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October 2011

Rich Brooks Shows You How to Sell Your Product on the Internet

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Session: Hey Bloggers! How to Package, Promote and Profit from Your Expertise
Speaker: Rich Brooks

Rich Brooks will be talking about how bloggers can package and monetize their expertise, especially targeted for people who are not web-marketers by trade.

Rich has never missed a BlogWorld and is very excited to go – says there is great networking and great learning.

Hear what else Rich 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!

Join the Photo Walk at BlogWorld LA

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The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau would like to welcome you to BlogWorld Los Angeles by inviting you on a guided Photo Walk based on the film 500 Days of Summer (named by AOL Travel as one of the top 10 movies that inspire wanderlust).

This Photo Walk will be led by Harry Medved, the co-author of Location Filming in Los Angeles and Hollywood Escapes.

 

LOCATIONS INCLUDE:

  • Millennium Biltmore Hotel
  • San Fernando Building
  • Barclay Hotel
  • The Continental Building
  • Bradbury Building
  • Million Dollar Theater
  • Grand Central Market
  • Angels Knoll

WHEN: Nov. 2nd, 2:30pm PT

WHERE: The starting point of the tour will be the Millennium Biltmore Hotel lobby at 2:30 p.m. on November 2nd. There will also be a social media component to the tour for all those who are smartphone savvy.

WHAT: The Perch (an amazing new rooftop bar/bistro/venue in Downtown) is going to be hosting our post-tour reception with specially-priced cocktails. We’re also going to have a cocktail curator on the tour as well 😉 Daniel Djang writes the “Thirsty in LA” blog, which received the best cocktail blog award from LA Weekly this year.

HASHTAGs & MORE INFO:
Twitter: @discover_LA
Hashtags: #WeWalkLA / #BWELA / #dtla

RSVP Here:

Six Simple Ways to Market Your EBook – After the Launch

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Session: How to Write EBooks That Practically Sell Themselves
Speaker: Ali Luke

There’s tons of great advice out there about launching an eBook – and for good reason: you’ll get rapid sales in the first week or two. But unless your eBook is incredibly topical, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t keep on selling well, long after the launch is over.
And this isn’t just good for you … it’s also good for your audience. Chances are, new folks are stopping by your site (or following you on Twitter, or liking your page on Facebook) every day. Your new readers might love to get their hands on your eBook – but they need to know it exists.
I’ll start off with the easiest, quickest tips and work up to more time-consuming ones.

#1: Add a Link to Email/Forum Signatures

This will only take you a couple of minutes – and could get your eBook in front of hundreds of people. Just add a line to your email signature. It can be as simple as this:

Author of EBOOK TITLE, available from LINK

You might also want to include a brief quote from a testimonial, or a note about who the book is for.
If you use any forums, check whether it’s okay to link to your eBook sales page in your signature – different sites will have different rules about this. On private forums, such as the Third Tribe, you might want to include a custom discount code.

#2: Mention it on Your About Page

If you take a quick look at your blog’s analytics, then you’ll probably see that the most popular static page is the About page. New readers want to see who you are and what your blog is all about. The About page is a great place to mention any products or services – including eBooks.

Since you’ve got a lot more space on an About page than in an email signature, you’ll want to give enough information to draw readers in. Add your eBook’s cover image, plus a short description of key benefits (perhaps in bullet-point format). Encourage readers to “click here to find out more” rather than “click here to buy now” – it’s not such a big commitment.

#3: Send a Sample to Everyone on Your Email List

Your newsletter or mailing list is a great marketing tool – assuming you use it right. That means avoiding overloading your readers with offers and promotions … whilst ensuring that you’re not completely silent about your eBook.

One great way to promote your eBook is to provide an exclusive free sample to your email list. Your readers will be thrilled – and you may well make some new sales. Make your sample genuinely useful (perhaps a quarter to a third of your full eBook) and use the last page of it to tell readers how to get the full eBook.

If you don’t have an email list yet, or if your list is very small, a free sample of your eBook makes a great sign-up incentive.

