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6 Ways to Add the “Show” to Your “Business”

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Imagination. It is the wonderful result of recorded audio. When you listen to the radio, podcasts, audiobooks or other recorded audio, the imagination is in full motion. Your imagination belongs to you and you alone. You have full control. Your imagination is unlike any other.

Your imagination is used for your sole benefit. The characters and scenes created in your “Theater of the Mind” are exactly how you want them to look. The images are created in your mind in a way that gives you the greatest pleasure. It is all to benefit you.

The wonderful details in a story can stir the imagination in magical ways.

Video typically doesn’t stimulate the imagination the way audio does. When you see a car in a video, you know exactly what it looks like. If you and I both see a car in a video, we would both describe it in very similar ways. There is not much left to interpretation.

If I describe a cherry red 1968 Ford Mustang to you, I couldn’t possibly describe every detail. What does the interior look like? Where is it parked, or was it moving? Is there anybody in it? What kind of tires are on it? Hard top or convertible? There are many details to the story left to your interpretation.

Your imagination creates the car in a way that adds the most to your story and vision. That is the magic of recorded audio. Vivid details take your stories to another level of engagement that video cannot.

There are ways to include recorded production elements within your show that will enhance your listener’s imagination and experience. When you add recorded elements, the imagination of your listener will be further stimulated. You will help create elements within your listener’s “Theater of the Mind.”

Here are a few recorded elements you could easily add to your podcast to spice up the listening experience.

1. Intro/Outro

This is show biz. You produce your show to entertain just as much as inform. Your podcast is just as much “show” as it is “business.” Add some sizzle to your show.

A produced “intro” and “outro” for your podcast is an easy first step. The “intro” opens the show, as in “introduction.” The “outro” closes the show, similar to a conclusion. At a minimum, find a great piece of music that will open and close your show. You can find many sites on the internet that sell music clips for less than a few dollars.

 

2. Interviews

Guest interviews are a great way to add depth to your audio. A second voice on the show will stir the imagination. Listeners will wonder what your guest looks like. The stories told during the interview will create visions in the mind of your listener.

Listeners enjoy eavesdropping on other conversations more than listening to a lecture. By adding interviews to your show, you allow your listener this pleasure. Sure, you could provide the information yourself rather than going through all the work to secure, arrange and conduct the interview. If you are hoping to develop a relationship with your listener using content that will be engaging, go the extra step by including interviews within your podcast.

 

3. Listeners

Adding listener audio to your show is another way to juice up your podcast. When you simply read a listener e-mail, the question typically lacks the passion that would come from the listener. The inflection is a little different than the caller would use. The question is also asked in the same cadence, style and voice that you ask every other question.

When you add listener audio, a second dimension is added to the show. Though the caller isn’t actually there, the second voice almost creates a conversation. Your audience is now listening to a conversation rather than a monologue. The question will also be asked in a way unique to the caller.

Similar to the way interviews stimulate the listener’s imagination, callers can add to the “Theater of the Mind.

You don’t need to include the entire phone call. It is show biz. Use the part of the call that will most add to your show. If the call includes a bunch of details not relevant to the question or the show, feel free to edit those parts out of the call. As long as you are not changing the intention of the caller, or making it sound like they are saying something they didn’t say, editing the call is perfectly acceptable.

 

4. Audio Examples

When you make reference to a piece of audio, play a sample. If you are talking about an interview that Jimmy Johnson gave after a race, play a clip of that interview. Your listeners will be further engaged by the additional voice. Audio examples are just another way to add that additional level of production to your show.

Additional audio will take your listener to another place. An interview clip will transport your listener to the interview location. An old television clip with create memories of seeing the show. A sample of a classic speech may elicit visions of the orator. Use audio to enhance the listening experience.

 

5. Celebrity Endorsements

People like to have their decisions validated. That is why many companies hire celebrities to endorse their products. If Michael Jordan wears Hanes, it should be alright for me to wear Hanes as well. I don’t feel like I’m the only one doing it when I see Michael Jordan doing it.

You can use this concept to benefit your podcast. If you can get a well-known name in your area of expertise to record a quick endorsement for your show, that piece of audio will add an element of credibility to your podcast. Your listeners will feel like they are not alone in liking your show. They will be validated.

