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November 2012

10 Ways To Stand Out As a Blogger


If you want to be like everybody else, go with the flow. But if you want to stand out as a blogger, you’ve got to be different. Here are 10 good ways to differentiate yourself from the sea of other bloggers out there by bringing something unique to the table!

1. Be Generous: One of the most effective ways to get readers’ attention is by being generous. Respond to comments. Interact on other blogs. Promote others’ work. Host a giveaway at your own expense. Continually look for ways to give to the blogging community, and you not only come across as a generous blogger—you become one worth following.

2.Be Passionate: When you’re genuinely excited about something, your audience can tell. Write about topics that truly matter to you, and look for ways to communicate your passion to your audience. This could be through writing, podcasts, videos, or something else. Do what feels right to you.

3. Be Everywhere: Making your blog visible is about more than churning out regular content. You need to find ways to reach your audience even off your specific site. Engage on social networks like Twitter and Facebook by providing links to your content, related links, and interesting updates. Guest post on other sites to tap into other sites’ audiences. Do what you can to be in as many places as possible in order to build your presence online.

4. Take an Alternate View: When everyone else in your niche is saying “up,” be the guy who says “down.” An alternate viewpoint can be the thing that makes you interesting. Try this tactic with caution, however—being different just to be different rarely works. Your audience needs to sense you’re also authentic about your contrary view.

5. Try a Different Spin: Talk about business like a comedian. Write about recipes through poems. Do a photography blog wherein you only post photos taken at the same certain time every day. Do what you can to find a way to take a different spin on your subject matter, and you’re sure to stand out.

6. Go Beyond a Template: Blogging templates are great tools to start with, but to make your site more noticeable, move away from an “out-of-the-box” design. Customize your template with a professional logo/header, attractive social media buttons, and so on. It should be different from any other site, not an exact replica.

7. Showcase Original Content: Write creative content for your blog that readers can’t find anywhere else. Likewise, instead of using clipart to spice up your posts, take your own photos—and make them good.

8. Build Real Relationships: Your readers are more than numbers; they’re people. Take the time to connect and engage with these people to build real relationships—this alone sets you apart from many bloggers and also builds your audience over time.

9. Don’t Give Up: Anybody can start a blog and quit within the first year— most bloggers do. So rather than joining that statistic, take the road less traveled simply by not quitting. If you keep consistently blogging for over a year, you’re already going to be in the upper echelon of writers who don’t give up.

10. Be Yourself: The reality is that there’s no other blogger on earth who can blog like you can, with your personality and perspective and history of life experiences. Infuse your blog with who you are, and you’ll have a unique voice unlike anyone else’s.

Have you used any of these approaches? What’s worked for you? Any ideas to add to the list?

016 The Podcast Report – A Lovefest And A Talk With Renee Chambliss


Hey everyone, Cliff Ravenscraft here. I’m back with another episode of The Podcast Report with my co-host, Megan Enloe.

First, I want to admit that I am completely to blame for the total lovefest that opened this show. It’s just that I am so thrilled with how much the NMX team has invested into the podcasting community. There is no doubt that NMX 2013 is going to be an event that every single podcaster should attend.

I’m happy to have Rick Calvert back on the show and to give us some insight into why they made the decision to go back to a single event each year and we ask him if the future events will continue to be held in January.

In this episode, we also talk with Renee Chambliss. Renee is an author who started out by podcasting her works of fiction as an audio podcast. One thing led to another and, today, Renee is a much sought after voice over talent.

Renee will be leading a session for our Podcasting Track titled “Tone and Emotion: The Keys to Compelling Podcast Fiction Narration” I’m thrilled to have another member of the fiction podcast community coming to the show and sharing her experience. Have you ever thought of getting into voice over work? If so, this may be one of those sessions that you don’t want to miss.

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Why One Of You Is Unnecessary in Your Podcast


Photo Credit: Mearicon

I was listening to a business podcast the other day. It is a show that is hosted by two marketing gurus. They typically offer business advice to listeners who write or call the show.