#4: Guest Post on a Relevant Blog

Perhaps your own blog doesn’t have many readers yet – a few dozen, or a few hundred. You could keep promoting your eBook to them, but chances are, they’re going to get a bit bored of hearing about something they’ve already bought (or already dismissed).
Luckily, it’s not too hard to get your eBook in front of an audience of thousands – or ten of thousands – of readers. How? Write a guest post, and promote your eBook in the bio.

For maximum effect, look for a blog that:

  • Has readers who are used to buying eBooks (e.g. ProBlogger or Copyblogger).
  • Hasn’t done any large promotions recently.
  • Allows a link in the body of your post, as well as in the bio.
  • Is on-topic: you’ll want to write a guest post that’s related to your eBook.

You might even want to give a special discount code for that blog’s readers: this offers an extra incentive to buy, and also helps you track where sales are coming from.

#5: Hold an EBook Sale

We all love a bargain – so putting your eBook on sale for a week or two will help undecided buyers to make up their minds! Sales are more powerful if you don’t hold them too often, and if you offer a significant discount.

It’s a good idea to have a reason for a sale (and “I need to pay my taxes” isn’t ideal). You might try:

  • A charity sale: all or some of the money will go to a specific charity.
  • Your birthday, or your blog’s birthday.
  • A summer, Thanksgiving or January sale (though bear in mind that lots of other bloggers might be doing the same).
  • A “secret” sale for a specific group of people – e.g. your Facebook page, email list or Twitter followers.

A sale is a great time to revamp your promotional copy: do you have new testimonials to add to your eBook’s sales page, or case studies that you can include?

#6: Write a Related EBook

Writing a second eBook isn’t a short-term option – but it can be a hugely effective marketing technique (as well as a new source of revenue in itself).

If you’ve got two eBooks on related topics – for instance, “How to Get Started With Your Digital Camera” and “How to Take Great Portraits With Your Digital Camera” – then you can easily create an up-sell, or give a discount code to buyers so that they can get the other eBook. That way, the new eBook will boost sales of the first.

And you don’t have to stop at two. I’ve got three eBooks (so far!) in The Blogger’s Guide series, and this has meant that I can provide all three as a bundle, offering readers a significant discount. Plenty of other eBook authors use the same technique: check out Holly Lisle’s “writing clinics bundle” for another example.

So … if your eBook is gathering dust on the virtual shelves, pick two ideas from above (one shorter-term, one longer-term) to get sales going again. And if you’ve got a tip to add to the list, please share it with us in the comments below.

Hear what else Ali 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!

Ali Luke is speaking at BlogWorld on “How to Write EBooks That Practically Sell Themselves” (Saturday 5th Nov, 3.30pm). She’s also the author of The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible EBooks, currently just $29, and blogs about writing at Aliventures.

Social Savvy People Eat Out More and Likely to Be Repeat Customers

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An interesting study done by the National Restaurant Association, shows that those who are social media savvy are more likely to eat out, as well as be repeat customers.

The study broke the group of adults into two groups – the “connected adults” and the “social media savvy adults”. The connected adults were those individuals who use email and the internet, while the social media savvy adults used networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.

The study shows restaurant owners just how important it is for them to embrace social media sites and use them for their advantage. Restaurants are taking note and will start using social media more within the next 2 years.

Overall, 51 percent of social media savvy individuals and 48 percent of connected adults said restaurants were an essential part of their lifestyles.

Not only will we see more restaurants using social media, but I imagine we’ll see many more apps being developed around the food business.

For those of you who fall into the “social media savvy” crowd, would you say you eat out more than your friends who don’t frequent sites such as Facebook and Twitter?

Rovio Hints at New Bird for Angry Birds

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After 400 million downloads of their popular game Angry Birds, we all know who Rovio is.

Some other fun stats include “130 million monthly users, 30 million daily active users, and 300 million minutes of game play each and every day” according to TechCrunch.

Not bad for a few unhappy birds wouldn’t you say?

