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How to Get Free Press for Your Blog or Podcast


Most bloggers and podcasters dream of getting featured in mainstream media. I see it more and more every day – magazines cite bloggers, radio show hosts mention podcasts they listen to, and television journalists interview “online experts” in whatever field they’re covering. Who doesn’t want a piece of that pie?

I hope you’re already using HARO (Help a Reporter Out), but today’s video features another great technique online content creators can use to land major press for their content. Derek Halpern calls it “The Drafting Technique” and it’s actually quite simple. Check out this video to start using this technique yourself, no matter what your niche:

The Drafting Technique really is a great idea – and one of many to come in Derek’s ongoing insider’s series. You can subscribe to his channel for more great, free tips.

Beginner’s Guide to Email List Basics


I recommend that every content creator start an email list. So, in this beginner’s guide, I’m covering exactly what you need to know to get started with an email list. Remember, you can also find all of our other beginner’s guides here.

Email Advantages

So why use email? Can’t fans just get your content via their favorite RSS reader? Well, yes, but with RSS, you don’t have the oppotuniry to speak to your fans directly, because you don’t have a list of email addresses. All they get is what you post on your blog – and while that’s a great start, if you want to promote products, talk about what’s going on with your site, etc.

Email is also a way to get your audience’s attention, as long as you don’t abuse the power by sending too many emails (especially too many sales emails). While tweets might go unnoticed, emails stand out.

Email List Providers

You can manage an email list manually, but trust me – if you get more than twenty or thirty people signed up (and hopefully you do), manually sending emails is time-consuming. When you send emails manually, you also don’t have access to analytics like you do with a list service provider.

The three most popular email list providers are Aweber, Mail Chimp, and Constant Contact. There are other options as well, which Kevin Muldoon has pretty perfectly outlined in a guest post for Daily Blog Tips. Personally, I use Aweber, but I don’t like them any better or worse than any other services out there. The point is…subscribe to one of these services. It is well worth the money.

Ah, money. So what is this going to cost you? Each services has a difference cost, but in general, you’ll pay depending on the number of subscribers you have. It’s a great model, since as you get more subscribers you should also be making more money.

Getting People to Sign Up

There are several ways to get people to sign up for your mailing list. Start with a sign-up box on your sidebar, but also consider:

  • Writing a blog post about your new mailing list or talking about it on your next podcast or in your next video.
  • Linking to it at the end of every post/show notes
  • Tweeting about it
  • Creating a sign-up page on Facebook as one of your tabs
  • Offering something for free in exchange for people signing up for your mailing list

Once you have people signed up, you also have to make sure you keep as many of them signed up as possible. Some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Not making it clear what people are signing up for – if they receive a lot more emails than they expect to receive, they’ll unsubscribe in a hurry
  • Sending too many sales-y emails
  • Sending emails that aren’t valuable
  • Being inconsistent
  • Being too clinical (i.e. not personable enough)

What to Send

So once you start getting people signed up, what do you send?

First, you want to have a welcoming email. This email should include:

  • A personal thank you for signing up
  • What kind of email content subscribers can expect
  • Information on how to unsubscribe
  • Contact information
  • Links to your blog and social media profiles

After that, you can start sending emails on a regular basis. I recommend sending at least one email a week but no more than three per week unless there’s something special going on. There are two types of emails you can send. In Aweber, they’re called “follow-ups” and “broadcasts,” but the concepts is the same no matter what email system you use.

  • Follow-Ups: Emails that are sent to anyone who signs up, based on schedule that starts whenever the person signs up. (For example, the first one might be sent three days after the welcome message, the next three days after that, and so on.) This is evergreen material.
  • Broadcasts: Emails that are sent to everyone on your email list at the same time (future subscribers won’t see these messages). Typically, broadcasts are used to announce information like special events on your site, products sales, etc.

Follow-ups can take on several forms. Many people do newsletters, with several pieces of content. Some other ideas include:

  • Personal messages to the reader
  • Links to archived (but evergreen) posts
  • Special content only available to subscribers

Occasionally, you should also send a follow up that is more sales-like in nature, either promoting one of your own products or promoting someone else’s product (using affiliate links). I like to do a ratio of three high-value emails to every one sales email (outside of broadcasts).