 

6. Sound Effects

Sound effects can easily enhance the imagination. You need to be careful that you don’t overuse sound effects. Too many effects can make your show sound amateur. However, a well-placed effect here and there can add to the delight of listening.

Adam Carolla has a producer who is responsible for adding sound effects to the show. If you haven’t spent time with Adam’s podcast, listen to one episode simply for the production elements. His content may not be your cup of tea. However, the production of the show must be admired.

The magic of recorded audio comes from the imagination. When you stir wonderful visions in the “Theater of the Mind” of your listener, you will truly begin to engage your audience. You can then begin to build meaningful relationships with your listeners and keep them coming back again and again. Use these ideas to add a little “show biz” to your podcast today.

Photo Credit: Bigstock

How Finding Ten New Readers Can Lead to a Blog Traffic Explosion

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Want more blog traffic? This post teaches you exactly how to leverage just ten readers to explode your blog traffic.

Finding new readers is the bane of my blogging existence, and I don’t think I’m alone. Without blog traffic, you might as well write in a private journal, because you certainly won’t make money or spread your ideas online. I’m constantly on the lookout for new traffic-building techniques, and today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite traffic-building techniques when your blog is new (and really, this technique can work for established bloggers as well).

Best of all, it only takes ten new readers. You can find ten readers, right?

Finding Ten New Readers

The first step in this process is to find ten new readers. This doesn’t mean convincing people in your current circles to stop by your blog more often. It doesn’t even mean reaching out to friends of friends. These people are already in your extended circle of potential readers. You want to find ten readers who are completely new to your blog.

My favorite way to do this is to find new bloggers in my niche and leave comments. Comments are not going to bring you a wave of traffic, but that doesn’t mean they’re worthless. You don’t need millions of new readers. You just need a handful.

Another way to find brand new readers is to participate in link parties or blog hops. These are especially popular in niches like parenting, DIY, and food. Again, you are likely not going to get thousands or even hundreds of new readers this way, but for this specific technique, you only need ten or so.

The Key to Traffic Explosion

Once you find the new readers—and this is important—you have to treat them like VIPs. Go the extra mile to make them feel welcome on your blog. You want to treat these relationships like they are the most important ones you’ll ever have.

Don’t be inauthentic during this step. Yes, you want to leverage your relationships for traffic, but if that’s all you care about, you’re doing it wrong. Never use people and then ignore them once you’ve reaped the benefits. I’ve seen people do this and I’ve had it done to me, and it is pretty upsetting. So build real friendships. Traffic is just the benefit.

Here are a few ways to treat your new readers like VIPs:

  • Find and follow them on Twitter and other social networks.
  • Interact with them on places other than your blog (social networks, their own blogs, etc.)
  • Reply to every comment they leave on your blog (you should be doing this anyway).
  • Email them thanking them for their comment. You don’t have to do this every time, but with especially good comments, reaching out via email is a nice gesture.
  • Continue to read and comment on their blogs.

Basically, build not just a relationship, but an actual friendship. Some people will be receptive to this, and some won’t. That’s okay. Don’t force it because you want traffic benefits. Just see how friendships form naturally. But the point is you can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen. You have to be proactive in finding new online friends outside of your current circle.

How and Why This Works

Once you start treating your readers like VIPs, your traffic will start to snowball. Why does this happen?

  • Readers will see how you treat your community and they’ll be more encouraged to participate.
  • Treating your newest readers like VIPs increases the chance that they’ll tell their friends about your blog.
  • Even if they opt not to spread the word, the special attention makes them more likely to become fans of your blog rather than just one-time readers.

It all starts as a trickle, but if you continue to roll out the red carpet, you’ll see the effects begin to snowball. Like with most things, this takes time and you have to be consistent. Building a community is hard work. But it all starts with ten readers (and actually, if you want to get technical, it all starts with one reader). Even if you’re brand new, you can use the tiny amount of traffic you get today to build momentum.

If you want even more traffic tips, check out the content we have coming up at NMX. We also have sessions on community, monetization, content creation, and more, so you don’t want to miss this event!

Values-based Blogging: 5 Ways a Blogger’s Creed Can Set You Apart

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Much has been written about the importance of a blogger’s about page. It’s true. Your online bio is the connector between you and your readers. It lets them get a personal peek, past you the blogger, to you the person.

