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January 2012

Six Things You Can Focus On Today to Increase Your Blogging Results

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Last week I shared a little of my blogging story with you, by giving you a look into how I make money by blogging and selling blogs. As I mentioned, I’ve been at this since 2006. I’ve been through the ups and downs of both blogging for a company, as well as blogging for myself.

I have people ask me just about every week, “How can I do what you do?” My first answer for them is to get ready to work their butt off. If that statement doesn’t scare them off, then I know they’re ready to hear the rest of what I have to say – the nuts and bolts of what goes into becoming a successful blogger.

(Side note: Not all successful blogging stories are identical. What I am about to share with you has worked for me, but it’s not in any way the only road to success.)

I won’t get into choosing a topic for your blog, setting up your blog, or choosing a design. Let’s just assume you already have those pieces in place and are ready to hit the ground running with your topic.

1. Email, Email, Email

For several of the topics I write about, my contacts are the bread and butter of my business. They help me build my content with the emails they send with topic ideas, the products they want me to review or the person they would like me to interview. I have one incredibly large and amazing list of contacts, both PR firms and direct with business owners. How did I build this list? I pounded the keyboard.

The first thing I recommend you do as a new blogger is set up Google alerts with keywords related to your topic. I also suggest you search Google news for press releases related to your topic. Both of these will help keep you on top of the news, as well as build up your contact list. At the bottom of every press release is (usually) a name, email and/or phone number of the main contact person.

For months, I emailed people every single day introducing myself, telling them a little about my blog and letting them know I would love to work with them and be added to their press list. It took only a few months to build a solid list of people. My inbox was flooded with post ideas, product review submissions and interview requests. I still email companies and PR firms, but very rarely. I’m now at the stage of turning people away, and you can be there as well if you follow this approach.

2. Post Quality Content Every Day

I definitely will have some people disagree with me on this one and that’s okay. Like I said, this is what worked for me in the beginning. I truly believe that staying committed to having fresh content available every day was a key piece that got me where I am today.

If you don’t have the time to devote to your blog every day, then set aside one chunk of time a week where you write 5 to 7 articles to drip throughout the course of your week. The scheduled post feature is your friend. Use it!

Your readership and numbers will grow because they’ll keep coming back for more every day and your business contacts will grow because they’ll know you’re the type of blogger they want to work with.

3. Build Your Email List Yesterday

When I have a new blogger ask me, “When should I start building my email list?”, I always say “Yesterday”. Meaning, you need to be collecting those emails from your readers on day one. I wish I could say I followed this piece of advice, but I didn’t. I honestly thought people would prefer to receive information about my site from little blurbs on Facebook or Twitter. That is not the case!

Did you know you have readers who are not on either of those sites? (Gasp!) And, did you know there are people who are on Facebook and/or Twitter but they don’t check it every day? (Gasp again!) But guess what? They do check email every day and you’ll reach a lot more people through email, instead of hoping they see it on your Facebook page. So go build that email list…yesterday!

4. Don’t Be a Blog Hermit

One definition of a hermit is “any person living in seclusion; recluse”. In order to have a successful blog, you need to step away from your own blog for a minute and go make friends. Don’t be a hermit! Find blogs within your topic and start commenting on them. And I’m not talking about leaving a “Nice post!” comment or some lengthy one which makes you sound extremely intelligent. Just join the conversation like you would at a get together with your friends. Socialize. Interact. Reach out.

I know there are many bloggers who will agree with the fact that you’ll make friends within the blogging community who will become your friends for life. You’ll start bunking together at events, helping each other’s blogs succeed and maybe even go into business together. If you stay in your own little blogging bubble, you’ll regret it in the end. I promise.

5. Treat Your Blog as a Business

Yes, I know. You’re thinking, “Thank you for the obvious cliché advice, Julie Bonner”. But me telling you to treat your blog as a business is THE most important piece of advice I could give you. You hear successful bloggers say, “If you treat this as a hobby, it will pay you as a hobby. If you treat this as a business, it will pay you as a business” for a reason. The reason is it’s true. I don’t care if you’re a mom blogger, a dad blogger or someone blogging about under water basket weaving – this is a piece of advice for everyone.

Type A Founder Kelby Carr conducted a session at BlogWorld LA 2011 where she talked about this very subject. The session was titled “Parent Bloggers Mean Business”. She gave some very valuable tips and advice on being taken seriously as a blogger. In order to be successful in the blogosphere, it’s important to be respected by both your blogging peers as well as companies. Kelby said to have confidence, don’t obsess over your competition, and behave like a professional. I couldn’t agree more.

6. Hold on Tight. It’s Going to be a Fun and Bumpy Ride

Last but not least, realize blogging is a journey just like anything else in life. You’ll have your days someone leaves a really rude comment on your blog, or makes fun of your video, or insults you in some way. It will happen, especially the more successful you get. Shake it off, call it what it is – someone being terribly stupid, jealous and immature – and realize tomorrow is a new day. (This is where those great blogging friends you’ve made can help save the day with an encouraging word.)

Keep creating good content, keep reaching out to the blogging community and keep being professional. I can tell you first hand – blogging is one heck of a fun ride. So hold on.

How to Rock an Event….Even When You’re Not There

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Don't be sad if you're left home alone - rock that conference anyway!