More Tips

A few other tips about sending content to your list and using email services:

  • Always include a link to unsubscribe. It’s against spam policies not to do this and most newsletter service providers have it built-in…but make sure the link is noted somewhere so people can unsubscribe if they want.
  • If you include affiliate links, make sure you disclose this information using FTC guidelines.
  • Most email service providers give you the ability to split test, which allows you to see if you get a higher open rate using one headline or another or if changes in the email make a person more likely to click links included in that email. Use your ability to split test.
  • Some advertisers are willing to sponsor emails by placing ads in your newsletter. Again, make sure these relationships are disclosed.
  • Look at your stats regularly to see which follow-ups are causing the most unsubscribes. It might be worth changing it this message to prevent even more unsubscribes.
  • Also look at your stats regularly to see which follow-ups are getting the most opens and clicks. You want to replicate this success in the future.
  • Delete unsubscribed members regularly. These have no purpose, since they no longer get your emails, but some email services count them toward your total number of members, so these will bump up your number for no reason, causing you to pay more.
  • You may also want to delete members who don’t open your emails. I don’t do this personally, since they could someday decide to open one, but some people advocate this in order to keep your numbers lower and pay less.
  • Your subject line is like a headline – make sure you write something eye-catching that makes people want to open your email.

Even if you aren’t ready to start  sending email content to your list, it doesn’t hurt to at least allow people to sign up. You want to capture those leads so that someday when you do have time to maintain a list, you already have a small list to start.

Got questions about email lists? Post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Why Going Viral Might Not Matter Anymore


People talk a lot about creating content that “goes viral.” There’s no one definition of what viral really means in terms of raw numbers, but typically something viral causes a huge traffic spike. For some blogs, that’s 10,000 hits. For others, it’s a million.

Regardless of traffic goals, I think some companies and content creators are putting too much focus on the goal of going viral. I would even argue that creating viral content doesn’t matter as much as it once did. Let’s explore viral content a bit with a few mini case studies.

Funneling the Traffic

One of the problems I see often with so-called viral content is that people can’t even tell you who created it. A good example? The petite lap giraffe commercials. You may still remember them from last year when these commercials were being promoted like crazy both online and through traditional television appearances.

This time last year, hundreds of thousands of people even signed up on their mock site to say, “I want a petite lap giraffe too!” It was a very cute idea.

But can you tell me the company being advertised in these commercials?

I would venture to guess that most people cannot. I know I couldn’t without looking it up. The answer is DirecTV. Now, maybe when these videos first created a craze more people could answer that question correctly, but to be honest, I’m not sure I would have been able to…and I loved those commercials.

My point is, going viral doesn’t matter if people don’t know or care who you are. Your viral content should funnel them to some sort of action – clicking through to other videos, subscribing to your mailing list, becoming a fan of your blog, buying a product. Spreading a single video or other piece of content is not enough if the action ends there – and with most viral content, that’s the case.

In other words, if you don’t see a sales spike (or subscriber spike if that’s your goal) along with your traffic spike, viral content doesn’t really matter.

Confusing the Audience

Often, the lack of sales or other action on the users’ parts is because viral content attacks the wrong market. In order to make something “go viral” you usually have to think outside the box. The content has to be funny, unique, original, emotional or somehow otherwise worth sharing. Being useful isn’t enough.”Viral” only happens when people need to share your content because they want to be the first to show their friends.

The problem is, most content that fits this bill gets away from your brand/blog’s goal or purpose, at least a bit.

Earlier this year, I had a call with a potential client who wanted me to produce content for his blog, with the aim of everything I did having super viral potential. Now, you all know as well as I do that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. So, I tried to get that across to the client, to tell him that I could focus on topics with the potential to be very popular, but I couldn’t guarantee that anything would go viral.

His response? “Add more cats. People love cats. That sh*t goes viral in a second.”

Erm. Okay, great. Only…his blog has nothing to do with cats. He went on to talk about how a funny cat video at least once or twice a month would be optimal, and while I agreed that this would certainly be popular if marketed correctly, I couldn’t seem to get through to him that it wouldn’t really help his blog or ultimately his business, which had to do with finance.

When you move away from your content too much for the sake of creating something that will go viral, what’s the point? People who view a cute cat video aren’t going to want to read a financial blog (most of the time at least). It’s too far of a leap. Now, maybe I can do some spin-off posts using that idea, like “What your pet can teach you about budgeting” or whatnot…but there has to be that tie-in. Otherwise, you’ll confuse anyone in your audience who does choose to check out the rest of your site. People who follow-up with the makers of viral content expect more of the same. If you don’t deliver, they don’t stick around.