The hosts had received a question regarding unique ways to market a product. The listener had included a few methods he had used. Host number one rattled off his critique of the methods used and offered a couple of his own. Host number two basically said, “I agree with your assessment and really have nothing further to add.”

When a second host (or guest for that matter) isn’t offering any new information or differing opinion, the second host is unnecessary.  It is similar to having two hammers.  They do the same thing.  You can only use one at a time.  The second hammer is unnecessary.

If your podcast involves more than one person on the show, you need to have a justifiable reason for each of you to exist on the show. When there are multiple voices on a show, each voice needs a role. One of the hosts is unnecessary if two voices are offering the same information, with the same opinion persona.

There are many podcasts hosted by two co-hosts. Many of those are successful, such as “On The Media” with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, “Manic Mommies” with Erin and Kristin, and “Mike & Mike in the Morning” with Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg.

Not all two-person podcasts are structured quite as well as these. It seems two friends who have similar interests get together and start a podcast without much planning. The similar interests of the hosts seem to spawn similar opinions and positions on topics.  You should have more reason to form a show than simply being friends with similar interests.

If you and I are hosting a show, and we are both saying roughly the same thing, one of us isn’t necessary.

A great example of two hosts that compliment each other well is the aforementioned “Mike & Mike in the Morning.” You can find the show broadcast on ESPN television and radio as well as their “best of” podcast online. The show recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

Both Mikes have an interest in sports. That is the commonality that brought them together. A general interest in the topic is necessary for the subject matter and foundation of the show.

The differing opinions create the magic within the show.

Mike and Mike come from very different background. Their different experiences have developed differing opinions, attitudes and approaches to various sports topics. These differences make the show compelling.

Mike Greenberg was born to a Jewish family. He grew up in New York City. Greenberg went on to study journalism. He worked his entire career in broadcasting, beginning in Chicago, the third largest city in the United States.

Mike Golic was born in suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He played American football in College while studying finance and management at Catholic University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Golic played professionally in the NFL. He then began his broadcasting career after his playing career ended.

Where Greenberg approaches topics from the researcher/journalist perspective, Golic tackles those topics from the real life experience angle. Greenberg comes from the big city. Golic comes from the suburbs. Greenberg worked big-time radio in the nation’s largest cities. Golic made big-time hits on one of professional sports’ biggest stages.

There are multiple approaches you can take on a show with multiple hosts.

Good cop/bad cop is a common show structure.

This approach would position one host as the nice guy. He is there to help. Always encouraging and supporting the listener.

The second host would be a bit of a jerk. He might have a big ego. This host would be in your face and telling you like it is. He wouldn’t necessarily be mean. However, he would be the antagonist in the show.

There is a three-person version of this called “The Dog, The Doll and The Dork.” This show involves the bad guy (the dog), the good guy (the dork) and the sweet girl to round it out (the doll). The female typically plays mediator between the two guys. This version is heard quite often on radio morning shows.

You can also see “The Dog, The Doll and The Dork” in America’s original version of “American Idol”.

Simon Cowell was “The Dog.” He was the bad guy with the big ego. Simon was the guy everyone loves to hate.

Paula Abdul played the role of “The Doll.” She was sweet while often siding with one of the two guys. She was very likeable. Paula was almost the antidote to Simon.

Randy Jackson was “The Dork.” He would often play the nice guy, even while providing tough criticism. You would hear Randy say something like, “You know you’re my dog, but that just wasn’t good.” Randy could be seen considering the feelings of the contestants.

“American Idol” is currently not as strong, because they’ve lost the role identity of each judge. When you watch the show, you really don’t know what to expect from each judge. Is Randy going to be the nice guy or suddenly play the part of “the Dog”? Roles are inconsistent from show to show.

There are many other varieties of show roles. You could use nerd/jock where one host has “studied it” and one host has “done it.” Liberal/conservative is an option if you can find a co-host with the opposing point of view. Corporation/entrepreneur could offer diverse points of view on business. Male/female is pretty clear. You simply need to select the differences that work for you.