This past week, many of my friends were in Las Vegas for CES…or, at least, wishing they were. It happens to all of us – a major event happens and we get left behind while others in our industry attend and tweet about what a fabulous time they’re having. They blog about keynotes we don’t get to hear and post pictures of parties we don’t get to see. But the worst part is that it feels like every other blog in your niche is getting a ton of traffic as readers flock to their event posts while you’re stuck regurgitating second-hand news.

But do you want to know a secret? You can totally rock an event…even when you’re not there.

Attending an event is always the best-case scenario. It’s just not always possible, for whatever reason: money, time, family responsibilities…so let’s take a look at a few ways you can be one of the cool kids, even if you’re at home!

Capitalizing on Non-Event Industry News

Everyone at an event is focused on reporting news happening there. That doesn’t mean the rest of the world goes on hold, though. When something happens in the industry outside of the speakers and announcements at the actual event, bloggers who are actually at the event typically don’t cover it or even know about it. They’re too busy. That gives you the chance to corner the market on traffic!

For example, the night before CES started, Leo Laporte was denied access to a tech event and the PR company involved made fools of themselves on Twitter and Facebook. While this was slightly related to CES, since it was a related event, everyone was jet-lagged from flying into Vegas or attending pre-CES parties. I even waited to post my story the next day, and I was still one of the only people who wrote about it. As a result, I got a lot of search engine traffic and a fair about of shares on that post.

Direct Readers to Bloggers Who Are There

One of the really fantastic posts Julie wrote about CES, even though she wasn’t there, was a mini-directory of members of the BlogWorld community who are attending CES. If you’re interested in following news about the event, this gives you a list of people tweeting about it, and if you’re attending the event too, it’s a great way to connect with others.

The point is that even if you aren’t attending an event, you can be helpful and relevant. It’s just like every other topic you cover – be as helpful as possible to your readers, and they’ll come back for more (and tell their friends to visit too).

Create Post Round-Ups

Often, many people who attend events blog about the same things – a cool product that was the hit of the show, a fascinating keynote, or an interesting announcement. You can report on the news, but since you aren’t there, you can’t give readers a first-hand opinion. What you can do, however, is create a post round-up of all the bloggers who are discussing the topic in question. That way, people who are looking for information about, for example, a specific new technology being shown at CES, can use your round-up to find posts they’ll want to read.

Whether you attend a conference or not, if you write about it, let the community manager or social media manager know about your posts. Conference organizes love to read what people have to say about their event, and often, they’ll even help promote your posts or respond to your questions.

Top 10 Reasons to Join the BlogWorld Facebook Community

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The BlogWorld community is growing by leaps and bounds. Every day, more people “like” us on Facebook, “follow” us on Twitter and “circle” us on Google+.  Still, our work isn’t done. We enjoy a big, vibrant and lively community of folks interacting and sharing ideas.

Sometimes when we invite folks to join us on one of our social channels, we’re asked why or what’s in it for our community.  It’s one thing to say “join us on Facebook,” but that’s not much enticement. So to cover the “why” part,  I’m going to share the top reasons to join our Facebook community.

 

10. Brag your blog day

Community isn’t us, it’s you. The collective you. We want to know everything about you, who you are, what you do and what you’re about. At the beginning of each month we feature “Brag Your Blog” day when our entire community is allowed to legally spam our Facebook wall.  Let’s face it, there are  a lot of people producing a lot of content  and none of us can possibly know about it all. But on “Brag Your Blog Day,” we can help our community to promote their content to over 6,000 friends.  Hopefully by participating you can gain  some new community members of your own.

9. Picture Day

We love sharing images from the BlogWorld Flickr account and other channels and picture day is our day of doing so. When we post our images, we tag community members who are in the photos whenever possible. We also invite our Facebook community to share their own images from our events. The perks are in the tags and the shares, a great way to see and be seen.

8. Participating is encouraged and rewarded

Facebook isn’t about us. It’s about you. Our goal is to have pages and pages of questions and comments from the members of our community. Still, we have an active community and enjoy lively conversation every day. We even reward our best comments by calling out our community member of the week, month and year. We won’t lie. One of the reasons for building our online community is to help promote our own stuff and we won’t pretend otherwise. However, we really want to hear from you more. Our community pages are places for you to interact and enjoy each others’ company. The more the merrier.

7. Ask questions

Do you have questions about BlogWorld, content creation, or new media? Our Facebook page is a great place to ask those questions. As the person who is leading your community, I’m monitoring all our social networks every day and if I’m not there, another member of the team is on standby. So please feel encouraged to ask questions about our events, content creation and the latest tools and techniques. If we don’t have the answer, someone in our community is sure to help.

6. You never know who will stop by

The BlogWorld Facebook community features a variety of personality types and you never know who is going to stop by on any given day. Some people are quick with a quip and others master the art of intelligent discussion. Plus, many of the influencers and big names in the New Media space stop by on a regular basis. We have an open door policy and you never know who will stop by.

5. Keep the conversation flowing long after BlogWorld is over

All those important connections and conversations don’t have to end because BlogWorld is over.  Keep the good vibe going long after our live events end.  Continue to hang out with our speakers, attendees, and team, as well as those who hope to attend a future BlogWorld event. Just because we’re not at a convention center doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying each others’ company.

4. Make connections

Members of the BlogWorld community include content creators, business people, influencers and folks from all walks of life.  The connections you make by joining our Facebook page are just as important as the connections one makes in person while attending BlogWorld.  There’s no need to be shy, either. Everyone is participating for the same reason – to make connections, build relationships, and have a conversation about the things that matter most.