Viral for All the Wrong Reasons

Viral content also doesn’t make sense if you don’t go viral “correctly” – and that’s hard to control. A good example – anyone want to guess what post Technorati crowned as the most popular (most linked) in 2011? It was a post from Netflix called “Explanation and Some Reflection” in which Netflix admitted their attempts to restructure the company were a mistake. Most bloggers would be ecstatic to have the most popular blog post of the year…but unfortunately, I’m willing to guess that most of the links back to that post were critical. It went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Now, I don’t think Netflix COE Reed Hastings wrote this post in order to drum up some traffic. It was damage control for the company. But what I do see a lot of content creators doing is publishing posts that are extremely controversial for the sake of controversy. They call out popular bloggers or experts in their field, trying to bait them into a reaction. They slam stuff everyone likes. They voice opinions they don’t believe in order to get people to click.

Be controversial…but be genuine too. If not, you’ll go viral for all the wrong reasons, and unfortunately, negativity toward a company or blog is something people remember. You didn’t remember who made petite lap giraffes popular, but I bet you remember which company’s CEO went on an infamous hunt in Africa and tweeted pictures of himself with dead animals.

Going viral isn’t always a good thing, no matter what kind of traffic spikes you see. Again, you need to focus on your end goals, whether that goal is to make sales, get subscribers, build a brand, or something else. If your viral content isn’t helping you achieve these goals, the traffic doesn’t matter.

It’s an ROI Game

I know people cringe when they have to talk about ROI, but that’s really the game here. Viral content isn’t something, in most cases, that you throw together. It’s usually stuff that takes a lot of work. So are you getting a return on investment for your work?

Traffic is not a return. That’s where a lot of people go wrong. Traffic is just the middle man on the way to the real return – your goal. That’s what you need to be measuring, not the crazy traffic spikes you’re seeing.

To give an example, let’s say I spend 10 hours creating a funny video for BlogWorld that goes viral. I use a special link code and determine that the 100,000 hits I got on the video translated into 100 tickets sales for our event. Now let’s say I instead write 10 posts that take me an hour each to write, and each gets about 5,000 hits and leads to 20 ticket sales (because the content is more relevant to the type of people willing to buy tickets than a funny video is). Those ten posts combined netted more ticket sales for BlogWorld. It was a better use of my time, even if the video traffic was nice and flashy.

Or course, it’s not always so cut and dry. Maybe the 100 video sales were people who had never heard of BlogWorld before, while most of the 200 post sales were people who were going to eventually buy tickets anyway. Or maybe some of the video traffic led to fans who weren’t ready to buy today, but who will consider future BlogWorld events.

The point is, study your stats beyond traffic. It’s find to hope your content goes viral, but it might not matter was much as you think. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race after all.

No, I Don’t Want to Sign Up for Your Mailing List (And Here’s Why)


I need more emails like I need a hole in the head. I recommend that every online content creator out there has a mailing list, but I actually sign up for very few of them personally. I think mailing lists are great, but some people could have more subscribers if they used their lists slightly differently. Here’s why I don’t sign up for your mailing list…and what you can do to change that:

1. You email me every post you write.

I think having your RSS feed available via email is a really great idea. Lots of people prefer reading posts that way. Personally, though, I use Twitter as my feed reader (find out how here) because emails get buried too quickly for me. When I sign up for a mailing list, I do so because I want emails from the blogger that I wouldn’t get otherwise – newsletters, announcements, discounts, etc. It’s okay to have an email RSS option (I recommend it), but make sure subscribers know what they’re getting when they sign up and, if possible, have two options – one for people who want special emails and one for people who want to receive your feed via email as well.

2. I can’t quickly find your sign-up box.

For many bloggers this isn’t a problem – their subscription form is located proudly on their sidebar, near the top of the page. However, occasionally, I find myself searching for a subscription box that doesn’t seem to exist – so I give up and go along my merry way. Later, I often find out the blogger does have a mailing list, but I had to go to a certain page or whatever to find out how to subscribe. The more time a person has to spend clicking around your site, the less likely it is they’ll actually sign up.

3. Your pop up punched me in the face.

I don’t mind pop up ads if they are done correctly. Three seconds after I get to your site is not correctly. At that point, I don’t know if I want to sign up or not. Give me a little time to read or watch your content first. Then, if you must, send me that pop up asking me to subscribe.