Think of some of the best duos in history. What makes them different (and therefore valuable)? Lennon & McCartney. Abbott & Costello. Siskel & Ebert. Bert & Ernie. Sonny & Cher. Milli Vanilli. Ok, maybe not that one.

Each member in those great partnerships offered something different than their teammate. Often, that difference was the opposite of their counterpart. Sometimes, it was simply a different approach. Find those differences that make each of you unique.

The goal of your show is to entertain your audience. Listeners have come to your show to learn something, laugh at something, or be amazed by something. Your job is to create compelling content.

Debates and differing opinions are a great way to stir up emotion with your audience. It doesn’t always need to be an argument. Multiple hosts simply need to offer different information. If both hosts are offering the same content, one of you is just wasting the time of your audience. You are repeating yourself when you could be dishing up new content.

If you host a podcast with multiple people, find each individual voice and use those differences to entertain your audience.  If you are both offering the same information, one of you is unnecessary.

The Top 20 Most Social CMOs in the Fortune 100


This fall, Mark Fidelman, our Conference Director of BusinessNext Social, set out to find the most socially active group of CMOs in the Fortune 100.  Surprisingly, the group is overall not on the early adopter end of the social media spectrum. Only one in five CMOs or top-level marketing / communications executives from the Fortune 100 list have an active public presence on social networks. In our experience, having a large digital network is a significant advantage for anyone in positions where communication and influence are key ingredients to success.

The study revealed that the following individuals have social influence which distinguishes them from their peers. Mark said, “These visionaries have demonstrated their ability to sustain an adaptive social business by implementing new strategies, embracing cutting-edge mobile and social technologies and developing engaging content.”


Note: Only the highest ranking marketing executives were considered in each of the companies.


While CMOs may apply different methodologies for engaging digital communities on an array of social platforms, these few rank highly on a formula pioneered by Mark Fidelman that considers metrics such as Twitter followers, retweet frequency, social engagement frequency, social mentions, KRED scores, and Klout scores. Weights are assigned to each factor to determine the final rankings of each CMO’s social impact.

Why Is This Important?

There is obviously a major discrepancy between the low social rankings of most CMOs and the significant focus placed on the impact of social media in business and the evolving role that marketers are taking in social media activities. A recent CMOSurvey.org study predicts that social media spending as a percent of rising marketing budgets is expected to increase from 7.6 to 18.8 percent over the next 5 years, while Gartner Research predicts the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017.

Ironically, these 100 CMOs are charged with leading social initiatives for the world’s largest enterprises, yet our analysis shows that the majority have relatively little experience building influencer communities. “That is a major stumbling block,” says Mark.  “The consensus among the people who top our list is that CMOs need first-hand experience building online communities to connect with customers and foster loyalty, trust and engagements.”

“An adaptive business is the only business that will survive the new challenges ahead, challenges caused by a massive shift of power from corporations and traditional media to customers and influencers. Companies that don’t make the transition to adaptive, social business will face overwhelming challenges that they are ill-prepared to overcome. Too often, we’ve witnessed organizations fail to understand and act on these shifts, and surrender to their competitors and creditors.

 We want to change that. 

 At BusinessNext Social, we’re giving business leaders the opportunity to learn how the most successful companies remain relevant, sustainable and profitable. What’s the secret? Combining new social and mobile technologies with smart content. When produced in the right culture, this creates a powerful growth machine that can automatically adjust to changes in market conditions.” 

– Mark Fidelman, Conference Director, BusinessNext Social

If Mark’s vision for social business sounds too good to be true, then we have to recognize that the transition to social business is incredibly difficult.  And, effective change needs to start at the top.  Only by “walking the talk’’ can CMOs and other C-level executives demonstrate credibility and set the example for fellow workers.  Clearly, some CMOs already “get it.” Dozens will be speaking at the upcoming conference and hundreds more will join. But what about Fortune 100 executives leading some of the most prominent brands that touch our everyday lives? How many of them are leveraging the power of social as a best business practice?