Oh, and get this. Their total marketing budget is $0. No, that’s not a typo. It’s $0. Amazing.

For all of you Angry Birds fans, you’ll be happy to know the rumor of a new bird being released is true. It’s been confirmed the company will release a new bird for the game on Halloween. This photo was posted on the Angry Birds Facebook page Monday.

Their message was “The Angry Birds have a big surprise for you! Can you guess what it is? Share this for more clues!”.

I may or may not be excitedly awaiting the release of this bird. Okay, I will. I absolutely can’t wait. What do you think the bird is going to look like?

All Apple U.S. Stores to Close During Steve Jobs Memorial Service

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Tomorrow (October 19th) is the memorial service for late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as well as a celebration of his life.

According to Reuters, Apple has decided to close all U.S. stores for several hours on Wednesday. They want store employees to take part in celebrating Jobs’ life.

The event is happening at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino at 10 a.m. PT to 11:30 a.m. PT. Apple employees can use the time off to view the service via a live broadcast.

The celebration is following a private memorial service held at at Stanford University. Silicon Valley luminaries, politicians and celebrities will attend.

For employees in Asia and Australia, they can view a re-broadcast of the event.

Steve Jobs died on October 5th at the age of 56.

Three Posts to Avoid on Your Small Business Blog

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You have a small business. You’ve decided to start a blog. You’ve even done your research and learned how to use WordPress, search engine optimization, and social media. Congratulations! Blogs can be a great marketing tool, and although it takes time to build traffic, over time, it can bring in a lot of extra business.

But what should you post? As you stare at that blank screen wondering what to write, it can be paralyzing. Actually, small business blogging is more about knowing what not to write. Avoid the following three types of posts; any other post you write will only help you be successful.

1) Negative Posts, Especially About Competitors

Things aren’t always happy in the business world. You have to deal with angry customers, annoying regulations, and more – but your small business blog is not the place to vent. You especially want to stay away from talking badly about competitors in such a public online space, since it makes you seem petty. You can talk about mistakes you’ve made or changes happening within your company even if the circumstances aren’t great, and responding to customer concerns online can show that you’re dedicated to finding solutions to make everyone happy, but don’t use your blog to rant. You want readers to leave feeling positive about your company and your industry in general.

2) Word-for-Word Press Releases

As a small business, you probably write press releases occasionally, and there’s no better place to post these documents than on your own blog, right? Wrong. The point of a press release is to get lots of others to post it, and many won’t change a word (which is what you want, since you probably considered the press release language carefully). On your own blog, make your announcement special! Not only is it better for search engine optimization, but you can customize the announcement to really draw in readers, rather than using a press release, which is colder and less personal.

3) Personal Information

I’m a big fan of adding personality to any blog, even if you’re writing a small business blog. It helps readers connect to you and want to be loyal to your blog (and, in turn, your business). However, there is a thing as too much information. Make sure that every post you write directly relates to your business or your industry so it makes sense for your readers. It’s okay to talk about personal details occasionally, but if you write a blog about your restaurant, going off on a tangent about your cat probably isn’t interesting to your readers. Also, be careful about the personal information you share from a security standpoint. Don’t give out your home address (use a P.O. box or your business address) and think twice before posting pictures of your kids – make sure you can do so safely.

Do you write a small business blog? What’s your best posting tip?

Commenting System Livefyre Introduces SocialSync

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Commenting system Livefyre announced via their blog yesterday a new platform, with new features. It’s called SocialSync. If the comments on your blog are dead and you’ve been dying for some social interaction, SocialSync might be just what you’re looking for.

It grabs related Twitter and Facebook comments automatically, as well as adds @ mentions from within the comment box. This is all about real-time sharing and joining a conversation.

If people are sharing your content all over the web, but there’s no conversation happening on your actual blog, well – that can be a problem. If you would like all of those tweets and Facebook posts to make their way back to your content, then SocialSync is the answer.

Finally, there is also an added SEO benefit. Livefyre says, “Well, now that your pages are filled with social interactions from across the web, Livefyre is able to activate search engines to crawl through your site. Finally, original content is rewarded with valuable SEO credit for sparking conversations that spread throughout the Internet. In our book, that’s a huge win.”

