.

  • Be emotional.

Twitter posts that are extremely personal and emotion always spread well. That doesn’t mean you need to make your readers cry every time they log online. Hell, look at this post. I think it’s a pretty useful topic with a good headline, but it isn’t emotional. That’s okay. Sprinkling in emotional posts, however, is a great way to get a little Twitter love. Don’t be afraid to bare your soul, at least a little, when writing a post. Also, keep in mind that “emotional” doesn’t just mean sad. It could be heart-warming in a happy or funny way instead.

Before I turn the floor over to you guys for your best Twitter content-writing tips, I wanted to mention a few ways that I do think content can suck for Twitter. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad posts – they just are less likely to get Twitter traction. As you’re determining your editorial calendar or deciding what to write for the day, think about how you’re mixing in these types of posts.

  • News – Unless it’s breaking, people have probably already passed it around Twitter from larger sources, like the Huffington Post or TMZ. Even if you put your own spin on it by adding opinion, it’s hard for bloggers to get attention with a news story on Twitter.
  • Popular Topics – Twitter is all about sharing things that are original. If your blog post is about a topic that is super popular, it’s likely going to get lost in the conversation unless you’re saying something that is really unique. If your post is about a popular topic, put some extra oomph into creating an awesome headline that will attract clicks.
  • Scam-Related Topics – Now I know that no one here would ever scam their readers, but there are some pretty shady people on Twitter. I see a lot of “Gain 10,000 Twitter Followers Today!” and “The Easy Way to Make Six Figures With Your Blog!” going on. It’s become white noise for me somewhat. If you’re going to make a big claim and back it up with awesome content, that’s something I definitely want to read – but be careful with how you promote it. You want to stand out from the crowds of people making ridiculous claims that lead to posts full of BS.

A few other things I hate to see on Twitter:

  • “Please Retweet” with every single post (have a good reason if you ask for retweets)
  • Tweeting the same post over and over again throughout the day (two or three times is fine, but don’t clog my Twitter stream otherwise unless you have a really good reason)
  • Mentioning me or DMing me links even when the post has no more relevance to me than normal (if you mention me in it or write something similar to what I’ve recently written, great – otherwise, trust me to be a subscriber if I want notices when you post something new)

And of course, it bears saying it again: content that doesn’t deliver. Write awesome content. That always needs to be #1.

Your turn – what have you done to create content to specifically catch the eye of those on Twitter? What posts do you find to be hard to promote on Twitter? What things do you hate seeing on Twitter?

Why Big Advertisers Avoid Your Blog … (The Ugly Truth)


… by Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.com

Are you praying for big name advertisers to show up to make money on your new blog? It’s not going to happen.

I recently had a Private Coaching Call with an entrepreneur who is starting a blog to serve the needs of the parents of kids with special needs. It’s an admirable cause but her business model strategy was way off.

Why? Because her assumption was that advertising from the major drug companies would be her primary revenue stream.

Unfortunately for her that’s not likely to happen, at least not yet. If you are like her, counting on advertising revenue to support your blogging habit, here’s a smarter way to plan your advertising sales strategy.

Big Brands Spend More On Advertising Than Your Blog Can Handle
It’s a nice fantasy to think that your niche-targeted blog can attract advertising from Fortune 500 companies. Big companies seem to be your “dream advertisers”. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to attract more customers. Why wouldn’t they be interested in reaching your audience, too?

Why Aren’t Big Companies Advertising on Your Blog?
Because it’s too much work! If your blog targets a niche audience then your audience is probably too small to interest corporate advertisers. The time it takes for their media buyers to find your site, verify your traffic, contact you, negotiate a deal, track the ROI, pay you, etc. is likely too much trouble for a small ad buy.

Big Brands Usually Buy Their Ads Through Media Buying Agencies
Multimillion dollar corporate advertising budgets are handed out to a variety of media buying agencies. Each ad buyer is in charge of attracting new customers through a specific “channel”. So a Ford Motor Company, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, McDonald’s, T-Mobile, or Apple Computer, might give $2,000,000 to a TV buying agency, $1,000,000 to a print buying agency, $500,000 to an online ad buying agency, etc.

In most cases the budget allocated for online advertising with niche audiences like yours is a very small percentage of those overall budgets. That means that the attention and time invested in such ad purchases is often handed to a junior account representative at a small agency that gets less attention than the bigger buys for TV or print ads.