But does it go far enough? Are there any good reasons for taking that extra step: for sharing your core beliefs and values?

Your very own blogger’s creed, front and center on your blog, can be an excellent tool for doing just that.

Spelling out who you are and what you believe in will separate you out from the gazillions of other bloggers out there. For an example of a blogger’s creed, you can see mine over at my bobwp blog. I call it “Things I Believe.”

Why should you bother creating a blogger’s creed?

1. It communicates your core beliefs and code of ethics.

Online, in a world full of avatars and sound bites, our ‘humanness’ can sometimes suffer. Sharing your guiding beliefs, the principles you live by, just makes us feel like we know you—and trust you—so much more.

2. It shows inclusiveness.

If you let your readers know ahead of time that you value them enough to share your personal side, you are telling them that you want them to come closer. You are telling them that you invite their participation in the community. Most of all, you are showing that you believe in making your blog a friendly, welcoming place.

3. It forewarns your community that you expect them to play nice.

More than just a standard synopsis of your commenting policies, a blogger’s creed (or whatever you choose to call it), can create the climate and sense of community you want to foster on your blog. So people who are tempted to go against that code will think twice about it.

4. It helps you find like-minded clients and customers.

Like attracts like. If you are interested in working with people who share similar values, you are setting it up by sharing your work style and relationship-building philosophy. If yours is a business blog, you will be more likely to find clients and customers who appreciate your honesty and the opportunity to try the relationship on for size before they approach you.

5. It opens you up to new partnership opportunities.

Other bloggers and potential business partners like knowing more about you than just where you have worked before and what hobbies you enjoy. Many times, just reading your short list of core beliefs can make them much more comfortable picking up that phone or sending that email.

On the other side of the coin, it can also weed out the people who are not a good fit with your view of the world.

Because you know yourself better than anyone else in the world, it won’t be too hard to come up with a short list of, say, five to eight things, you believe most about people and life. And it can even be a fun exercise.

What about you?

Do you have a blogger’s creed on your blog?

Have you ever thought about creating one?

Gawker has a Content Problem, Not a Comment Problem

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Over the past month, the Gawker family of sites has introduced a brand new way to comment. Called Kinja (previously called Powwow and not to be confused with their 2004 commenting system also called Kinja), this commenting system highlights the comments where conversation is happening, rather than the most recent comments.

It’s an interesting concept. With this system, commenters are encouraged to join existing conversations where people are already talking about the topic, rather than starting new threads. It’s like taking comment nesting to a new level. Kinja is more like a forum under each blog post than a commenting system. In fact, internally, they’ve banished the word comment, imposing a $5 fine whenever someone uses it.

A comment revolution is perhaps exactly what the world of blogging needs. But is Gawker the one to lead it?

Why Gawker’s Comment System is Different

Gawker isn’t the only company playing with the concept of a new commenting system for blogs. Comments have been evolving for several years. When I started blogging in 2006, most blogs didn’t even have nested comments, which is a pretty standard feature these days. Now, there are several commenting plugins you can install, including Disqus and LiveFyre.

What Gawker is doing is different. Why? Because it has to be.

Gawker’s new commenting system gives the house keys to the readers, so to speak, as Kat Stoeffel notes in the post linked above. They’re invited to create the content, not just respond to it, and staff writers hoping to keep their jobs have to take part in these conversations. Comments are arranged using a “secret algorithm,” which I’m guessing is easy for the Gawker staff to manipulate, and conversations can be controlled by those who start them – you now have the power to “dismiss” any reply you don’t like.

Gawker’s commenting system has to be different, has to be formatted in a way that gives both users and staff members more control, due to the choices they make with their content.

I’m a big believer that you get what you give. Trolls can – and do – attack online no matter how thoughtful your content might be, but if we stop demanding more of ourselves and instead cater to trolls, the problem is going to be rampant, as it is on Gawker’s family of sites. When you’re little more than an online tabloid and gossip mill, you can’t be surprised when you need a more closely controlled commenting system.

What is “Good” Content?