3. Promote your brand

Though we discourage spamming, we still offer many ways to build a personal or professional brand. In addition to Brag Your Blog and Picture days, we offer opportunities to share Twitter Handles, Google+ circles, Pinterest boards, blog posts and so much more.  We know our community has so much to offer and we invite you all to share on a regular basis.

2. BlogWorld news and updates

There has to be something in it for us too, right?  Our social networking channels are a terrific opportunity for us to share  news and updates about BlogWorld events.  If there’s a call for speakers, a special date to announce or something interesting happening for us, we’ll make the announcements here. We’ll also take the time to answer any questions you may have and gather feedback to help keep us on the right track.

1. Learn something

The BlogWorld blog is an important resource for content creation tips and news, and we carry the feed on Facebook. We also share informative posts from other content creators.  Also, we invite our community to share tips and ideas on our Facebook page.  We know conversation is important and we want to keep you informed of what’s going on with, but it’s important for us all to learn and share what we learn – and that’s the best reason to stop by the BlogWorld Facebook page.

 

We shared reasons why you should join our Facebook page, now share reasons why we should join yours! Tell us about you, what you do, and what your Facebook page or group is all about.  Invite members of our community into your community and let us all know what rewards membership will bring.

Prophecy or Pontification: The Best and Worst Predictions About 2011

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Every year content creators gather their thoughts and look ahead to the next year. We see many New Year’s goals and resolutions posts, as well as predictions for the year to come. We sit back, look into the new media crystal ball and ask ourselves, “What will this year hold?”

Prediction posts are fun to read. It’s exciting to start a new year and think of all the possibilities we have in front of us. But what’s also fun and interesting is to look back at the year before and see who got it right and who didn’t. Some bloggers and new media enthusiasts even go back to their own predictions from the following year and post about whether they were dead on or dead wrong.

What a great idea right? How about we take a stroll down memory lane, a look back at a few of the New Media predictions that were made for 2011, to see who was spot on and who possibly missed the mark.

It’s All In Good Fun

Before I go on, let me clarify that making predictions takes guts in the first place. So, even if their prediction didn’t come true, it in no way means they’re not worthy of our attention. I’ll keep reading their blogs, following them on Twitter and shaking their hands at events. If all of us could predict with precision what the next year would hold, then that would mean there would be nothing to take us by surprise. I don’t know about you, but I love surprises. For example, who could have predicted the Netflix blunder (Qwikster anyone?) or the Kindle Fire or Google Plus? I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Three of the Best Predictions About 2011

Prediction: Journalists and news organizations will rely more on social media to get the story – by Mashable

“What we’ve known as the role of the foreign correspondent will largely cease to exist in 2011. In 2011, we’ll see more news organizations relying heavily on stringers and, in many cases, social content uploaded by the citizenry.”

While I wouldn’t necessarily say foreign correspondents are completely dead and not needed, I would say Mashable got it right when it comes to their statement regarding news agencies relying heavily on uploaded social content.

Back in June I wrote an article about how social media was quickly becoming the leading way to communicate during a national disaster. It also seems it’s become a go-to source for journalists looking for information when disaster strikes. We see Twitter, Facebook and YouTube used on national news broadcasts on at least a weekly basis.

Prediction: Marketers embrace the idea of customers telling the storiesLisa Petrelli

“I think 2011 will be the year that brand marketers – and C-Suites for that matter – will begin to finally ‘get,’ and ultimately embrace, the idea that it is much better for their customers to tell their stories and share their stories than for them to continue to try to control the entire message.”

We saw this everywhere in 2011, from TV commercials (Ford) to companies hiring bloggers as brand ambassadors. Bloggers traveled the globe, were spotlighted in commercials, hosted Twitter chats and went to events sponsored by a company. As she said in her prediction, customers would rather see a real person’s enthusiasm for a certain product than its features and benefits. As some have predicted for 2012, I believe the concept of a brand ambassador will continue to grow in popularity with companies of all shapes and sizes.

Prediction: Bloggers will need agents –  Jennifer James

“As brand/blogger relationships grow I also see more mom bloggers needing agents to act on their behalf to negotiate contracts for spokesperson and brand ambassador opportunities.”

We saw this several times in 2011 and I believe we’ll see it more and more in 2012. As she pointed out in her “Gearing Up for 2012 Mom Blog Predictions”, the sway group was formed in 2011. It’s an exclusive agency who works with bloggers, connecting them with brands. She also mentioned this NYTimes article about a fashion blogger who hired a New York agency to handle all of her negotiations.

Three of the Worst Predictions About 2011

Prediction: The newness of social media will wear off – As seen on Junta42.com

“The novelty of social media will begin to melt away and with it the undue animosity hurled at it on a daily basis.”

You might disagree with me on this one, but I don’t think the novelty of, nor the animosity towards, social media wore off in 2011. A “novelty” is something new and unusual. Companies are still learning how to embrace social media and finally started realizing they needed a social media budget.

This post also predicted that social media would be viewed “less as a ‘game-changer’ and more as an obvious channel.” It seems an obvious channel to those of us who are in the trenches of social media every day, but not to the general public. And of course, Google+ entered the picture, which means another new social media network for everyone to learn and embrace – and inevitably decide if we love it or love to hate it.

I’ve actually read several 2012 predictions that basically say this same thing: more companies will invest in social media, social media will become mainstream, people will stop referring to it as new media, etc. We shall see, right?

Prediction: Quora is the future of bloggingShervin Pishevar

@Scobleizer I believe @quora is the future of blogging.”

