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October 2011

Klout’s New Scoring Model Shows You Why Your Score Changed

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Klout announced a new scoring model today which they state “represents the biggest step forward in accuracy, transparency and our technology in Klout’s history.” This new scoring model may have changed your Klout score. I noticed mine went down a little, but there wasn’t a huge change.

For those of us who did see our score drop, the good news is these changes in their scoring model allow us to see the why behind the changes. We now get a diagnosis of sorts, which takes a little of the mystery out of this thing we call “a Klout score”.

Each day when you log onto Klout, you can see which subscore and the people in your network who helped cause the score change.

More improvements will made in the near future. Klout continually keeps changing and trying to offer more for its users – from integrating more social networks to their new topic pages.

I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the future. I’m also enjoying their perks! I’ve received free (awesome) business cards to credit towards online stores. I truly believe this is just the beginning of some amazing perks. Whether you understand the Klout concept or not, now would be a good time to start paying attention.

Did your Klout score change?

 

Google Chrome’s New Tab Page, Google+ Integrated

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Google says their web browser, Google Chrome, is now even more app-ealing. Did you get it? Their play on words?

That’s right. They’ve redesigned their Tab Page making it more streamlined and easier to access and organize your apps. (Will this move them even closer to taking over second place?)

Being the visual person that I am, I love how their apps are now “presented in a wall of images” as they state on their blog. It’s updated everytime you visit, it’s more visually appealing and it’s just easier to find what you’re looking for. As for installing new apps, they’ve made that super simple as well. Just hover over the image and click “Add to Chrome”.

Continuing with their efforts to integrate Google+ into all of their products, the apps store now includes reviews from Google+ profiles. The reviews link back to the person’s Google+ profile.

They’ve also added some new apps such as My Robot Nation™, an app that lets you design your own robot and bring it to life with a 3D printer.

Here’s a quick video tour of the new updates from Google Chrome.

This won’t be the last update we see from Google Chrome. They have more new features coming!

What browser do you use and why? For those of you not using Google Chrome, do these new features make you want to switch?

 

PostPost Helps You Find Relevant Information on Twitter

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Have you ever been putting together a blog post and find yourself thinking “Who wrote that tweet about ……?”

Whether you follow a few hundred or a few hundred thousand people on Twitter, trying to find relevant information can be tough. I have definitely found myself wasting valuable time searching through my Twitter stream for that one tweet I remember seeing.

This is where PostPost, the new Twitter strip search tool, can come in handy. If you are searching for a certain tweet or just looking for some awesome content on a particular subject mater, PostPost can help.

With PostPost, you can search Twitter for photos, links, hashtags or trending topics you want to follow and stay up to date on.

The problem with Twitter’s search tool is when you type in, let’s say “blogging”, you’ll find hundreds of different tweets from all over Twitterville. With PostPost, it only searches those you follow.

To stay up to date with PostPost news, follow them on Twitter and of course, try it our for yourself here. It’s a one-time super easy process to get started.

Can you think of ways you might find PostPost useful?

Your Blog is a Supermarket and Your Readers Are Your Shoppers: How to Keep Them Full and Happy

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Session: Stop Losing Readers and Subscribers: A Walk Through a User Friendly Blog
Speaker: Bob Dunn

The best supermarkets make shopping a breeze. You get in, get exactly what you want, and get out.

They have planned your experience. Thought about how to display their goods, how to get you where you want, and how to get you to buy more.

Whether you go to a big box store like Costco or your local market where everyone knows your name, you are looking for certain things: you want clean, uncluttered, items that are easy to find, and someone who will help you when you need it.

Your blog is like a supermarket. You have certain stuff—your content—that you want people to consume. You want to help them find the things they need. And you want to make the experience so easy and pleasant that they will not only come back, but they will tell all their friends about you. Here are some tips taken directly from your neighborhood supermarket’s playbook.

5 Ways to Make Your Blog More Shopper-Friendly

1. Don’t make them wonder if they are at the right place.

If you drive up to a Safeway or Costco, you know immediately where you are because the huge sign with the big block letters tells you.
Your blog’s header is that sign. First impressions count, a lot, so make it stand out, and if your blog is part of your business, have it reflect your brand. Consider adding a tagline if the blog name doesn’t say enough about what readers can expect to get there.

2. Keep the aisles and side areas clean and uncluttered.

Get rid of the junk. Make everything in your sidebar offer something valuable, something the reader needs. Because if that Top 10 Pop Songs widget or the link to e-bay distracts them, they may leave, never to return.