I don’t think all Gawker writers are bad, nor do I think that everything they post is without merit. But let’s take a look at what’s on these sites right now. The very first thing that comes up for me? Scorned Wife of Director That Kristen Stewart Humped Takes Sadness to Social Media Outlets

Seriously? “Director that Kristen Stewart Humped”? There wasn’t a better way to say that, especially in conjunction with a story about his wife, who had no part in the indiscretion and is likely going through one of the worst events in her life right now?

It’s not just the headline though. The entire article is full of conjecture rather than fact. Worse, it is full of misleading statements. For example, the post ends with:

Ross’ latest dig at The Huntsman starlett? An instagram photo of a less-than-pristine looking Snow White with the caption: “Not so pretty or so pure afterall …..” Burn.”

If you actually click on the link to read the story, however, you learn that this was “an Instagram photo from the user “libertyross” (which may or may not actually be Ross, who is the director’s wife).”

As a long time gamer and previous writer in the video game industry, I’ve seen similar problems with Kotaku, another site in the Gawker family. Headlines are often misleading and rumors are presented as fact. Furthormore, writers on all of Gawker’s sites seem trained in the art of getting a rise out of people. I believe the term spin doctors might apply here; perhaps they aspire to careers in politics. At the very least, Gawker’s writers seem to understand the rhetoric required in blog posts to elicit emotion.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but rhetorical power in the wrong hands leads to…well…posts about the wife of a man Kristen Stewart is “humping.” It’s almost like readers are being trained to be trolls.

Good content is not only that which seeks a neutral stance. Controversy, when done correctly, can be extremely effective. But quality has to come before the spin. Reporting is still important, and fewer and fewer bloggers are retaining this skill. When a large “media” company like Gawker doesn’t value quality, it hurts the entire industry because they’re sending the message, “This is okay. This is what blogging is about.”

It’s Time for Better Commenting

It is, in fact, time for the blogging industry to embrace new ways of thinking about comments. Kinja might be the start of that, but there are still some problems. Peter Stern of the Columbia Journalism Review writes,

“The goal is to erase the traditional distinctions between writers, editors, readers, subject, and sources,” Denton told CJR in a Gchat. At the same time, he insisted, “our goal is to help our writers each achieve greater influence and reach with the same amount of work.” So which is it—does Denton want to empower writers or replace them?

But the future of commenting is here, and we can’t just ignore it completely. We don’t have to embrace it, but as bloggers, we can work to understand it and improve it. Says community management and social media strategist Natalie Rodic Marsan from Broken Open Media,

This is the natural progression of comments, and in fact, I’m thrilled to see that the thinking around blog comments is catching up to the AI-driven, algorithmic social web as we know it. I’d say this is the first step in what will be an even more customized approach to how each viewer can interact with a post and ensuing comments. While sites like Mashable, HuffPo, and now even LinkedIn are encouraging us to customize the news and updates we receive, as well as the other readers/members we want to follow, the natural progression is for these choices we make to also affect the comments we see on any given post (especially posts with upwards of hundreds of comments).

As Gawker continues to tweak Kinja in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how readers react. Gawker’s content issues pose a huge problem to us, though – can we really understand the value (or lack of value) with a system like Kinja when readers are trained to be trolls?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this with a comment below. And yes, we still call them comments here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog!

 

When I Land on Your Blog, Please Don’t Make Me…

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I love finding new blogs to read. I won’t even tell you how many I subscribe to (hint: it’s in the hundreds). There are so many hidden gems out there, and once I find one, a big smile spreads across my face.

At least sometimes.

Because even though your blog might have the most fantastic content in the world, unfortunately, I may not become a reader. And while the content is the main reason I’m there, it’s the middle stuff. What happens before I read it and after I read it is just as important.

Now some of you might be saying,  this is my blog and I’ll do what I want. Hmmm, so you don’t care about your readers? You are writing for yourself then?  You are writing what you want to, and damn those pesky readers?

The problem is this: Unless you just want to vent or share life experiences no one but your mom cares about, then you need to care about your readers. If you don’t, then why not just keep a journal?

So here’s the deal. Whether I find your blog through a link, a comment you left on another blog, a Google search, or just by accidentally ending up on your site…

When I land on your blog, don’t make me…

Wonder what your blog is about

It drives me crazy  when I first land on a blog and the title, tagline, and header picture don’t tell me, “This blog is  about XYZ.” I am not going to assume anything from the link or even your description in the search engine listings. When I arrive at your site, within a second or two, my eyes are drawn to the header. If you talk about social media, say so. Because the photo in your header? The one of a quiet stream in the woods? That does nothing for me.