4. You offer me stuff I don’t want.

Offering free stuff is a great way to get people to sign up for your mailing list – but done incorrectly, it can also send people packing. For example, let’s say that I’m on your cat blog reading about my cat‘s weird behaviors, and I’m enjoying the content. You sign up form says, “Enter your email address to get a free ebook about litter box training.” Am I going to sign up? Nope. My cat is already litter box trained, thank god. The way you’ve promoted the sign up form just promotes the free gift, which people may or may not want, not your actual email like. Change the wording a bit to say, “Stay connected with emails from us and get a free litter box training ebook” or “Sign up to get a free litter box training ebook and more surprises straight to your inbox” and I’m much more likely to enter my email address. That way, you’re still hooking people who want the freebie, but you’re also making it clear that there are other benefits as well.

5. Your content just isn’t that compelling.

Of course, the number one reason I won’t sign up for your mailing list is that your blog’s content isn’t that great in the first place. Remember, every post you write could be the first post someone reads on your blog. Don’t be afraid to go back and delete content that isn’t up to par. We all have bad days, and not everything you do is going to be amazing, but if you write a real stinker, consider getting rid of it so people who come to your blog for the first time get the best impression possible. And of course, always work to improve your content. Don’t get complacent and think that what you’re putting out is good enough. We can all learn to be better!

Your turn – why don’t you sign up for mailing lists? Or why do you sign up on other sites?

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 5 Traffic Tips


During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until 2012 comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

When it comes to blogging, the numbers matter. Without traffic, you can’t build a brand. Without traffic, you can’t sell advertising. Without traffic, you can’t spread your message. Without traffic you can’t sell your products. Unfortunately, the “if you build it, they will come” model of blogging doesn’t really work. Great content is often buried in the bottomless void of the Internet, and even the best bloggers in the world occasionally write posts that are fantastic, but go relatively unnoticed. So the topic of traffic is relevant to all of us! Here are some awesome posts about this topic:

1. How to Drive Massive Traffic To Your Blog—With Less Effort by Amy Porterfield at AmyPorterfield.com

This is the last post in an entire series by Amy called “How to Create Bite-Sized Content Your Readers Will Devour and Share.” In this post, Amy talks about the need to find your own sweet spot when it comes to the effort you exert trying to get more traffic to your site. The answer is going to be different for each person, but the overall concept is that you don’t need to do everything. You just need to do what works for you. Writes Amy,

The good news is, you’re probably already doing a lot right. Really. You’re probably already doing at least 90% of what you need to do to hit your own sweet spot.

In fact, you might be doing too much.

Let’s look at what you HATE doing. Some people hate, hate, hate Twitter. If you hate Twitter, maybe you’re doing too much there—or maybe you’re wasting your time. Often, when we don’t love something, we don’t do it very well. The same goes for Facebook, your blog, and any other social media you do.

Amy created the 4-week video training program The Simple Social Media Formula: Social Media on Your Terms and is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. You can find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @amyporterfield.


2. Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does! by Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing

This post from Danny covers everything you need to know about building your traffic, using the idea that you don’t need to use the “slow and steady” strategy, but you do need to do what’s right for your current level of success. That’s why what’s working for someone with a million hits a day probably won’t work for you. You need to get to that level first! From the post:

No, this isn’t a post about how you should be patient and take things slow and steady, because eventually you’ll win the race.

(As Sonia Simone said in a recent radio interview, “slow but steady works, but we’ve all had the experience of being beaten to the finish line by a jack rabbit with ADD!”)

The point of this post is that the fastest way to grow is by using the strategy that fits with your current stage of growth. The more appropriate your strategy is to your stage of growth, the faster you’ll outgrow it, and be ready for the next one!

You can find Danny on Twitter @DannyIny. He’s also the co-author of Engagement from Scratch! and founder of Bowl of Goals.


3. 49 promo ideas. simple, grand + the tried n’ true. by Danielle LaPorte at White Hot Truth

I love the ideas for promotion that Danielle offers in this post. Some of them are old standbys that everyone tells us to do to drive traffic. Others are pretty unique ideas that I haven’t heard anywhere else. All of them are fantastic! Go through the whole list or pick and choose what makes sense to you.  Whether you’re launching a new business or trying to build traffic to a site you already run, these are great ideas. Here are a few examples of the tips Danielle gives:

15. Don’t be shy about all the awards and accolades you’ve earned—create a special section on your site’s About page just for that.
16. Have ongoing giveaways on your site to engage customers, generate content, and build up subscriber base. e.g. “Answer Today’s Q&A and you’ll be entered to win the Awesome Gift of the Month.” Get cool people to donate the Awesome Gift (or Service) of the Month and they’ll help with the buzz.
17. Host a Story, Poetry or Photo contest that’s related to your industry. You could take the best submissions and turn them into an e-book, or you could partner with a print magazine and the winner would get published.