Unfortunately for some, Quora was not the next big thing. It was being hailed as more useful and elegant than Twitter and Facebook. Even big names like Robert Scoble (he later trashed Quora, which is a whole other story) and VC Mark Suster were excited and on board. I remember being excited about Quora for about a week, and then I stopped using it. Why didn’t it become the next big thing? Some say it had design flaws, was confusing to use and was up against some major competition such as Yahoo Answers.

Prediction: 2011 is the Year of the QR code – Way too many people predicted this to even list their names

I put this QR code prediction under the “worst” category for two reasons: 1) Many people still have no idea what they’re for, and (2) For those of us who do know what they’re for, we don’t use them. At least that’s the case for me and several of my geeky friends. I can’t even get the code to work half the time on my Android smart phone. (No comments from the iPhone peanut gallery, okay?)

Yes, we did see a ton, and I mean a ton, of QR codes appear on packages, online (why?) and on print mail in 2011. But I wouldn’t call 2011 a successful year for QR codes.

Allison recently wrote a post titled “Are QR Codes Dead?” I agree with her that they’re not completely dead yet, but they will be if companies don’t start getting a little more creative with them.

Your Thoughts on 2011

Do you recall any predictions that were made for 2011 that were either right on the money or missed the boat completely? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Looking Ahead to 2012

With 2011 behind us, we can now look to 2012. Deb asked the BlogWorld community on the BlogWorld & New Media Facebook page what some of their predictions for 2012 were. I also asked our team to chime in with their predictions. Here’s a list of New Media predictions for 2012:

“ The majority of people will happily stay with Facebook — they’ll SAY they’re unhappy, but they won’t leave — and Google Plus will be used by a few specific groups of people (just as MySpace was used by bands long after the general public was tired of it.)” – AFMarCom

“More interest in Pinterest!” – AFMarCom

“I think self publishing is going to be big this year” – Ainslie Hunter

“Pinterest and Google + will both go mainstream in 2012.” – Rick Calvert, BlogWorld & New Media Expo Founder

“I also think that Pinterest will go mainstream this year and be a big deal – maybe even growing to overshadow Facebook eventually. I also think that we’ll continue to see more and more people in the general public understand that not all blogs are online journals and people will start holding bloggers to higher standards, the same way they’d treat a newspaper or magazine. Lastly, especially with Google owning their own social network now, I think we’ll continue to see deeper integration of search and social, so you can’t just be an SEO or an original content creator – you have to be both.” – Allison Boyer, Feature Editor for the BlogWorld blog

What are YOUR predictions for 2012?

Image: SXC

Why Didn’t Pepcom Recognize Leo Laporte?

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Right now, the Internet is buzzing with CES news as bloggers check out the latest consumer technology offerings. Last night, though, there was a break in the tweets about tech as people expressed outrage over popular podcaster, radio show host, and blogger Leo Laporte was denied access to a pre-CES press event called The Digital Experience put on by PR company Pepcom. Apparently, they didn’t know who he was. Leo’s pretty much a go-to guy in the tech field, so as you can guess, most of his fans were baffled.

Sad panda picture Leo posted on his blog after being denied access to The Digital Experience at CES 2012.

In a quick audio clip, Leo says that he was denied access because they didn’t have credentials – proof that he qualifies as press in the tech field. I don’t know if that was a mistake on Leo’s end by not sending in paperwork or a mistake on Pepcom’s end by misplacing the paperwork. My attempts to contact Pepcom have gone unanswered.

Because Pepcom is being tight-lipped about what happened at The Digital Experience door, I’ll be clear about one thing: I don’t think an a-lister in any industry has the right to demand, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!” when they haven’t followed the registration process for an event. It’s rude, and more importantly, event staffers need the numbers ahead of time to make sure there’s enough food and they’re following fire code laws. That said, I really doubt that this is what happened. This isn’t Leo’s first time at a major event, and he’s not known for being a diva. I think this was simply a case of crossed wires (appropriate for a tech event, right?). I think there was a mix-up with the registration and Leo was mistakenly left off the list.

No matter who was to blame, though, what really matters is that Pepcom staffers – those at the door representing the company – should have without question allowed him access.

See, if you’re a business owner, especially a PR agency, you’re responsible for knowing who the content creators are in your industry. Access for Leo would have meant a ton of additional press for their event, and for all of the companies at their event. Word on the street is that the companies involved paid $15,000 to have a booth at The Digital Experience, and when you’re shelling out that kind of dough, you want access to the best media personalities and analysts in the industry. The fact that Leo instead went somewhere else that evening was a huge blow to those companies.

It can be difficult to know everyone in your industry, especially when you’re new. I’ll never forget the look of shock and horror on a friend’s face when I asked, “Who is Chris Brogan?” several years ago. As a relatively new blogger, I legitimately didn’t know. So I don’t really blame the people working the door for not knowing.

The first person I blame is the person who put together the list. If the people working the door were newbies, they should have had a group of people under the header, “These people didn’t complete the registration process correctly, but they need to be allowed access anyway because they’re a-listers and we want them at our event.” Okay, maybe the header needs a little work, but you get the idea.

At the very least, there should have been protocol – someone at Pepcom who well acquainted with people in the tech industry should have been on call to give approval (or not) if someone arrive who wasn’t on the list. Especially when they arrived with a camera crew who was on the list. It was obviously a mistake.