Get distracted by too many shiny objects

We all love fun stuff, shiny objects, cool things. But don’t put too many of them ‘above the fold.’ Sure, if there is a huge ad before your post, if it’s something I really need at the time, maybe I’ll click on it. But will I come back to read your post after you have taken me away from your blog? Probably not. Yes, you want people to take action when they land on your homepage, but engage them with your wonderful content first.

Hack my way through long, unformatted paragraphs

It’s a fact, people, the majority of our readers are skimmers and scanners. They are attention disordered and are looking for just the specific information they need.  They may not even read the whole post.  But your post length is not the issue. It’s the formatting.

Are you using numbers, bullets and a large enough font size? Are you breaking up text with decent sized sub-heads. Do you include great photos? All of these things will make your reader’s experience more enjoyable.

Have to close a pop-up window

Okay,  this is my personal rant. Yes, I have a marketing background and understand how effective they can be. And yes, you can grow a decent list that way. But personally, I think they suck. I have landed on your blog for the very first time and you expect me to say, “Well, duh, I don’t know you from Adam, but sure, I’ll sign up for your newsletter, though it may be nothing but crap.” You might also say, everyone does it, so it must work. Well, my mom had a saying about that.

And when I’m finished reading your blog, don’t make me…

Wonder how to share your post

Share buttons are simple to install, yet I still find many good blogs out there without them. Please let me share. I was told as a kid that it’s a good thing. Because you have lost me if you are making me copy the title of your post, open Twitter or Facebook, create a nice little message, paste in your title, go back and copy the URL, return to my update, paste that in and send. I wouldn’t even do that for my best friend.

Not find a way to subscribe to your blog

I realize that you are more interested in growing your newsletter list, so that opt-in box is prominent. I also get it that you would rather have people subscribe to your blog via email, so you can build that list. But please give me that little RSS subscribe button so I can add your wonderful blog to my reader. We may be in the minority, but don’t ignore us.

Wonder about who you are

Most of us readers want to know about the blogger. That is why blogs have about pages. Add one to your blog. Give me some insights into who you are. Because if I am looking for more info on you, that’s a good thing, right?  I’m not a stalker. I simply want to learn more about the fascinating person behind the words.

Struggle to connect with you

So I have read your post. I like what you say. I’m thinking that maybe you would be worth following on Twitter. Hopefully I’ll be able to find those shiny social connect buttons. Or maybe I want to do more than connect with you. I want to hire you. Yes, you impressed me that much. I should have no problem finding the contact button in your navigation bar, right? I won’t need to drop down to the footer and find the words “email me” in 6-point font.

So there you have it. I know there are other things that are just as critical, but just wanted to share my thoughts. And the next time I land on your blog, welcome me with open arms, I’m really not such a bad guy.

What about you?

Is the before and after experience just as important to you as reading the post?

Nine-year-old Blogger Becomes Web Sensation

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You don’t see many kids smack dab in the middle of a controversy about free speech. But nine-year-old blogger, Martha Payne, has been through a lot in the last few days. The blog she started just six weeks ago was shut down, but people across the globe rallied around her and got it reinstated. What was such a hot topic that put this little girl’s name on the lips of millions online? School lunches.

Like any successful blogger, Martha writes about what she knows. In this case, she dedicated her blog to discussing the meals that her school serves each day. She posts photos of the food and then rates it on taste, nutrition, and other factors, such stray hairs. Her blog, NeverSeconds, started as a daily writing project to share with relatives. However, it quickly exploded, securing millions of page views and dozens of comments each day. That success quickly put school officials on edge.

Although Martha had gotten permission to take photographs of her food, those images quickly illuminated the fact that those lunches weren’t always of the best quality. Frequently, showcasing small portion sizes which left Martha hungry and unable to concentrate on her studies. After posting just a few short weeks, Martha was told that she would no longer be allowed to take photos of her school lunches and she posted her final blog entry, titled “Goodbye.”