3. Understand that each person’s shopping list is a little different.

Your reader knows what she wants. Your job is to mark your stuff so clearly that she can grab it and put it in her “cart.”
Categories (think of them like chapters in a book) and tags (the index) are one way to help your readers what’s on their list. So if your blog is about Japanese cooking, some of your categories might be poultry, pork and meatless. The more specific tags might be the ingredients that go into the dishes, like eggplant, garlic, ginger and soy sauce, so people looking recipes with a certain taste or flavor know just where to go.

4. Make it easy to ask questions. 

Have you ever noticed that the best grocery stores have staff who can help you find what you need and get you on your way?
The best blogs do that, too. Be sure you have a bold, highly visible way for your readers to contact you. They may have a personal question about a post or they might want to ask about hiring you or buying your products. At the minimum, have a big contact button in your home page navigation bar and a contact link on your about page.

5. Encourage them to consume more.

The best supermarkets are brilliant at getting you to purchase additional items. If you are in the fine cheeses department, you may notice a helpful sign that says, “The Isabel Sauvignon Blanc 2005 goes beautifully with our aged Brie.” And then they have a few bottles on a stand within arm’s reach of the cheese.
You can do the same thing with your blog. The nrelate plugin at the bottom of your blog posts will pull in and link to other posts on the same or similar topics. This keeps readers on your blog longer and helps them “consume” more of your content as they poke around the site.
Oh, and one more thing. Like the friendly checker at the checkout stand, ask your readers how their experience was. Did they find everything they needed in your post? Did you leave something out? Do they have any questions?
Bob Dunn will walk you through more tips and strategies for making your blog user-friendly in his “Stop Losing Readers and Subscribers: A Walk Through a User-Friendly Blog” session on Saturday, November 5 at BlogWorld LA. If you are there, he’d love to meet you.

Bob Dunn is a WordPress trainer and coach in Seattle and can be found at BobWP.com, where he blogs, shares WordPress tips, and offers video tutorials to help you get unstuck. He loves talking WordPress, and when he isn’t doing that, he is reading fiction that scares the crap out of him or gets him laughing. Find him on Twitter at bobwp.

You Might Be In Tourism If….

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… by Sheila Scarborough and Becky McCray

One of the things we love about blogging is the publishing flexibility. You can either go deep into a niche topic, cover a broader field or, heck, “kitchen sink” it with whatever has you fired up at the moment.

We generally advise picking one focus area so readers know what to expect when they seek out your work, but sometimes that means that people skip over really good blogs because they think the insights won’t apply to them.

Our niche area, for example, is tourism – the industry that attempts to attract tourists and visitors to a destination, usually funded by a town, city or region via some sort of tax on your hotel bill.

So what, right? Unless you’re really into that, or a big traveler, why should that interest you if you blog about parenting or history or food or business or technology?

Well, you might be in tourism if….

  • Friends who come to visit your town ask you for “the good places where locals go.” 
  • Out-of-towners ever walk through the doors of your business.
  • You are a food enthusiast, artist, crafter, microbrewer, winemaker or anyone who makes things that are bought by visitors to your town.
  • You’re involved with economic development, historic preservation, downtown development/Main Street programs, a museum, a historical society, your local Chamber of Commerce or state/local government.
  • Your town is located on a heritage highway or scenic byway.
  • You write reviews and tips for your local restaurants, coffee shops, stores, art galleries, etc on Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla or TripAdvisor.
  • You’re a gardener who supports a popular local botanical garden, nature preserve or park.
  • You’re a meeting planner who needs to know where to find good conference or meeting venues.
  • You’re a Civil War or Renaissance Faire re-enactor in your local area.
  • You upload cool photos of your town to your local city government or Visitors Bureau Flickr Group Pool.

….and finally, you are involved in tourism if anyone has ever stopped you in your town and said something like, “We’re visiting and need directions to get to ____. Can you help?” or if they’ve ever handed you their camera and asked if you wouldn’t mind taking a photo of them in front of one of your local landmarks.

Does any of the above sound like you?

Or would you rather just attend no-BS BlogWorld sessions on creating better video content, integrating social media into your overall marketing plan, zero-budget social communications or social photography like Foodspotting and photo walks?

Either way, sounds like you’d enjoy this year’s Tourism and Travel Track, Room 150C Thursday through Saturday.

And hey; take a good photo with that visitor’s camera, okay?

Becky McCray and Sheila Scarborough are BlogWorld’s Tourism Track leaders; this year they’re double-billed with an outstanding Travel Track run by Mary Jo Manzanares.