The second person (or team of people) I blame is whoever was running Pepcom’s social media accounts.

It’s bad enough that this was exploding on Twitter and Pepcom didn’t respond. After Leo’s initial tweet, tons of his fans tweeted about it. When looking to see if Pepcom responded…I couldn’t even find a valid Twitter account for them. Their site says @PepcomEvents, but there’s no profile under that name, and @Pepcom is a egg profile with no tweets. Maybe I’m missing something? How are you a PR events company without a Twitter account?

Update: I’ve been told be a few people that @PepcomEvents was their Twitter handle, but when they started getting all sorts of negative attention over the Leo incident, they changed it so people couldn’t find them and eventually just completely disappeared. I can’t confirm this because, once again, Pepcom ignored my emails and phone call…but…WOW. There are no other words. Just wow.

What they do definitely have is a Facebook page…which says nothing about the Leo Laporte incident. in fact, they very quickly deleted every post mentioning it as it was uploaded to their page. You can see now that their wall is squeaky clean with no negative posts at all.

But this is the Internet. Once something is posted, it doesn’t just disappear. Facebook user Adam J. Kragt was smart enough to start taking screenshots as posts were being deleted. Pepcom took that post off their wall of course, but you can still see the images here.

People were mad. In his audio clip, Leo sounded more disappointed than angry, but in any case, this was a huge Pepcom mistake, and they didn’t do anything to correct it. Social media gives us the awesome ability to screw up in public…but it also gives us the chance to easily and publicly apologize and make things right. As soon as he was denied access, Pepcom should have reached out to him on Twitter or Facebook and corrected the problem. Somebody was obviously monitoring their social media accounts (at least, on Facebook), so why didn’t anyone try to fix the mistake? Why did they instead try to hide it by deleting negative posts?

Will this blow over? Yes. I’m sure an equally big scandal will rock the Internet soon (if it hasn’t already during the writing of this post). People will be saying, “Pepcom who?”

But what really matters to Pepcom, to any business, is the button line – the money. And if I was a company involved with their event or thinking about getting involved with it, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on board next year. I would be more inclined to spend my sponsorship budget on other events where major players in the industry aren’t turned away at the door. Leo has said that he won’t be going back to their events and I’d be worried, as a sponsor, that others would follow in his footsteps. So while the general public will probably easily forget, the people who write the checks won’t…and when they search for press about The Digital Experience, this post is what they’ll find.

** Update by Rick**

When I read Alli’s post, I pretty much agreed with her entire Post. One thing that struck me is that Leo’s TWiT is one of the most high profile press entities at CES. He has one of only two networks I am aware of that have a booth at the front of the show. The other is CNET.

I had our Deb go take a couple photos of Leo’s booth. Here is the TWiT booth at the very front of the South Hall at CES.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty hard for any attendee at CES including the PR flacks to miss.

A Blog’s Eye View: CES Exposed

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The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest trade show for consumer technology, is underway in Las Vegas today (January 10th – 13th).

By taking one quick look at the conference schedule, you’ll see there are some fantastic speakers, tracks and sessions. Trade show attendees will hear from speakers at Microsoft, Intel, Ford, Verizon and Facebook – just to name a few.

If you check your twitter stream for #CES or #CES2012, you’ll see there are many content creators attending the event who are giving us a great look into the show. It’s easy to get lost in CES twitter hash tag land, which might leave you wondering, “Whose tweets should I follow?”

Who To Follow

Here’s an alphabetical list of who to follow, who is covering it well and who is there in the trenches of CES. The list includes several of our speakers from BlogWorld L.A. 2011, as well as a few members from the BlogWorld team.

(Side note: I’ll be adding to this list throughout today and Wednesday.)

Beth Blecherman@TechMama, Technologist- CoolMomTech.com, Founder- Techmamas.com

Bryan Rhoads@bryanrhoads, global social media @Intel

Cali Lewis@CaliLewis, Host of GeekBeat.TV. Tech correspondent for CNN, FOX and Sirius 101’s GeekTime

Calvin Lee@mayhemstudios, Blogs at Method to Mayhem

Cathy Brooks@CathyBrooks, Raconteur and genetically inclined connector. Evangelist & Head of Strategic Relationships for mobile search

Dave Delaney@DaveDelaney, Founder of Geek Breakfast & Nashcocktail. Co-founder of BarCamp & PodCamp Nashville

Dave Taylor@DaveTaylor, Blogger, entrepreneur, public speaker, dad from AskDaveTaylor.com

Deb Ng@debng and @blogworldexpo, Social media enthusiast, oversharer, and Conference Director for BlogWorld. Author of Online Community Management for Dummies.

Heather Solos@HeatherSolos, Blogs at Home-Ec101.com

Jennifer James @MomBloggersClub, Founder of Mom Bloggers Club

Jen Wojcik@TheJenATX, Biz Dev for BlogWorld & New Media Expo, Co-Founder PinqSheets.com

John Pozadides@JohnPoz, Co-host of GeekBeat.TV and blogs at www.onemansblog.com

Kelby Carr@TypeAMom, Founder of Type A Parent conference

Kristi Trimmer@dragonflytweet, Social Media, Design and Editing

Leo Laporte @leolaporte and @TWiT, Podcaster, broadcaster and tech pundit. The Tech Guy on the Premiere Radio Networks. Live at live.twit.tv

Mike Schneider@schneidermike, Blogs about social media and technology at www.schneidermike.com

Patti Hosking @newmediapatti, Director of Business Development for BlogWorld and New Media Expo, Employee #1

Rick Calvert@blogworld, BlogWorld & New Media Expo founder

Sarah Kimmel@Tech4Moms, Blogs about technology for moms at www.tech4mommies.com

Syed Balkhi@SyedBalkhi, Creator of WPBeginner.com

 

How I Successfully Make Money Building and Selling Blogs

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I’ve been creating content online since 2006. I started out building a camping website with my husband, which we would work on in the evenings after the kids went to bed. We came up with the topic through keyword research and looking at the stats. It was purely about the stats, because let me tell you, I hate camping. A true vacation to me includes a hotel room, a pool and maid service.