Well, nothing like a blogger done wrong to make the web come to life (remember when a PR flack dissed Jenny Lawson?). That goodbye message garnered nearly 2,400 comments of support and her traffic grew by the millions (as I’m writing this, total pageviews are six million and counting and I can actually see the counter go up a visitor each second!). Public pressure quickly convinced local officials in her hometown of Lochgilphead in Argyll, Scotland to reverse their decision and allow NeverSeconds to continue.

We caught up with blogger phenom Martha Payne today to talk about the trials and tribulations of being a blogger:

Q: When you started your blog, you incorporated a charitable angle by helping to raise money for Mary’s Meals. Why did you do this? Do you think it’s important for bloggers to raise awareness about important issues and inspire others to help?

A: Dad showed me a comment on my blog saying I was lucky to get a dinner as many children don’t. I have raised money for Mary’s Meals before and I thought of them. I think it’s important to show people looking at my blog that I care because I do.

Q: What has surprised you the most about writing a blog?

A. It’s harder some days than others. The hard days are when I am tired after school and a club.

Q: What have you learned about putting your opinions out there?

A: People you don’t know will discuss them.

Q: What advice do you have for other bloggers who may not know what to write about?

A: I chose school dinners because I have them everyday and I wanted to write everyday. I think pictures and ratings are fun.

Q: Other students have sent you photos of their school lunches and you’ve shared many of them on your blog. You could have very easily made NeverSeconds all about you. Why did you decide to let the community be part of your blog?

A: When Dad showed me the first email sent in I liked it so I thought other people would too. I have learnt a lot and can find lots of countries on the globe.

Q: Fans of your blog came to your defense when NeverSeconds was shut down last week. How does that make you feel? What would you like to say to everyone who spoke up for you?

A: I’d like to say thank you to everyone that supported the blog and Mary’s Meals. I haven’t read all the messages as there are so many but it is great that I am allowed pics again.

Q: Do you see yourself being a professional blogger when you grow up?

A: I’d like to be a journalist when I grow up because it is easier to ask questions than answer them.

Q: Your school term is ending in a few weeks, what will happen to NeverSeconds during your break from school?

A: Dad would like schools from around the world to guest blog for a week at a time. He thinks schools may be interested.

Q: Many bloggers find it difficult to make the time to write blog posts every day. What are your tips for people who want to write daily, but make excuses about why they can’t?

A: It was hard but now it’s habit. I think you get used to it.

The uptick in exposure for NeverSeconds raised so much money for Mary’s Meals that a new kitchen is being built at the Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi and nearly 6,000 meals can now be given to other needy children. Martha was given the opportunity to name the new kitchen and, in recognition of the community that made it happen, she chose “Friends of NeverSeconds.”

The lunches at Martha’s school have also been improving. Students are now allowed to have unlimited salad, fruit, and bread and Martha was recently asked, “Is that enough for you?” when she was given her lunch. Think a blogger can’t change the world, or his or her corner of it? Think again.

As content creators, many of us struggle from time to time. We either lack the discipline to create regularly, or come up short when it comes to ideas. But, Martha can be an inspiration to us all and her story is a good reminder to bloggers of what it takes to be successful online:

  • Write about what you know
  • Don’t be afraid to share your opinions
  • Allow your community to participate in the discussion
  • A picture always tells a story
  • Find a way to give back
  • Acknowledge those you contribute to your success and accomplishments

Even at the age of nine, Martha gets it. So, the next time you feel as though you’ve hit a wall with your blog, podcast, or Web TV episode, channel your inner Martha. We suspect this young blogger has a bright future in store.

For Online Content Creators, Understanding Demographics Matters [Infographic]

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When is the last time you stopped to ask your fans, “Who are you?”

Demographics matter. If your blog readers have an average income of less than $30,000 a year, they aren’t going to be interested in expensive affiliate products you promote. If your podcast listeners are 95% male, they’re going to be more interested in male-focused topics in your niche. If your video viewers are mostly under the age of 25, your ’70s pop culture references might be confusing to them.

The very easiest way to study the demographics of your fans is to do a poll. Right now, for example, BlogWorld and Overblog have teamed up to survey bloggers, and these results will help us tailor content in the future. So don’t be afraid to ask your community questions!

I also wanted to share this very helpful infographic from OnlineMBA, which gives you a more general overview of social media demographics. It might make sense for you to spend more time on one social network than another, based on your topic and your target audience!