What do you think? Does the future belong to those who know how to grow and influence their own digital networks?  Are CMOs and other C-level executives equipped to drive social inside the organization and out?

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Podcaster: A Preview


Man, being sick is the worst. No, scratch that. Being sick around a holiday is the worst. No, wait. Being sick during Thanksgiving, with all that lovely food around, is the worst. Hang on. No, I’ll tell you what the worst is. The worst is when you spend two months working on a book, then you release the book, then you get sick for two weeks so you’re just not up for doing any promotion and then Thanksgiving caps it all off.

Ah, but enough about me and my woes. Now that I have my voice back, both literally and figuratively, let’s talk podcasting.

The book I mentioned is The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Podcaster, and it’s available right now, absolutely free, right here at NMX. It focuses on getting you up and running as a podcaster—that means mostly beginner-level topics along with some intermediate-level material. I’ll take you from zero to podcast in 161 pages. Interested? How about a little preview? Here’s a section of the book, don’t say I never gave ya nothin’.

An Excerpt From Chapter Six: Feedback

Podcasting can feel like a very solitary activity sometimes. For most of us, it’s a matter of sitting down with a microphone and talking by ourselves or maybe with one or two co-hosts. The audience isn’t part of the recording process, so we don’t get the kind of immediate feedback that a stand-up comedian, a teacher or a public speaker gets. If the most important key to growth is audience feedback— and it is—then it stands to reason that we need great tools for collecting that feedback.

In this part of the book, we’re looking at post comments on your website, the importance of social media to your feedback process, contact pages and listener call-in lines. Leveraging these powerful tools will get you the valuable feedback that you need to give the audience what they want—which will, in turn, lead to the growth of your show.

Post Comments

Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: the number of comments you get on a post means nothing. Nada. Zip. Not-a-darn-thing. Sure, you could argue that a post with 500 comments is a measure of popularity for a blog, but you’re a podcaster. Your content is consumed by people on myriad devices, all of which lack the ability to leave a comment on your site. Listeners in iTunes? Can’t leave you a comment on your site. Listeners on an iPhone app? Nope. Go back to the very beginning of this book where portability was discussed. People listen all over the place: while driving, while jogging, while at the gym…planes, trains, automobiles…none of these people are likely to leave you a comment.

We won’t call anyone out by name, but look at the sites for podcasters that you know are doing extraordinarily well. The ones who have massive subscriber counts and successfully raise enough money to launch their own studios and hire their own staff. Look at their sites and look at their comment counts. You’ll never take comment numbers seriously again.

Sure, some of those listeners could leave a comment. If a listener is driving along and hears something he wants to comment on, he could make a note of it and take care of it when he gets back to his computer (or when he gets to a traffic light, if he’s quick about it).


This is not to say that comments themselves are worthless—far from it. The comments you do get, in whatever quantity you get them, can be very, very valuable. They can provide great feedback for your show! There is no right answer to the “should I have comments on my site” question, but blogs and podcast-related sites tend to have them far more often than not. And yet…

TWiT.tv on Facebook

Some high-profile websites are shutting down comments altogether. Comic book-centric site Newsarama has no comments, The New York Times site doesn’t allow for them, and podcasters? Leo Laporte’s mammoth TWiT.tv network doesn’t do comments, either. Well, not on the TWiT.tv website, anyway. Their comments are all handled through their Facebook page. More about that shortly.

A Word About Commenting Systems

Disqus? IntenseDebate? Livefyre? Facebook comments? Something else? You have many choices when it comes to how comments are handled on your site, and there are pros and cons to each. Disqus is feature rich and mature, Facebook (as a plugin) is newer but has the added advantage of Facebook integration. IntenseDebate is baked into WordPress, Livefyre shows how many people are “listening” to a post. Any of these (and some others, including the default comments that your blog platform uses by default) are good choices.

Contact Pages

No website should be without a contact page! Make it easy on your visitors and have it at http://YourAwesomeSite.com/contact. If the link to your contact page isn’t obvious, many users will simply type in /contact in an attempt to reach that page.

The most important one is right below it, but that’s for another book.