Needless to say, we weren’t successful and we ended up losing money. But I had been bitten by the online bug and knew this was where I belonged.

Start with a Topic You Know and Love

Fast forward a few months, when we decided to create another website. It was on a topic I could sink my teeth into, write hundreds of articles off the top of my head and just enjoy. My husband did the keyword research and I wrote the articles. We started making money within a few months and I knew we had something legitimate on our hands.

After working on the site for about 8 months and increasing the income to just under $1,000 a month on average, we decided to sell. I was bored. I felt like I really had nothing left to give to the site and I was ready to move on to something else. We listed the site on a popular online website marketplace and within a few days sold the site for a high four-figure sum.

Show Me the Money

This site had around 25 pages of content, so let’s do the math here: sold for $7,500, which was making $900 a month and we created around 3 pages per month. The first three months we made just about nothing. Then it went from $200, to $400 to $600 and stayed at $900 up until we sold. Let’s figure we made around $11,000 total from both the sale and the combined monthly income. That means we were paid around $440 per page we wrote. Not bad. The buyer was purchasing a website which was ranking really well for highly searched keywords in the search engines, plus a steady income we had built. It was a win-win.

I think this site sold for what it did for several reasons:

  • I was writing about something I was passionate about and had first-hand knowledge of and experience with
  • We did the research up front to make sure we had a reasonable shot at making the site quite profitable if we did the work required
  • We wrote the content with our readers in mind first of all, but using words that the search engines would like and would reward us for

And Then Blogging Entered My Life…

After building websites, I discovered the world of blogging. I have not looked back since. Not only have I built and run several successful blogs, but I have also sold several. Some I built with the intention of selling, while others I decided to sell after simply losing the desire to continue pouring myself into it. Chalk it up to a short attention span.

Let’s play with the numbers for a minute, shall we?

I sold one blog for $4,000 after building it for 6 months. How did I come up with the idea for the blog? I focused on both keyword research and knowledge about the topic. Do you see a pattern here?

The blog was making just over $500 a month and I was working on it for about an hour a day. It’s not an extreme amount of money by any means, but $500 a month can make or break the bank for some people.

The Moral of the Story

What’s the moral of the story here? There are several actually.

Each post you write has value. Whether you are writing the posts on your blog for your readers, for the search engines, or to appeal to a potential future buyer, each post you write has value. So treat it that way.

It is possible to make a decent income with your blogging efforts. I have people ask me all the time “Can I really make money from this?” Yes. But, it takes knowledge about your topic, passion and a willingness to consistently do the work required.

You don’t have to be an A-lister to make money. I am by no means an A-list blogger. Most people in the online world don’t even know I exist. I kind of like it that way. But I can tell you this; I make a full-time income from my blogs and am thankful every day for this opportunity that I have been given.

Do you have any secrets to your blogging success? Have you bought or sold a blog? Share a little of your blogging story in the comment section below.

25 Brilliant Bloggers Talk about SOPA

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: SOPA

SOPA has been causing a stir in the new media industry since the day it was introduced. I’ve written about why SOPA scares me (and should scare you too), and thanks to domain name owners boycotting GoDaddy, we’ve already made a difference! The bill is still likely to pass, though, so we have more work to do. A group of major players online including Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Google have said they’re considering a black out – that’s how big of a deal this is.

For today’s Brilliant Bloggers, I wanted to highlight posts from other bloggers who are also talking about SOPA. This is a super important issue, so if you aren’t familiar with what SOPA is and what it means to you (and to anyone who uses the Internet), take some time to check out these posts.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

How SOPA/PIPA Can Affect You by Jamal Jackson from 1stwebdesigner

First things things first; before you can start reading all the brilliant opinions out there about SOPA, it’s important to understand exactly what SOPA and PIPA are and what they mean for you as a blogger, a social media profession, and even a consumer. This post by Jamal Jackson from 1stwebdesigner is a great place to start, since he breaks down the proposed laws into very easy-to-understand terms. It’s a long post, but trust me: it’s worth reading and understanding this. Everyone online, from those who use it for work every day to those who just log in to check their Facebook occasionally, is affected by SOPA and PIPA. It’s even important if you’re not from the United States. Writes Jamal,

The U.S. government officials and private corporations aren’t only concerned about how these bills will work out in America, they are hoping that they will have the influence to get other nations to follow suit with these acts passing. That means if these acts pass, then the next country this could be coming toward may be yours.

You can find more from Jamal at Five Alarm Interactive and follow him on Twitter @5alarmint.