So What Happens Next?
Just as you would do if you had her job, that junior account rep does her work as quickly as possible. That usually means spending the money allocated for niche online ads in as few ad buying transactions as possible, probably with an ad network that makes placing those ads fastest. Unfortunately, 1 or 2 ad buys with Google Adwords, Facebook, or a similar advertising network can spread their brand messages more quickly and efficiently across the web than working one at a time with small sites like yours.

Your Little Blog?
Until your blog gets enough traffic to demonstrate a real “return on investment” for the media buyer’s time and their clients advertising budget, the big companies are likely to skip over your web site. (And if you do see ads from big companies on your competitors’ blogs, those ads are likely affiliate ads, not directly purchased “real” ads.)

So How Can You Make Money from Ads on your Blog?

As I told my coaching client, don’t start your new blog expecting the “big boys” to show up and advertise right away. Advertisers large and small are simply seeking qualified potential customers. If you earn their attention by building an audience and traffic appropriate to their brands, they will actually start calling you as your traffic grows.

Today you can get started by focusing on publishing quality content, growing an audience, and earning ad revenues from smaller advertisers first. That is the foundation for a successful advertising-based business model.

For more details on these online advertising strategies, watch my video “How to Make Money with Banner Ads”, and see my next Guest Post “How to Start Making Money from Ads on your Blog” which will post NEXT WEEK.

What questions or suggestions do you have about this strategy?
Have you had luck recruiting big name advertisers to new blogs?

Please watch for Part Two of this post next week. I’ll discuss how to start making money from online advertising today if you have a small or niche web site like my friend above.

Scott Fox is the host of the online marketing success coaching community ClickMillionaires.com. He is a serial startup executive, podcaster, and author whose e-business strategy coaching helps solopreneurs, small business owners, and corporations make more money online. He is the best-selling author of two books: Internet Riches and e-Riches 2.0: Next Generation Online Marketing Strategies. Visit http://www.ScottFox.com for free email newsletters and http://www.ClickMillionaires.com for a free trial of his personalized coaching community.

What is Your Super Hero Social Networking Identity?


Social networking allows us to be anyone we want to be. You can setup a Twitter account within seconds, and connect with millions of users and never have to display who you actually are. Whether it be for business or pleasure, would an alter ego identity help your business or brand?

Let’s take a look at how some of my friends and well known people within industry have managed to build out their brand, while using their business name in the process. I am referring to either using a logo, their company name or even their blog title.

Real Names vs. Online Branded Names

I’m personally good friends with the following three individuals, and despite knowing them on a first name basis, I still always want to refer to them as their online brand names and the identity they have built. It’s almost like having a super hero identity!

Each of these users also have Twitter accounts under their ‘branded names’, each with over 50,000 followers. Are you one of them?

– Super Hero Name: ShoeMoney
(Secret Identity: Jeremy Schoemaker)

– Super Hero Name: ProBlogger
(Secret Identity: Darren Rowse)

– Super Hero Name: CopyBlogger
(Secret Identity: Brian Clark)

This just goes to show the power of branding and marketing in the internet and social media world. Just try and establish yourself in the world without using the internet, and you will find it’s nearly impossible or would cost millions of dollars to get any type of name recognition and branding.

Mention Shoemoney, Problogger or Copyblogger at any conference or event, and there’s a good chance people will know who you are talking about, yet I’m sure none of them have done any offline or branded advertising.

Whether a brand name is created by mistake or meant to stick, it all depends on your blog readers, twitter follows and how others see you as an individual and business. Having a real person behind every brand, helps determines that company or person’s success. You are the brand you represent.

What other recognizable ‘real names vs. branded names’ can you think of in the internet marketing and blogging space?

This post has been written by Zac Johnson, an internet marketing veteran with nearly 15 years of experience and enjoys helping others learn how to make money and succeed at ZacJohnson.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

The Ten Most Useful Things I’ve Discovered While Working with Social Media


… by Betsy Aoki, Senior Program Manager Social Media, Bing

I was going to write something long-winded about social media applications and marketing and decided you all were worth more than that. Here’s a mix of practical and philosophical observations from my 15 years of working with online communities and building Web applications that support them.