A Case Study in Social Media Demographics
Via: Online MBA Resource

Are you Blogging for the Wrong Tribe?

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Do you feel like you are blogging for the wrong tribe?

In 2003, I met tribe leaders to start my first outdoor coaching business. Real ones, with daggers in their belts, turbans on their heads and a loyal entourage sitting in a circle around them. At the time, I had no idea that building a strong community could help my business.

I was very much offline and in the hills, working hard to get the support of tribal leaders for my outdoor coaching program. After months of working to get their approval, I finally secured a few houses in a mountain village to use as a basecamp. All my courses would take place there.

The houses were in a poor state and it took another month to rebuild them. The work was slow because all the construction materials had to be carried up on donkeys or on foot. A week before launching, the place was burned to the ground by arson.

I had made a deal with the wrong tribe.

Spot the wrong tribe

The reason I got burned down was because my tribal leader got into an argument with a another tribe. They knew I had a deal with him so they decided to torch the houses to send him a message. I was stuck in the cross-fire.

Just like my mountain-village, the online world is an easy place to step into the ‘wrong’ tribe. Now, when I say wrong please keep in mind that the wrong tribe for you might be the perfect one for me.

A wrong tribe is one where two conditions are met:

  • You are member, not a leader
  • The tribe leader makes decisions and acts on them without informing, let alone consulting you
  • Your dreams and goals come second, the well-being of the tribe comes first.

Online, this can take the shape of a big and well-known blogger suddenly taking sides, or some members of the community you are part of taking a negative view on what you do.

For example, a wrong tribe can lead you to believe you are growing your blog while your just increasing traffic to the tribe leader’s platform.

Before you know it you are spending your time sharing content you don’t really approve of but you feel you ‘have to’ because they are your tribe.

Just because they give you some attention doesn’t mean you should join.

Check yourself: Be true to your business goals and your values. Stay away from negative members who attack other bloggers outside the tribe or within it. Remember why you joined this tribe in the first place.

If you are in the wrong tribe what can you do after you leave it?

Join a new tribe.

Take me to your leader

Much like an alien, your first action should be to find out WHO the leader of the tribe is. How does she manage her community and what type of person is she? With a bit of luck that person read Deb Ng’s excellent book on Community Management and has a smart approach to the way she deals with her tribe.

That person will understand that allowing you to grow as a member of her tribe and reach your goals is in her best interest. Opportunities for growth are truly exponential in the right tribe. The synergy of the different members will motivate you and allow you the safe space to grow a unique online voice.

At this point, the word tribe or community can almost be interchanged with team, everyone is pushing in the same direction, with the same vision.

Action: Make sure you know what type of person the leader of your tribe is. Check that your goals are supported by the leader.

So I really want to know, are you in the wrong tribe online right now?

How do you decide when a tribe is right for you online?
Find out more about tribes, spotting the wrong one, find the right one and how to build your own at my session at BlogWorld New York titled, From Being Hunted by Tribes to Building One: Lessons from the Desert to Build a Tribe Online, on Wednesday June 6th at 2:30pm.

In the session you will find out:

1. Why every tribe is the same
2. Why you need a tribe
3. What tribe you should join
4. Where you should start building your tribe
5. When can a tribe can help your business or hurt it

Building Community Around Your Podcast

Author:

podcast community As June approaches, I’m getting excited to travel to New York City for BlogWorld to lead a session on building community around your podcast. If you’re there, be sure to introduce yourself.

Since starting my first show on an AM radio station in 2008, I’ve been very focused on building community. Podcasting was fairly new back then, but connecting with people and making them feel cared for certainly was not.

As bloggers, we throw the word community around quite a bit, don’t we? For a while, if you wanted a solid business, all you had to do was build community. But what does the word community really mean?

A few months ago I was hanging with a few guys who helped define community as intimate friendship, shared context, and joint mission. Wow, is that even possible to build around a podcast? I think it is, and so do my friends who are joining me for the BlogWorld panel.

One of the most important things I’ve done to build community is to step away from the microphone and meet people in person. As a listener, it’s easy to place a podcaster into celebrity status and think you can’t have a relationship with them. That’s obviously a barrier to community and something that will impede the growth of your show.