That is a huge win. I’ve installed Livefyre on my toy bog and am going to test it for the next week. I’ll be sure and give a report back on my thoughts. What do you think? Is this a commenting system that appeals to you?

Are Dad Bloggers Attacking Father Stereotypes or Windmills?

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Session: How Dad Blogging Can Bust the Fatherhood Stereotypes
Speaker: Ron Mattocks

Are Dad Bloggers Attacking Father Stereotypes or Windmills?

Remember Don Quixote, the middle-aged country gentlemen who lost touch with reality and charged off to fight what he thought were giants, but what were really windmills?  (Do schools even teach this anymore?)  Sometimes I wonder if us dad bloggers aren’t like Don Quixote when we get all up in arms about stereotyped fathers in the media. Are we mistaking a windmill for a giant?

Dopes Are Tropes

Am I implying the “dumb dad” shtick and other negative stereotypes don’t exists? Not at all. However, pointing to the demigod-like fathers of the 50’s as the gold standard for pop culture paternity is a poor argument for demanding a modern reboot. In a sense, these depictions of infallible fathers were  the least realistic of them all. Furthermore, to say that TV dads have only declined since is a faulty assumption too because for every bad dad shown over the ensuing decades, a good one can be found to counter it.  Even today, for every Tony Soprano and Peter Griffin, there’s a Don Draper and Homer Simpson (Gasp! That’s right, Draper and Simpson. Ask me why in LA.)

The truth of it is, the media doesn’t get motherhood right either. Michael Keaton’s Mr. Mom isn’t  any more accurate than Diane Keaton ’s supermom in Baby Boom. In those early years, behind every all-knowing dad stood a mom in heels and pearls mopping a floor; now behind every fat slob in a La-Z-Boy stands a disproportionally gorgeous wife and mother bringing him nachos before the big game. Yeah, that’s realistic.

Still, these inaccurate portrayals aren’t going to change, not as long as profits can be made from them. To network and ad execs, dumb dads and tolerant wives are merely tropes—story devices meant to contextualize whatever it is they’re hawking.  In ad campaigns marketers use mom and dad as tropes in several ways, for example:  1) The Empowered Woman and Impotent Man where a woman is told she doesn’t need a man to make a purchase decision when she can dupe him instead, and 2) The Oafish Man and Longsuffering Woman who accepts that she can’t change her bumbling man and endures aided by consumer products.

Wrong? Yes. But does that mean we mount a steed and follow Don Quixote into the fray?

Ragu: Giant or Giant Windmill?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Why did the spaghetti sauce cross the dad blogger? Give up? To get brand awareness. As a former VP of sales and marketing, I agree, the recent Ragu campaign slighting dads was both lame and ill-conceived. However, if the intent was to gain exposure among parent bloggers, when the numbers hit some ad exec’s desk, I guarantee he yelled, “Winning!” and then downed a pint of tiger’s blood.

The significance of Ragu-gate, though, is that it marks the first instance when a large portion of the dad blogger community responded in force. That’s a significant indicator of dad’s growing social media influence. However, despite both this and Ragu’s mistakes, some feel the situation was somewhat tarnished by the reaction itself.

One account rep remarked to me that they were “put off” by the backlash, not because the sentiment was wrong, but because the reactionary nature of some diatribes created the potential for current and future clients to be more hesitant about working with dad bloggers. Several veteran mom bloggers expressed a similar sentiment, likening it to the controversy over the varied reactions of the “Motrin Moms” back in the days when moms and brands were still feeling each other out.

In the end, though, Ragu got what it wanted. And dads? Ragu-gate’s widespread visibility may have given dad bloggers an added degree of credibility as influencers in the estimation of brands and advertisers. But the incident comes with a cautionary tale of how a right message can get lost in the wrong delivery, something moms and brands already know. But regardless of the outcome here, I have to ask, were we attacking a media misandry giant, or just another windmill.