You can find Danielle on Twitter @daniellelaporte. She’s the creator of the Spark Kit and Your Big Beautiful Book Plan and has a number of free downloads available for readers.


4. Are You Taking Advantages of Recurring Posts? by Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income

What are you “known for”? What do readers enjoy looking forward to reading on your site? Hopefully, every post your write keeps them coming back for more, but doing a recurring series makes a lot of sense. Traffic isn’t just about finding new eyeballs. It’s also about keeping current readers coming back to your site more often. In this post, Pat talks about how doing a recurring series can boost your traffic. He writes,

Are you giving your audience anything specific and regular to look forward to?In other words, is there some type of post that you publish consistently over and over again that becomes a true unique element to your brand?

Pat’s free ebook guide is available on his blog’s sidebar. You can also like Smart Passive Income on Facebook and follow Pat on Twitter @patflynn.


5. How to Improve Google Rankings for Your Older Posts in 4 Easy Steps by Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe

Oh, Google. You are the bringer of traffic, but the bane of my existence. I couldn’t write a post about traffic and not include any links to information on boosting your search engine rankings. In this post, Ana writes about the step by step process to actually put your old post to good use. You’ve probably spent hundreds or even thousands of hours writing those old posts, so you deserve to get a little traffic from them! Just a few small changes can help make good (but old) content more visible on search engines. Writes Ana,

Blogging is never a “publish and forget it” sort of deal.You publish a post, you answer comments, you build links to it in hopes of ranking it high in search engines so that you can start getting organic traffic on autopilot.

Then comes the day of publishing a new post – for many of us, it’s the following day.

And what happens to the previous post? Previous 10, 20 posts? That’s right – who has the time?

If you make the time for your old content, you can see great results! After checking out this post, you can find Ana on Twitter @AnaTrafficCafe and add Ana to your Google+ circles. She’s the author of 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination, which is available for free on her sidebar.

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

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 (this post)
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (traffic), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

How PetFlow Cornered the Pet Food Industry


You may not have heard of PetFlow.com yet, but if you have a pet, I’m sure you could use their service. How many times have you hated to run out and have to lug home a 30 pound bag of dog food? If you answered yes, then you might as well already be a customer of PetFlow, as they offering a full pet food delivery service. What’s even more important than their service, is how they got to where they are today and already doing over a million a month in business, in just a little over a year of going live.

Let’s breakdown the success of PetFlow and what you can learn from their company.

The Pet Industry

Step 1, find a niche that works. Outside of your family and kids, if you have a pet, they are your life. More people are spending money on buying food, toys and medical needs for their pet than even themselves! Here’s a mind blowing stat for you. While the rest of the world’s economy is in decline, the pet food industry is rocking. In 1994, over $17 billion was generated from the pet food industry, jump forward to 2011 and we are not seeing a $50 billion in annual spending. How’s that for a massive increase in spending within a niche that just doesn’t seem to stop growing.

A Little Internet Marketing Background Never Hurt

Step 2, stick with what you know. Before you start ripping your hair our and thinking of how great the pet food delivery concept is, and that it’s something you should have started, you also need to know that PetFlow was started by two extremely smart and talented guys, Alex Zhardanovsky and Joe Speiser. Since we are all in the internet marketing space, the names might already ring a bell, they were the guys who started Azoogle, which then was changed to EpicAdvertising. Using proceeds from their 40% sale of Azoogle, they put forth the idea to create PetFlow, and then put their marketing genius and connections to work. It wasn’t easy to convince the dog food brands to jump aboard a pet food delivery service, as many have failed in the past, but the guys at PetFlow were able to do it, and are now killing it in the pet food industry.

Incredible Ad Campaigns & Marketing

Step 3, what worked for one campaign, might work for another. As mentioned, the guys who started PetFlow have a vast background in internet marketing, as well as a decent amount of advertising dollars to promote the company. Using both of these tactics, the company can get right in the customers face and make them almost have to take advantage of pet food delivery right to their home. From online pet food coupons, offline flyers, over 200,000 fans on their Facebook Fan Page and search/banner marketing that would make any marketer jealous, PetFlow is top dog when it comes to advertising in the pet industry.

Cute Puppies and Kittens as Your Spokesperson!