  1. Many roads, if not all, lead to the customer profile…and the human it represents. If you are designing community software, the profile is a Rosetta stone to the whole design. People pay attention to privacy issues with a profile, but there are more elegant questions answered there as well. How does the commerce/forums/peer-to-peer client deal with the profile? Is the profile varying in how it interacts with other profiles? Can a user have more than one? Does the user control how their information is displayed or warned when they don’t? Will users get to express themselves? Does the profile support anonymity or accountability or a mix of both? Is the profile portable to other sites, or is it siloed?


  2. No matter how much is automated, you will always need manual moderation capabilities and customer support – if they can put it up, you need to be able to take it down. There will be areas of gray.  Some people have to be kicked out of the club house. This is true even if we are talking about a proprietary customer database that no one but you sees in your small business. Some of your clients, you may need to fire because their dramas or their flakiness costs you money. Others may need to have special notes next to their names about what they want out of your product so you can hand-hold.This sounds like I’m talking about software but it can also be time allocation or staff. You can’t put something interactive online without having a caretaker to look after it.  You might have to have a real in-person event.  You can’t have a humanizing influence on the Web without the manual/human touch.


  3. Haters can be revelation, sometimes. If a person writes you an angry post/tweet/email, assuming they aren’t threatening harm, it always helps to answer them back (and they may apologize instantly once they realize there’s a real human being in there). Your enemies, detractors, people who are deeply disappointed in you – they teach you more than the bootlickers. Don’t go into social apps or social marketing expecting to be loved by everyone – and really, you won’t learn anything if they do.


  4. Even non-game projects may be game-like –stay alert. Working on the “game” dynamics of Live QnA (i.e. a question answer service with leaderboards, reputation, star ratings, and plans for badges) that seemed more like the MSN crowd than the Bioshock crowd taught me stuff I needed in creating a platform for Xbox. Social projects, particularly where you capture data, will feed you for the next big thing, even when you think they are too boring or possibly not even “social enough.”


  5. First mover advantage is killer. Being one of the few women in tech in the 90s and working on Seattle Webgrrls – didn’t have to market the group.  Women in technology groups nowadays have to distinguish themselves from other choices. Doing what you love may not look so radical 5 or 10 years later – and will you be sorry if you haven’t done it? Love it? Do it.


  6. Metrics, metrics, metrics. Dude, Excel pivot tables hate me. But don’t tell me you are a social media guru unless you can show me the numbers. Quote me stuff like NPR’s fabulous survey on the differences between Facebook and Twitter NPR customers: “While we have over three million Twitter followers across multiple NPR accounts, they typically drive less than a fifth of the amount of referral traffic than our 1.25 million Facebook users do during any given month. So while Twitter may be an ideal way of getting headlines to our users, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the same amount of traffic as Facebook does.”


  7. Immeasurable also counts – community woo-woo practically always shows up. That miraculous conversion of hater to lover in bullet #1? That’s woo-woo. When community members petition Microsoft not to close an online property (Live QnA) because they felt the spark we had given them, and didn’t want to let it die – that’s woo-woo.  When people write us at bing.com/redu because they want to volunteer – (how many for-profit companies have volunteer requests?) that’s woo-woo. Be ready for people to surprise you in ways greater than the sum of all parts.


  8. It’s ok to be a shy person using social media – it’s all about other people anyway. If you are in social media to take from others or aggrandize yourself, well, people can tell. If you are in it for other people, people can tell. I will never be as smooth as my boss Stefan at a podium but I’ve created groups online and offline because what I wanted to do was bigger than I was. Frankly, everyone I have wanted to do is bigger than me – that’s where the fun isJ.  Like the Bene Gesserit, exist only to serve (but take vacations now and again).


  9. Yes, being a female in the social or tech space can at times feel like you’ve been kicked in the ovaries. Being present online and identifiable can bring out the crazies or just the nasties. Press on, but always make sure you feel safe. If you don’t feel safe, call the cops.  If you don’t want to check in online, don’t.  A lot of software is still built by guys who don’t give walking down the street alone in a strange city to their hotel room a second thought. You have the right to set boundaries in your physical and online life.

    If you are a guy reading this, well, just don’t be that guy that drives women off social media/the Interwebs. Be that guy that she wants to talk to or tweet at, instead.