What you put on your contact page will depend on your needs. Let’s have a look at a few options and narrow it down so that you can decide what options to give your visitors.

Contact Form

Contact forms are very, very popular and with good reason: they are powerful. A well-constructed contact form can yield a wealth of information about the site visitor, provide spam protection, and streamline the communication process. Contact forms are common enough that visitors are extremely unlikely to balk at using one.

The contact page at QAQN.com in late 2012. Built with Gravity Forms.

The key to a successful contact form is dependent upon two things: the construction and the execution.

Construction of the contact form is most often best handled by a plugin for podcasters using WordPress or another blogging platform. Hand-coding a contact form is certainly doable, but why re-invent the wheel if a plugin will serve? Popular plugins include:

The execution of the form, that is, the fields chosen and their layout, is not dependent on the plugin being used. A good form layout is a good form layout, regardless of its bones. For contact forms, there are three absolutely required fields: name, email and message. Everything else is optional (desirable perhaps, but optional all the same).

A good form asks only for such information as the site owner needs and the visitors are likely to give. Unless you absolutely need someone’s phone number, do not ask for it. Even if the phone number field is optional, if you are never going to use the number, do not ask for it. Most visitors are wary of giving out too much information and will balk when they see that you’re asking for unnecessary data. On the other hand, most visitors love to promote themselves, so asking for their website is almost always a good idea, even if you do not currently have a plan to use that information.

Want to Keep Reading?

This is a very, very small taste of the book. Did I mention it’s free? Pretty sure I did. What are you waiting for? Go download it right now!

I’ll be back next week with an article I’ve been looking forward to writing: Podcasting Pet Peeves! See you in seven.

10 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic with Social Media Teasers


Did you know that the ways people consume your blog content are changing? Just last week, I was talking to a group of bloggers and readers. The topic was: Are blogs losing subscribers these days?

One popular blogger said, “Actually, I am subscribing to fewer blogs myself. My feed gets cluttered and I end up not reading most of them. I follow the bloggers on Twitter instead and always see when they have a new post out. That way I can decide if it sounds interesting or not.”

That comment hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only is the post headline incredibly important, but the readers on social media have a split second to decide, on the basis of our tweet or Facebook update, whether it’s worth their time to pop over for a read.

That means we have one job.

To make our social media teasers irresistible. So much so that people just have to click on the link or retweet it out to their community.

Studies show that, on average, 96 percent of all tweets are not retweeted. They just fall away from the stream and are never seen again. That’s kind of depressing.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to get more love for my blog posts by using some of the same tricks that good copywriters do. If you tweet with your reader in mind, your content will be more likely to be shared—and maybe even go viral.

These tips work for Facebook as well, but particularly with Twitter, where you need to make every word count. The rule is to leave 25 characters for the retweet. So make your tweet no longer than 115 characters.

10 types of social media teasers to get your posts read and shared more:

1. Tell them what to expect up front.

This is sometimes called the command headline. If the benefit is appealing enough, readers will want to click through (or share). An example:

Get two dozen unique blog post ideas in 15 minutes with this simple technique.

2. Use a heathy dose of fear.

Because we are social animals, our biggest fear is that others will think we are not good enough or smart enough. A tweet or update for a post on better writing might say:

These 5 writing mistakes make you look stupid. Do you make any of them?

3. Ask a question.

The human brain is wired to want to know the answers to questions. Example of this strategy:

Do you know the first thing readers look for when they land on your site?

4. Don’t give away all your secrets.

If you have a real estate blog and your blog post teaser is, “Home prices drop 46%,” your reader isn’t motivated to read your post because you have told her the whole story. Instead, make her wonder how big the drop was with something like this:

Biggest drop in home prices since 1989.

5. Stop at an interesting spot.

Novelists do this to get us to turn the page. Try starting a story and stopping before the end. I saw this example on Twitter recently:

Man scribbles idea for love button, gets embarrassed, then…

Really. Don’t you want to know the end of the story?