Becky and Sheila co-founded Tourism Currents: online education that helps make sense of social media for destination marketing. Keep up with them on @TourismCurrents.

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Dr. Val Jones Talks Using Social Media for Physicians

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Session: Physicians Engaging Online in Social Health
Speaker: Dr. Val Jones

Dr. Val Jones will be speaking at BlogWorld LA about physicians engaging in socia media and will use real-life examples from her own experience to tell the story about how physicians can use social media in their practices and beyond.

Hear what else Dr. Val has to say:

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

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Gordon Firemark Helps You Reduce Your Risk of Liability

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Session: Don’t Let Your Content Land You in Legal Hot Water
Speaker: Gordon Firemark

Gordon Firemark will be speaking at BlogWorld LA on the rules and risks of creating your content – no matter how you use social media. He’ll be talking about copyright, trademarks, libel and slander, rights of privacy and publicity, and will share simple strategies to reduce your risk of liability!

Hear what else Gordon has to say:

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

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Doing BlogWorld L.A. on a Budget

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The first time I attended BlogWorld in ’07, I was only financially able to do so because I received a press pass through my former job as blogging guide at About.com. I stayed in a cheap hotel (won’t do that again), ate fast food, and booked the most inexpensive flight I could find.  When you don’t work for a company that picks up your expenses, attending a conference is expensive, even if you take steps to cut costs.

Fortunately there are other ways to cut costs while attending BlogWorld L.A. and you don’t necessarily have to stay at a roach motel and eat Ramen each night.  Here are some tips for doing BlogWorld on a budget:

Transportation

Unfortunately, none of our partner hotels are across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center. You can walk, and depending on where you’re staying, it’s about a 15 to 20 minute walk from partner hotels to the convention center.  You can also travel back and forth with a cab full of people each day, and split the costs.

If you’re staying at one of our partner hotels, you can also take advantage of our complimentary shuttle service. The shuttles, which run on a schedule, will make several runs from the hotels to the convention center each morning, and return you back again in the evening.

We’ve also partnered with YouCast.com to provide complimentary shuttle service from LAX. It’s a $50 cab ride from the airport to partner hotels or the convention center, so this is well worth looking into. Make sure you sign up in advance, though, so you don’t miss out.

Many of our attendees are also meeting at LAX to share cabs or a car service.  Also, Shuttle2LAX offers shuttle service for $20 which is less than half price than a full fledged cab ride.  This service isn’t affiliated with BlogWorld in any way. Some of our attendees are also renting cars as that appears to be a cheaper option than cabbing it everywhere.  Perhaps if you get together with your friends and share the rental costs, it will save you all “getting around” money in the long run, and you won’t be confined to a particular area.

Food

You don’t have to spend megadollars on food while at BlogWorld.  A lot of times when I come to conferences, I stay at hotels offering complimentary breakfast service. However, you don’t need to do this for BlogWorld L.A. because we’re hosting networking breakfasts every morning for our attendees. Come by, have something to eat and chat up your fellow attendees as well as the speakers and BlogWorld team.

Most of our parties have passed finger foods and snacky things, some of them are a meal on their own. If you’re doing BlogWorld on a budget, what you eat at parties might be enough so you don’t have to worry about dinner, a major expense.

On Saturday, we’re also having a catered networking lunch in our Expo Hall, so there’s one more chance to network…and save.  Also, did you know our full access passes come with lunch tickets? So every full access pass holder will receive a ticket good for a variety of fare at the LACC’s food court.

Lodging

Hotels cost money, for sure. We did what we could to find affordable discounts at our partner hotels.  If you don’t mind rooming up with others, sharing costs with a friends can make the trip to Los Angeles a much more affordable experience.  Though Los Angeles does offer hotels to appeal to a variety of budgets, keep in mind the farther away you stay, the more expensive your cab ride will be – and we only offer complimentary shuttle service from our partner hotels.

BlogWorld Passes

We’re offering a variety of BlogWorld passes to fit all budgets. At the top of the line is our Full Access Pass which will get you into all sessions, keynotes, parties, networking events and we’ll even feed you lunch. The one and two day passes will get you in to all sessions except the Social Media Business Summit, as well as all parties, keynotes, and networking events. Finally, the Expo pass will get you in to our Expo, as well as keynotes (not track keynotes), parties, PodCamp and networking events. If you use the Tweet20 discount, the Expo pass is less than $50. Using this discount will take 20% off of all pricing.

Those who can’t bear travel costs can also take advantage of our virtual pass which will include all sessions as well as interviews and commentary from Johnny B. Truant.

Your Turn!