    Note: It’s also true that being alertly present, technical, social media-minded and female can also mean you will be the recipient of admiration and supportive strength. Walk it and rock it.


  10. Don’t be dismayed by terminology and titles for yourself or other people. In fifteen years I’ve been an “online producer.” Also a “product manager” “director of community” “site manager” “community program manager” “blog queen” “senior program manager, social media” and most recently and accurately, “Stefan’s minion.” In most of those cases, there was a v.1 product or web site and I had to organize people, work with developers or content providers in order to make it happen. Sometimes I had to embarrass myself by talking to press in person or on video, sometimes I could create internal dismay conveniently online using “social tools.” Whatever. Remember #8?As long as the title doesn’t get in your way, ignore it. It won’t be on your tombstone. And if it is, you ain’t there to see it.And terminology always changes, so don’t be cowed by it. When you realize that the guys are just using jargon that has a definition and it’s not magic, you can rock on.  (How many of you have heard a developer actually spell out what API stands for? Thought so.)


  11. Ok, I said there were only 10, but this one is too important – to turn it up to 11, you really need to take the time to thank people.  At the launch of every project. When someone goes out of their way to save your butt or just on a normal day. When someone tweets their support after a hard day at the office.  It’s also getting toward Thanksgiving and as apt a time as any to think about how you can use social media to make sure that people know you appreciate them.To that end, thanks for reading all the way to the end  – and many thanks to the social computing geeks at Microsoft and elsewhere, men and women, whose conversations have inspired me.

Betsy Aoki is a 15-year veteran of Web technology and online community applications.  Recently Mary Jo Foley of CNET called her  a “Microsoft Woman to Watch” for her work in launching Microsoft’s corporate blogging platforms, the Live QnA consumer question-and-answer site, and the Xbox Live Indie Games platform.  Lured to the marketing side for Bing, she has devised its social media strategies and recently launched the education reform platform, http://bing.com/redu .

Overheard on #Blogchat: Your Tribe (@KarlaAntelli)


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 (or Monday morning), 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: creating a strategy for your blog

Because this week’s theme was pretty broad, we talked about a myriad of strategy-related topics during #blogchat, but one came up again and again throughout the night – as a new blogger, how does one gain readers and build a community? For that question, I love the following advice:

@KarlaAntelli: take care of your “apostles”, send them an email, ask about them write on their wall or tweet or just generally pay attention

Unless you’re already well-known in your niche for some reason, when you start blogging, you’re not going to have many readers. You’ll get some traffic from search engines, and you’ll also be able to build your subscriber numbers through social media, guest posts, social bookmarking, etc., but the fact remains that it takes awhile to get some traction.

The first sign that you’re getting somewhere is often that you’ll have a fan or two who is always there for you. They retweet nearly all your links. They comment on all of your posts. They want to write guest posts for you, despite your lack of huge traffic numbers. These are your apostles. Show them some love!

This is a place where I’ve fallen flat in the past, and that’s a mistake I’m trying not to make here at BlogWorld or – more importantly – at my own blog, After Graduation. On one of my past blogs, I had this one fan who was there every single day without fail. She commented over and over again on posts I wrote. Personally…well…it wasn’t that I didn’t like her, but I didn’t care for her blog. Because I wasn’t a fan of her site, I didn’t make an effort to interact with her on mine. She stuck around for a good long while, to her credit, but eventually, she disappeared.

I don’t blame her at all.

You don’t need to read your readers’ blogs. It pays to check them out, because you might find a blog that you love, but most readers aren’t actively trying to become a part of your community because they want you to read their blog posts. Sure, they would love that, but if you don’t, they’ll still be on your blog. They’re there because they like you already, whether you’re a reader of theirs or not. They like learning from you. They like interacting with you. They like telling others about you.

They’re your tribe.

Reward your tribe – your “apostles” – by showing an interest in what they have to say as part of your community. No one’s forcing you to interact with them outside your community if you don’t want to, but if you ignore them in your space, you’re not saying, “I don’t like your blog.” You’re saying, “I don’t care that you read mine.” And that’s a feeling no one wants. Eventually, people will leave.

It’s like inviting everyone to your home for a party and then ignoring half of your guests because you don’t want to go to their party. Giving your tribe some love is not saying that you want to have a sleepover at their house. It’s just saying, “Thank you for being here at mine.”

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