6. Take an opposite view.

If your post makes us rethink something we always thought was true, we will pay attention. One tweet I saw recently:

Who thought customer surveys can hurt business?

We’ve seen a million articles about the benefits of asking our customers and clients the right questions. But this blogger is saying that surveys can harm our business? I had to know why, so I clicked through.

7. Promise an insider’s secret.

The trick here is to promise a solution but don’t tell us what it is. An example:

The single email subject line that will lose you the most sales.

The promise is that if you fix this mistake, you’ll get more sales. Who would not want to know this secret?

8. Make ‘em laugh.

This is one of my favorites. One of my recent teasers:

Your last web designer was abducted by aliens and he took your password with him? Make sure it never happens again.

9. Pull the curtain back.

When we show our vulnerability, our humanness, we just naturally attract people to our side. They can relate to us because they have been there, too. One blogger’s tweet:

5 insanely simple things I’ve learned about blogging since my stinky first post.

10. Make a unique comparison.

Analogies are fun and give people an instant visual. When promoting my post, 6 Interior Design Tips to Make Your Blog User-Friendly, my Twitter teaser was:

If your blog is your house, how comfortable are your guests? 

For more tricks, tips and strategies for getting your blog content noticed, join me at NMX in Las Vegas this January for my session, How to Laser-focus Your WordPress Blog in 60 Minutes.

The #1 Thing You Need To Know To Monetize Your Blog


Video Transcript:

I want to talk to you today about the most important thing you need to know about yourself and your blog in order to monetize successfully.

Now, first of all, let’s talk about this word “monetize.” People use it all the time. It seems to be the popular terminology that’s used by bloggers when they want to make money.

So, first of all, let’s put this to rest right now. Even though I teach people how to make money with their blogs, I’ll be the first to tell you that I think the word “monetize” is a BULLCRAP WORD.

And why is that?

Well, it tends to be an afterthought for bloggers. They create this thing and their entire focus is eyeballs and traffic and comments. Then they come in there with this after- reaction and think, “How can I make some money with this thing?” That is what monetize usually look like.

That is why most bloggers have a really difficult time monetizing because it’s an after-reaction. They are just blogging about some stuff without really doing it strategically.

See, the whole idea of content marketing and blog marketing is that the stuff that you create actually has a purpose to attract the type of people who want to buy something from you. So, that is why I don’t like the word monetization.

But what is the most important thing you need to know?

The most important thing that you need to know about yourself and what you’re delivering is…

What is the ACTUAL product that you are delivering?

And by that, I’m not referring to eBooks and membership sites and things like that. I’m referring to the ACTUAL OUTCOME that you’re trying to deliver into the lives of people on your site.

What are they there to achieve? What are you trying to provide to them? What is the end product that you want them to have as a result of helping them?

If you have that in mind, and you orient everything you do around solving this problem for them and providing something to them that they need and want on your blog, you now know the most important thing you need to know about monetization.

The Two Conditions

When you understand that, there are 2 things that definitely need to be in place.

One of them is it needs to be valuable. It needs to be perceived as being valuable by other people.

Secondly, it needs to be something that they’re going to buy from you. They need to see it as valuable enough to be willing to pay for it.

If you’re doing something and you’re not getting some exchange for it that is valuable to YOU from your audience, well then you really haven’t arrived. They’re not going to give you anything if they don’t perceive it as valuable and they don’t see that they need to pay for it in some way.

So, here are the two criteria:

1. It needs to be perceived as valuable by people.
2. It needs to be something that people are willing to pay for.

It’s just business 101 here, right?

Alignment Between Your Actions And Your End Product

We want to understand what this product is. I’m just going to call it “X”. It’s just some factor. This is what you want to create in the life of your prospect.

What you want is that everything lines up. Your actions and what you’re providing are going to be the same thing.

What exactly is going to get you paid? You want to make sure that this is going to line up and add up to this and that is where the money is going to come from.

Now, advertising seems to be a really popular way to monetize. But here’s the thing, in order to get paid for advertising, in order to actually make it VALUABLE and EXCHANGEABLE, you need to be making money for the advertiser. What they want is eyeballs and they want sales on THEIR website (not yours).