So those are a few of these ways you can do BlogWorld on a budget.  I’m sure you have a few ways to share too.  Tell us your best tips for saving money while attending BlogWorld – or any other conference – or use the comments to ask questions about our pricing, hotels, or anything else we can help with.

BWELA Ticket Options & Details

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So, we’re down to the wire and you’re still considering which pass would work for you, for BlogWorld LA. Well, here’s a breakdown of all the ticket options, what they offer you, and which pass gets you what.

FULL ACCESS PASS Click HERE to Register
Best value & the ONLY pass which includes access to Social Media Business Summit.

Includes:

  • Access to all conference sessions on Thursday, Friday & Saturday
  • Access to exclusive Social Media Business Summit 3-day conference track
  • Access to ALL Keynote sessions
  • Access to exhibits during open hours on Friday & Saturday
  • Includes access to all Official Evening Parties & Mixers and Saturday Networking Reception on Exhibit Floor
  • Includes FULL ACCESS BREAK AREA (includes lunch and snacks on all three days)
  • Includes PodCamp

Add the Virtual Ticket option with your conference for the discounted rate of $49
(Online access to recorded conference sessions – slide presentations and audio)


TWO-DAY BLOGGER & PODCASTER PASS Click HERE to Register
Choose from:
Thursday/Friday
Friday/Saturday

Includes:

  • Access to the conference sessions on the two days of your choice (does not include Social Media Business Summit)
  • Access to ALL main event Keynote sessions
  • Track Keynote access on your (2) selected conference days
  • Access to exhibits during open hours
  • Includes access to all Official Evening Parties & Mixers and Saturday Networking Reception on Exhibit Floor
  • Does not include entry to the Full Access Break Area at any time
  • Includes PodCamp

Add the Virtual Ticket option with your conference for the discounted rate of $49
(Online access to recorded conference sessions – slide presentations and audio)


ONE-DAY PASS Click HERE to Register
Choose from:
Thursday
Friday
Saturday

Includes:

  • Access to all conference sessions on one day of your choice
  • Access to ALL main event Keynote sessions
  • Track Keynote access on your (1) selected conference day
  • Access to exhibits during open hours
  • Includes access to all Official Evening Parties & Mixers and Saturday Networking Reception on Exhibit Floor
  • Does not include entry to the Full Access Break Area at any time
  • Includes PodCamp

EXPO PASS Click HERE to Register

Includes:

  • Access to exhibits during open hours
  • Access to main event Keynote sessions (not Track Keynotes, those require a conference pass)
  • Access to Saturday Networking Reception on Exhibit Floor
  • Access to Official Evening Networking Parties & Mixers too!
  • Includes PodCamp

VIRTUAL TICKET Click HERE to Register

Includes:

  • Virtual access to every recorded session and event, plus added bonuses exclusive to the Virtual Ticket experience.
  • ALSO: You can add the Virtual Ticket to any of the other passes for $49, so you can still get some of the sessions you may miss when trying to decide between them!

What NOT to do at BlogWorld (And One Big Fat Event Secret)

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I’ve written often about what to do at BlogWorld – tips to help you prepare, tips to help you while you’re at the event…I’m about tipped out. Well, almost. BlogWorld LA is going to be here in less than two weeks, so I wanted to write one last post, this time featuring what not to do while attending. Oh, and head to the end because I have a big, fat conference secret that might just change the way you approach the entire event!

 

Tip #1: Don’t over-promise.

Thousands of really awesome people attend BlogWorld every year, and a-lister or not, a lot of them want to meet you (even if they don’t know it yet). Some of your friends might be speaking. People plan dinners and unofficial events. There are parties every night.

I know you want to do everything, but chances are pretty good that you won’t be able to get to all the cool stuff you want to attend. Don’t promise that you’ll be there, because when you miss it, you’ll disappoint (and maybe even anger) your friends and new acquaintances. The fact of the matter is that events overlap and sometimes you just need to refresh in your room for a few hours. Instead of promising that you’ll definitely be wherever someone wants you to be, tell them you’re going to do you best (and then actually do your best).

Tip #2: Don’t go to your friends’ sessions.

Deb might want to ring my neck for telling you to not go to sessions, but the point isn’t to skip them completely. Just attend the one that most fits your new media interests and needs in every time slot. With well over 200 speakers, you probably have some friends who are presenting sessions. That’s awesome. Go and support them – IF there are no other sessions that interest you at that time. You can always listen to their presentations via the virtual ticket after BlogWorld ends, but you only get one chance to actually network and ask questions in-person with the speaker presenting a topic that truly interests you. So choose how to spend your time wisely!