When Did Giants Become Windmills?

For Don Quixote, his delusions stemmed from his getting too caught up in adventure books. Applying this to us dad and the fight against stereotypes, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and miss what’s really happening along the way. Are fathers still largely misrepresented? Yes. Do women still control household purchasing power? Yes (sort of). But is there a paradigm shift running counter to the above premises? The answer is also yes. Consider this:

That same WSJ article also pointed out that, although still a bit feeble, today’s sitcom dads are confident, family men who are okay with housework and proficient at child rearing. Dumb dads and mom-centered advertising may still exist, but even so, the mainstream media is starting to get it.

Real Giants: The Makers of “Mooks”

Unlike Don Quixote’s self-fabricated monsters, real giants that are more damaging to fathers, do exist. Despite their overall positive treatment, the new dads on shows like Man Up and Up All Night, are plagued by their struggle to define their own masculine identity. Are they  acting like men or are they still boys? Are they being too macho, or too feminine? Where did this male identity crisis come from? Three words: AXE Body Spray.

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but AXE marketing campaigns are a prime example of the real problem. Commercials showing mobs of sex-crazed women ripping the clothes off a teenage boy seconds after he applies a little body spray sends unrealistic and confusing messages to young impressionable males. And these images are far more prevalent in pop-culture than the stupid dads. According to the book, Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons From Superheroes, Slackers, and Other Media Stereotypes, marketers are overtly telling boys they are supposed to be everything from underachieving nobodies to win-at-all-cost super jocks.

Such messages are damaging to boys’ self-esteem, delaying their entry into emotional adulthood, and what’s worse is that media, marketing and ad execs and are creating a generation of “mooks,” a term coined during an episode of PBS’s Frontline (“The Merchants of Cool”) in reference to selfish, superficial, young males who act like morons—morons who will likely be fathers themselves. By comparison, how a spaghetti sauce portrays me seems silly when some stink spray wants to turn my three boys into characters from the Jersey Shore. (Coincidentally, both Ragu and AXE are owned by Unilever.)

Dad Bloggers are Not Don Quixote

Unlike, the farcical Don Quixote, dad bloggers have real issues to confront, and to be blunt, it’s not what the mainstream media thinks of us as fathers; it’s what the mainstream media is telling our sons about what it means to be a man. The good news, though, is that men as consumers arguably have more of a voice in shaping brand messages now, more than ever through the power of social media.

The days of traditional marketing campaigns are over, and  brands are having to accept that they no longer control the message. Some of that control is now within the grasp of dad bloggers, and as the industry continues to gauge our influence, brands are listening. What are we going to say, and which brands should we be talking to?

Personally, what the mainstream media says about me as a father isn’t as important as what my kids think of me as a parent. My job is to do what’s best for them, so if Ragu runs a two-for-one deal—guess what’s for dinner, kids? And if an auto maker advertises their “Dad is a Turd” Spring Sell-A-Thon, but yet they offer a quality-made, vehicle that’s right for my family, then let’s make a deal.

It’s not that I’m ambivalent. I’m not. But, being already secure with my masculine identity, as a father I have a greater responsibilities to protect my sons (and daughters) from harmful influences, than I do protecting my image. So go ahead, CEOs and Media Moguls, make all the money you want off this “stupid” dad. But try making e a buck from telling my sons they’re stupid, and well, we’re going to have words.

* * *

If you’d like to continue this discussion, I invite you to join the outstanding team of Kevin Metzger, Jim Lin, Bruce Sallan, and myself for the Type A Parent panel, How Dad Bloggers Can Bust the Father Stereotypes.

Jennifer Miner Talks SEO For Beginners

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Session: Collaboration: Building a Better Business, Community, World
Speaker: Jennifer Miner

Jennifer Miner will be covering two topics at BlogWorld LA – talking about SEO for beginners and travel blogging.

This is Jennifer’s first year attending and speaking at BlogWorld and she’s excited to attend because it’s in Los Angeles, where she lives.

Hear what else Jennifer 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!

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