SOPA, GoDaddy and the Bottom-Up Democracy (or Mob Rule) of the Web by John Paul Titlow at Read Write Web

Once you understand what SOPA is and how it can affect you, check out this post by John Paul Titlow on Read Write Web. He talks about the recent “mob” mentality that helped convince GoDaddy and other companies to stop supporting SOPA – and he takes a closer look as to whether or not this was a good thing. Undoubtedly, GoDaddy’s change of heart was good for those opposing SOPA, but is mob mentality on the Internet potentially harmful? He writes,

To be sure, some of what goes on amongst the Reddit is questionable and not every member of that particular community has their facts straight at all times. But they’re far from the only player in these scenarios, even if they do often provide a solid launch pad for digital protest campaigns. What’s more remarkable is what the architecture of the Web generally, as well as its social tools, are beginning – yes, only beginning – to enable.

Check out the full post on Read Write Web, and then follow John Paul on Twitter @johnpaul. You can also find out more about him at JohnPaulTitlow.com.

Preparedness In a Post-SOPA World by Chris Richardson at WebProNews

One of the most infuriating things about SOPA is that it isn’t going to actually cut down on piracy, which is the whole goal of the bill, according to those supporting it. People are already finding ways to work around the censorship, should the bill pass. In this post, which is one of many great SOPA posts on WebProNews, Chris Richardson posts an entire list of IP addresses that you can use to access some of your favorite sites in case the top-level domains aren’t working anymore. The list isn’t in and of itself as important as actually understanding why this kind of thing pretty much negates the entire point of SOPA and just makes things more difficult to everyone online, whether you’re a pirate or a legitimate business owner. Writes Chris,

Hopefully, the Louis Pasteur quote subtitling this article [ “Fortune favors a prepared mind”] motivates you enough to prepare yourself for a post-SOPA world, one where the Internet, as we know it, is rendered into a smoldering ruin that’s overtly governed by the copyright gatekeepers. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but then again, being prepared for a potentially real future could make the transition to a SOPA-controlled Internet much easier to navigate.

You can find more from Chris by adding him to your circles on Google+.

BONUS BRILLIANT BLOGGER: It’s a very long and in-depth post, but if you have time to read it, Don’t Break the Internet at the Stanford Law Review is one of the best explanations of SOPA out there, in my opinion. Check it out!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 25 Things You Need To Know About SOPA by David Pegg (@iamdpegg)
  2. Boycotting SOPA Supporters is All or Nothing by Kelly Clay (@kellyhclay)
  3. Coders are Already Finding Ways Around SOPA Censorship by Adam Clark Estes (@adamclarkestes)
  4. Google’s SOPA press stunt: Can we truly hold them liable? by Charlie Osborne (@ZDNetCharlie)
  5. Net Artists Warned Us About SOPA 15 Years Ago by Will Brand (@wrbrand)
  6. No SOPA for You: This Chrome Extension Shows You Who Is Pro-SOPA as You Browse by Adrianne Jeffries (@adrjeffries)
  7. Online Piracy and SOPA: Beware of Unintended Consequences by James Gattuso
  8. Piracy is not a problem; SOPA is not a solution by Terry Hancock (@TerryHancock1)
  9. Public Service Announcement: Writers, Censorship, and SOPA by Melissa Donovan (@melissadonovan)
  10. SOPA: All Your Internets Belong to US by Michael Geist (@mgeist)
  11. SOPA: An Unfair Advantage for GoDaddy, but Reddit and Facebook are Safe by Brad McCarty (@BradMcCarty)
  12. SOPA, Freedom, and the Invisible War by John Biggs (@johnbiggs)
  13. SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers by Tim Mak (@timkmak)
  14. SOPA isn’t the Answer to Our Problems byDaniel Herzig (@techblitznews)
  15. SOPA, Middlemen and Freedom of Art by Mark Birch (@marksbirch)
  16. SOPA’s most frightening flaw is the future it predicts by Omar El Akkad
  17. URGENT: SOPA will Kill Your Mom Blog and WAHM Business by Linsey Knerl (@lknerl)
  18. What Journalists Need to Know about SOPA by Tracie Powell (@tmpowell)
  19. Why is SOPA a big problem for everyone? Just ask DaJaz1.com by Ken Priore (@priorelaw)
  20. Why We Must Stop SOPA by End of the American Dream
  21. “Wow, I had no clue SOPA was such a bad idea…” by Rosie Siman (@rosiesiman)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about SOPA? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: Pinterest

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Three Must-Read New Media Interviews from 2011

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Interviews give you a unique view of a topic matter from a fresh perspective. I love reading interviews, interviewing other people, and being interviewed! Today, I wanted to share three links to top new media interviews from 2011 as part of the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series. Check them out and then add your own favorites with a comment below!

17 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Top Tips, Tricks, and Tools by Tamar Weinberg (@tamar)

This is a fantastic post that I’ve highlighted before, but it’s definitely worth linking again! Tamar compiled advice from 17 different professionals in the digital marketing world. Some of the people who share advice in this post include Jason Falls, David Armano, Chris Brogan, and Kristi Hines, so you know you’re getting some good tips and tricks in this post! I’m a fiend for new secrets on using the best tools in social media and content creation, so I’ve bookmarked this post and I still go back to it to get some fresh ideas from time to time. If you’re looking for some new blogs to follow, this is also a great place to find 17 of them!

Expert Interviews by Michael Stelzner (@Mike_Stelzner)

Okay, I’ll admit it – this isn’t actually a single post; it’s an entire category on the Social Media Examiner site. He does awesome interviews with top players in the new media industry where you’ll learn about everything from content creation to building relationships online. Some of the most recent interviews he’s posted are with Marcus Sheridan, Cliff Ravenscraft, Jesse Stay, John Jantsch, and Dennis Yu, but I encourage you to browse through the archives – there’s a lot of gold there! I’ve linked you to the category page, so you can also bookmark this link if you’re interested in Michael’s interviews, since the newest content will always show up right at the top.