But here’s Mr. Blogger over here, and you are sitting here working and you’re trying to get eyeballs on your website. You want traffic. You want comments. That’s fine. It’s all well and good.

BUT if you’re just working so much on this, forgetting that you actually have to deliver qualified prospects to the advertisers so they’re going to be willing to pay you… then this is the mismatch
that can happen and that’s why a lot of bloggers have a really difficult time making good money with advertising.

But now, let’s look at something more along the lines of affiliate marketing or product creation…Again, we have the “X” that we’re shooting for which is the product that we’re shooting for and you know what it is that you want.

To get them to that and see the money, actions are going to be a matched up because you can promote affiliate products that are going to help your prospects get that. You can make your own products that are going to help people get that.

Everything is in alignment towards that. You’re not out there talking about something completely different. Everything is pointing to this direction of helping your prospects get this little product X
here and they’re happy about it.

That is how you actually make real money. And here’s the thing… if this is an exchangeable thing, if this thing that you’re helping them provide is something they assign a real world value to… Bingo! You’ve got yourself a business here!

So that’s really what it comes down to. That is the most important thing when it comes to monetizing a blog. The word “monetize”, the way it is traditionally used, is not a very smart word because it tends to be an afterthought.

What you provide on your blog is in alignment toward helping them achieve a certain product X like we’ve got on my screen, and your products, your affiliate products, everything you do is all
aligned around that… and that thing is actually something that people would be willing to pay for, then you’ve got yourself a business model.

Otherwise, you really don’t have a business model. Your actions don’t add up to something that makes money.

So, it really comes down to knowing what it is that you’re providing that is of value.

You’re providing eyeballs on somebody else’s website and that’s what you’re doing if you’re in the advertising business. OR you want eyeballs on YOUR website, in which case the most efficient way to monetize is to provide your prospects with some kind of an outcome that they need and want and you provide them solutions to get to that point, and BAM… you’ve got yourself a good solid business there!

Are you going to be at New Media Expo in Vegas? Well, I am too! I’m actually going to be speaking on Sunday, January 6, doing a blog monetization overview – answering the question of “What are your options to make money with the blog?”

I’m actually going to be covering 11 different ways to make money with your site and we’re going to do the whole thing based on the real solid premise that I just talked about and that is approaching it from the real business standpoint. No fluff, none of the crap that you’ve probably heard from a lot of other places even though we’re going to talk about mainly the business models you’ve seen before.

We’re going to be orienting everything around what it really takes to make money doing it. So, this is going to be down the brass text, we’re really looking forward to talking to you. That’s going to be Sunday, January 6 in Las Vegas at New Media Expo.

I’ll see you then!

Andre Meadows’ YouTube Tips [Video]


One of my favorite YouTubers of all time, Andre Meadows from Black Nerd Comedy, is coming to NMX this year to share his tips LIVE in two sessions: Show Me the Money! Ways to Monetize Your Web Series and In Search Of Super Fans. To give you a little sneak peak of what you can expect to learn from Andrew, check out this video about his biggest YouTube mistakes:

Mistake #1: Naming your channel incorrectly. Is your name catchy? Is it friendly for search engines? Is it easy to remember? If not, it’s not a good name for you.

Mistake #2: Not attacking YouTube harder. This isn’t just a place for cat videos! There’s so much you can do with YouTube, so don’t underestimate this platform. Know why you want to be on YouTube, and have a plan for it. Be totally dedicated to your strategy.

Mistake #3:  Lacking consistency. If you don’t give your channel attention on a regular basis, you’ll lose your momentum. A week or two is like years, so if you stop uploading content, your audience will fade away.

Mistake #4: Thinking YouTube is the only option. There are a lot of video hosting options out there. Your audience may not be on YouTube. Investigate and find what works for you.

Mistake #5: Being a perfectionist. You have to let things go. No video you create will ever be perfect. You have to get your video to a place where you think it’s good and then put it out there. Otherwise, you’ll never see a return on your investment of time.