So, why not come to out to BlogWorld to get out from behind your microphone and learn what you can do to build more community around your show? I’m leading a session in the afternoon on June 7th about building community. It’s the best thing you can do for your own show if you want to see fast growth.

Review: Online Community Management for Dummies (Plus a Giveaway!)

Author:

What’s the difference between an online community manager and a moderator? More cowbell.

At least, that’s the answer BlogWorld’s very own community manager Deb Ng gives in her new book Online Community Management for Dummies. Deb was nice enough to send me a copy to review, and at the end of this post, she even has a special giveaway for the BlogWorld community!

Online Community Management for Dummies is part of the best-selling Dummies guide series from Wiley. On the cover, Deb promises to teach readers how to:

  • Identify core tasks for community managers
  • Build and maintain positive relationships within your online community
  • Establish policies and transparency
  • Manager comments, respond to criticism, and evaluate ROI

I whole-heartedly think she fulfills these promises.

If you have blog, podcaster, business Facebook page, forum, video series, or any kind of other online content, you have a community – people who enjoy what you do and feel a sense of camaraderie about your online presence. A lot of people make the mistake of never engaging their community or even acknowledging their existence, but without these loyal people supporting your work online, you’re dead in the water. Deb’s book is all about how to interact online in a way that thanks your community for their support, builds your network of fans, and helps them thrive.

Online Community Management for Dummies is 314 pages split into the following parts:

  • Part I: The Basics of  Online Community Management
  • Part II: Embracing the Community Manager’s Role
  • Part III: Building a Productive Online Community
  • Part IV: Growing Your Community
  • Part V: Assessing the Health of Your Community
  • Part VI: Taking Your Community Offline
  • Part VII: The Part of Tens (Ten Essential Community Manager Tasks, Ten Must-Have Skills for Community Managers, and Ten Best Practices of a Community Manager)

I like that this book is so encompassing and even covers the complexities surrounding specific types of communities, such as communities for children. The biggest negative, in my opinion, is that this is a Dummies book. I think Deb does a great job making the content interesting, but I personally tend to enjoy books that have less of a rigid structure and more personal stories about failures and successes. That said, if you’re new to community management, the structure of a Dummies book makes it easy to follow along and learn step-by-step, so don’t let this observation of mine deter you from picking up a copy.

I found the most helpful section of this book to be Chapter 7: Listening to Your Community. Writes Deb,

It’s one thing to watch and a whole other things to listen. During your rounds on the social networks, blogs, and community pages, pay attention to what people are saying. How many members are saying the same things? Members won’t come to you with every concern or request, but they may share ideas with one another. Pay attention to what they’re saying an take notes.

I think that’s where a lot of community managers fall short – they monitor, but don’t actually listen. Of course, this is not the only point of good advice in the book. Deb also makes a lot of stellar suggestions and observations such as:

  • Adding a community calender so members know what’s coming up
  • Rewarding loyalty with prizes and perks
  • Encouraging members to share rather than making it all about you
  • Using Google alerts to make sure you know what people are saying about you
  • Consider planning real-world meetups/tweetups
  • Avoiding the negativity trap

I could continue, but in all honestly, you should just pick up a copy yourself! 😉

Or you could win a copy! That’s right, Deb has agreed to give away a copy of Online Community Management for Dummies to one lucky winner. To enter, simply leave a comment below responding to the following community challenge:

You write a blog post that goes viral and starts bringing in hundreds of comments. As readers weigh in with their opinion and reply to one another in the comments section of your blog post, you notice that one commenter continually makes negative remarks and calls other people names. He’s not just trolling, because he actually has insightful things to say about the topic, but his comments are increasingly rude and hurtful not just to you, but to other commenters. What do you do?

Leave a comment below by Friday, May 11, 2012 at 5 PM EST and one lucky winner will be drawn to receive a copy of Deb’s book!

(Fine print: Winner will be drawn using Random.org and notified via email. Winner must respond within five business days to claim this prize. You may comment as often as you like, but only one comment per person will count as an entry. Commenting from multiple accounts and other attempts to cheat the system will result in disqualification. Only comments answering the above question will count as entries, though other comments are welcome. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. All decisions made by BlogWorld are final. Void where prohibited.)

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