Interview with Waylon Lewis of Elephant Journal by Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan)

I like this interview because they cover a lot of topics, including branding, how to market to your audience, moving from an offline publication to online, and driving traffic with social media. It’s interesting to get the behind-the-scene posts of what’s going on with Elephant Journal – even if you’re not into that site specifically, they’re doing some pretty innovative things and Waylon has some great ideas. These two powerhouses pack a lot of info into just a short interview, so get ready to take notes fast and furiously on this one!

Now it’s your turn – what were some of your favorite new media related interviews from 2011?

Here are the other posts from this series:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews (this post)
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Seven Cool Ways to Use Pinterest

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Have you joined Pinterest yet? I have to admit – I’ve been pretty obsessed with it in the last few weeks as I started pinning things and exploring the community. And some pinners are using this new network in really cool ways.

For those who’ve not yet familiar with Pinterest, the concept is pretty simple. When you sign up, you create “boards” – as many or few as you want. Each board has a certain theme. When you come across something you like online and want to both remember (like a bookmark) and share with others, you can pin it to one of your boards. For example, I found this really cute costume idea and wanted to remember it for next year. So I pinned it to my “Halloween” board.

Your homepage is filled with the pins from the people/boards you’re following. When you follow someone, you can choose to follow all of their boards or pick and choose the boards you want to follow. I find this extremely helpful, since a lot of my friends have interests that aren’t relevant to me, but I still want to connect with them when it comes to other interests that we share. A good example of this is my friend Kelby Carr. I follow her craft projects board, since that interests me, but don’t follow her board that features stuff for kids, since I don’t have kids of my own.

The most common boards I see are for recipes, craft projects, fashion, and humor, but more and more, people are starting to get creative, which is super inspiring. And, if you use Pinterest in unique ways, it can definitely help you as a blogger or online business owner. Let’s take a look at some really cool ways I’ve seen people using Pinterest:

  • Create a gift registry.

This list tip comes from Kenna Griffin from Prof KRG. This holiday season, she used Pinterest to create a Christmas wish list, which you can see here. She shared the list with family members, which made it much easier for them to purchase gifts she really wanted. You could use it to create a wish list for your blog as well. Depending on your niche, fans might want to send gifts or donations, and this helps them understand how to best show their appreciation. Of course, if you’re a parent, you can also have your (older) children create boards with a wish list theme to help you make purchases.

  • Pin your best blog posts.

Sure, Pinterest is a great way to share funny pictures and whatnot, but does it have any practical use for bloggers who aren’t working in visual-centric niches? Yes! For example, one of the boards I created is called “Favorite Blog Posts I’ve Written,” and my plan is to use it to pin posts that I’m especially proud of. This has the potential to get out of hand if bloggers use boards to promote every post they write, but with the correct restraint, I think it can bring me a lot of traffic. People have already started to follow that board, and as of writing this post, it only has a single pin.

  • Start a Pinterest book club.

This is one board I’m hoping to start in the coming months – a little book club for me and others interested in reading the same books as me. Lots of people use Pinterest to share their favorite books, but what about creating a group board (where anyone can pin things) and every month reading a book together, using the board to share links to reviews and analysis, products inspired by the book, interviews with the author you’ve found, etc. When I read a book I like, I love to read as much about it as possible, and share with others who are reading the same things, so Pinterest could give us a fun place to collaborate.

  • Use Pinterest for project management.

I haven’t seen anyone doing this yet, but I think it could be super helpful for some people, since you can create boards where multiple people can pin things. For example, say you’re an interior decorator. You could use Pinterest to share cool stuff you find online for a specific room you’re designing with the rest of your staff (and they can share with you too). The homeowners can even get involved with pinning. There’s a lot of potential here for anyone collaborating on a project. I love that it would cut down on the crazy number of emails you send back and forth.

  • Pin as an affiliate.

This Pinterest board idea comes from James Dabbagian, who created a board called “Books on Blogging and Social Media.” All the pins on that board are affiliate links, so if others check them out on his recommendation, he’ll get the credit on Amazon (or wherever). You can easily disclose that your links are affiliate links in the description, which James has done, and it makes total sense, since it helps people who are interested in a specific type of product find an entire list of items to check out.

  • Create a Pinterest test kitchen.

Food bloggers have definitely headed to Pinterest en masse, which makes sense since food is definitely visual. Instead of just sharing recipes, though, what about creating a “test kitchen” board? As you’re developing new recipes, ask your followers to try them out and “like” or repin if they enjoyed the meal. It’s a great way to get feedback on the success (or not) of a dish.

  • Bookmark inspiration pieces.

Occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean every two minutes), I come across blog posts, infographics, pictures, and so forth that get my inspiration juices flowing. I don’t always have time to write at that moment, though. Instead of just bookmarking posts, which is clutter-y and hard to efficiently organize, I’ve created a new Pinterest board to essentially bookmark cool ideas. If it inspires some of my followers to check out awesome things other people have written or created, all the better.

Some there you have it – my seven cool ideas for using Pinterest. As I continue using this platform and explore what others are doing, I’m sure I’ll have even more neat ideas to add to this list. Have you come across anyone using Pinterest in a cool way? If so, tell us about it in the comments!

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