Mistake #6: Creating multiple channels. Unless your topics are vastly different, resist the urge to make several different YouTube channels. Create one channel and put all of your content together. Especially when you’re starting out, it’s easier to build an audience in one place.

Mistake #7: Freaking out about it. We’re all learning and even the people at the top can learn something new.

What YouTube mistakes would you add to Andre’s list?

Don’t forget to get your ticket to NMX (formerly BlogWorld) to meet Andre in person and attend both of his YouTube sessions (as well as other WebTV sessions). And, find out about all the great blogging, podcasting, and WebTV speakers here.

5 Tips to Get Personal on the World Wide Web


The .ME team getting personal. Photo Credit: domain.me.

You know that devastating feeling when you’ve poured your heart, soul and coffee-infused brain into a piece of writing, just to find out that it’s been read by your mom (hey, mom!), aunt Gertrude, her book club and your cat  – and this last bit is purely based on speculation. Not only does it happen to the best of us, but it happens to most of us: very few Internet Gods have been able to achieve a following so strong that even (hilarious and amazing) taxidermy adventures can garner as much attention as a U.S. presidential debate – yes, I’m looking at you, Jenny Lawson.

This may be due to the fact that we’re all just small fish in the big Internet pond, and that it’s really hard to stand out in the blogging crowd. Or perhaps you’re writing about proper ways of brewing tea. Either way, one of the essential tricks to get people’s attention, in the blogging world just like in life, is to show your personality. You don’t have to just trust us on this; just take a look at the personal approach of pretty much any relevant brand ever. Yes, this one. This one, too. See, all the cool kids are doing it and, as an individual, so should you! There are really no excuses; instead, I’ll give you a few tips:

1. Personalize the look of your blog.

It’s not that much of an investment to pick a neat WordPress template, and make it your own. Because, let’s face it, every time I see a page that looks like it’s been pulled out of a blank notebook and glued onto the Interwebs, no matter how awesome the content, it just makes me a tad bit sad. I know you can do better! So customize, customize, customize – if the guys and girls on Project Runway can make it work, so can you

2. Personalize your blog’s domain name.

We’re past the point when .com was the be all and end all of internet domain names. There are so many cool ones around that’ll make you stick out – in a good way. A .me domain name, for example, is as personal as you can get, and chances are the one you’re looking for is available. Plus, you can make it work like whoa – CoffeeIsOn.Me, if you’re a coffee aficionado, or BrewingTeaWith.Me, if you’re that tea person. If you’re not up for a .me, there are many others to choose from (did someone say .im?)

3. Get an email address with your name, because you can (therefore should).

How cool would it be to have me@name.me as your email address? Very cool. Again, you can chose among a variety of extensions and between several registrars offering this service – currently, Blacknight’s promotion is one to consider.

4. Find your niche and stick with it!

Show some genuine interest and knowledge about a certain topic (alright, fine, it can be about tea brewing), and you’re bound to find a following in the community.  A great example of this is Mike Vardy, writer, podcaster, speaker and productivity enthusiast (“productivityist”), whose personal blog vardy.me is among my favorites.

5. Find your voice. Apply liberally.

This is one of the hardest and most important parts of a good online presence and sometimes takes years to master. Just when you’ve achieved that perfect blend of wit and sarcasm in real life, here comes the Internet with its funny ways to pose another challenge. However, once you master that unique voice, and are channeling the REAL you – not projecting an imaginary persona, your readers will know and will respond to that. That recognizable voice may even become your main online feature – again, looking at you, Ms. Lawson. All you have to do? Practice. It’s often hard to address an imaginary, and undoubtedly varied group of people who don’t know how awesome (and not weird at all) you are. I found that pretending to write to a friend – or to your cat – helps.

The take away points: be sincere, develop your own style and do everything in your power to channel your inner “me.” If it takes a few formal tweaks to your blog or your email – so be it. Your cat will be proud of you. And more importantly, you’ll find the right audience that’ll appreciate the writing and the person behind it!

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