Tip #3: Don’t panic.

There’s a lot to do and see. You won’t do it all or see it all. It’s okay. Breathe. Focus on enjoying your time there, not on worrying that you aren’t making the most of your experience.

One of my fave pictures from BlogWorld 2010!

Tip #4: Don’t neglect Twitter.

A lot of people make jokes about people who are tweeting during the event when they could be hanging out with online friends face-to-face. While it is true that you should put your phone down to have dinner with a colleague or drinks with some readers of your blog, don’t turn it off completely. When you neglect Twitter, you miss out on the really cool stuff that pops up. Some of the coolest people I met last year were people I only met because I was watching the BlogWorld hashtag (it’s #BWELA for this upcoming event). I got to go to dinner with David Murray. I got to hang out in Darren Rowse’s suite. I got to sit up talking with Jordan Cooper until the wee hours of the morning. None of that would have happened if I wouldn’t have been using Twitter while at BlogWorld. This event is all about the people you’ll meet (like the wonderful group pictured at left), and they aren’t always listed in the program guide.

Tip #5: Don’t drink too much.

The opportunity is there. A lot of people do. If you want to party, go a day early or stay a day late. I have a heck of a good time in Vegas last year before BlogWorld started! But during the official event? Represent yourself well. BlogWorld should be fun, but this is also a professional event. No one wants to work with the guy who’s trashed and stumbling away from the party with a random hook-up on his arm and no one wants to be associated with the chick throwing up in the bathroom. Using “but my brand is edgy” isn’t an excuse. A lot of “edgy”-branded people go to BlogWorld parties and drink, but I’ve never seen Scott Stratten or Miss Destructo or anyone other a-lister get wasted when they should be networking.

Tip #6: Don’t give me your card until after our conversation.

At every BlogWorld, people seem to fall into three categories: those who have a stack of freshly-printed cards they’re actually holding in anticipation, those who have cards but rarely remember to give them out, and those who give cards when it makes sense. Be part of the last group. If we’ve barely met, I don’t want your card. Walking up to me and handing it out as you give your elevator pitch is not a good marketing plan. Talk to me. Get to know me. And then, if we connect and there’s a reason we might want to email one another in the future, give me a card before we part ways.

Tip #7: Don’t be a stalker.

One of the great things about BlogWorld is that tons of a-listers a attend and unlike many other events where they’re whisked away as soon as they’re done speaking, most actually stick around and talk to fans at BlogWorld. You’ll see many of them attending other sessions, perusing the expo floor, and hanging out at official parties, so there’s lots of time to say hello. Say it! They want to meet you (in my experiences). But don’t be a stalker. Just because you said hello to an a-lister (or anyone at BlogWorld for that matter), doesn’t mean that you’re now best friends. Give them some space. When you start popping up everywhere and monopolizing their time, it’s just…well…creepy and annoying.

Tip #8: Don’t forget to follow up.

As soon as you get home (or even back to the hotel room if you have time), follow up on the business cards you collected. Check out sites you promised to check out. Follow people on Twitter. Draft emails that you promised to send. Say thank you if someone helped you. If you let these tasks go, they’ll never get done. Two months later, you aren’t going to remember a lot of the people you met if you didn’t follow up with a relationship immediately after the event – and they certainly won’t remember you either.

Tip #9: Don’t forget to bring your camera.

And more importantly, don’t forget to use it! You may not see these people again until next year. And in reality, you may not see these people again EVER. Bring your camera to capture the fun moments. No one ever leaves and event thinking “man, I wish I wouldn’t have taken so many pictures” but all too often, we leave wishing we would have taken more.

And One Big, Fat Secret? Okay, are you ready for this. Here’s what I didn’t know coming into my first major event that has changed my outlook: Everybody is nervous about attending.

Seriously.

Last year, I let my nerves get the best of me on several occasions, and I thought I was totally alone. When I wrote about my experiences afterward, however, I found out that I wasn’t! Even people like Chris Garrett and Andy Hayes stopped by to comment about feeling similar at times. We all have insecurities. We all have “heroes” who we’re nervous to meet. We all get anxious when going to a party where we don’t know anyone else. We all worry about what other people thing. It’s human nature. Some of us are more anxious than others, but at BlogWorld, I’d say there are probably more introverts than extroverts. We spend all day blogging behind a computer screen. Meeting people in real life is scarey.

So don’t think you’re the only one who needs to retreat to the hotel for a few hours of alone time. Just don’t let fear paralyze you to the point where you stay there. We’re very nice people. I promise. 🙂

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