Step 4, get the customers attention. What are some of the best ways that brands in the pet industry are selling their products, through the use of cute puppies, kittens and animals of course! Using this same concept, PetFlow has been able to incentive their ad campaigns and service to get right in the face of their customers. If you are visiting a web site or looking through a handful of flyers, how you are not going to stop and look at the cute animals that are begging for your attention. A true marketing tactic that seems so pure and innocent, yet works so well.

There is a lot we can learn from PetFlow, as well as a service nearly all pet owners can use. The principles mentioned above can be applied to any business model. Find and create a service that is needed, then build it and market around the customer. Through the use of amazing ad copy, online coupons and relating to the customer with real pets and animals, PetFlow has found success that will last them for many years to come.

Why Aren’t Email Lists Extinct in the Age of Social Media?


Session Title: List Building for Bloggers
Speakers: Phil Hollows
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 3:45PM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A07

So you’ve started your blog. You’re on Facebook and perhaps even have a Twitter account. You’re rocking this whole social media thing; why on earth should you bother with email? It’s so, well, twentieth-century isn’t it? Isn’t email extinct, dead and gone??? Why bother offering email subscriptions at all? ??Because you can’t afford not to. ??Here’s why:

•    Email subscriptions are WAY more popular than RSS.
•    Email subscribers are your biggest fans.
•    Email is everywhere.
•    Email is accessible.
•    Email is the most effective subscription mechanism available.
•    Adding email subscriptions to your blog is fast and easy.
•    Managing email subscriptions won’t take up your time.

You’ll grow your readership, build your community and monetize more effectively by combining your blog with email. It’s that simple.

Email Subscriptions are Very, VERY Popular
The facts are that email works: people want it. Email subscriptions – i.e. your newsletter or mailing list – are familiar to the vast majority of people online. They’re comfortable with the concept. When FeedBlitz partnered with FeedBurner back in 2005 to deliver their email services for them, email subscriptions were FeedBurner’s most requested feature.

Moreover, the evidence shows that email subscriptions are significantly more popular than their most frequently cited social media equivalent, RSS feeds.

Need some data? HubSpot ran a survey in 2009 and found that email subscription rates varied by audience, but could be as much as 12 times (not 12 percent, 12 times) more popular than RSS. See the article here.

??Darren Rowse, (@ProBlogger), revealed at a session Blog World 2010 that ~75% of his subscribers were email-based; that’s three times the number of ordinary RSS subscribers.??Based on these data points, if you don’t offer email subscriptions you’re potentially missing three to ten times your potential subscriber base. ??Your mileage will vary, but clearly the opportunities lost to connect are significant. Can you really afford not to grow your subscriber base that much with a simple step? ??Put another way, if someone told you that you could boost your subscriber count four-fold or ten-fold with five minutes’ work, wouldn’t you leap at that opportunity? That’s what having email subscriptions on your blog can deliver over time.

Email is ten times more impactful and responsive than just about any form of media ever developed.
~ Seth Godin

Why is that?

These days it’s work – it takes commitment – to subscribe to a properly run mailing list, what with CAPTCHAs and dual opt-in. The email subscribers on your list have made this commitment to you, and they are inviting you to barge right in and occupy their inbox (you need to do this respectfully, of course, but that’s for a later chapter).

Many people follow hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, Twitter accounts; all those teeny-weeny, unbranded, untracked, undifferentiated, easy to miss messages simply fly by. Listen to how Jay Baer (@JayBaer) questions the current vogue of trumpeting the number of Facebook fans and compares the trend to email subscriber valuation:

“The psychology of Facebook “likers” is similar to email newsletter subscribers … However, in comparison to your Facebook fans, your email subscribers usually provide far more important information to your business when they subscribe. It takes a lot more than one click to subscribe to an email list.”
~ Jay Baer

Compare and contrast. Your email to a subscriber is in their inbox, by invitation. Fully branded. Content rich. Tracked. Customized. Personalized.

A Tweet? A Like? Not so much.

Adding Email Subscriptions to your Blog is Fast, Easy and Won’t Add to your Workload

Here’s the really good news. Setting up email subscriptions for your blog won’t take very long and, if done right, won’t need much work from you once you’re up and running. In fact, if you’re spending more than five minutes a day on your email list once you have it going successfully, I’d say that something is very wrong. There are several options you can choose from, such as using capabilities that might come with your blogging service, using your own email systems, all the way through to external service providers, like FeedBlitz, who can manage this for you. Some are free, some premium, and all have different features, pricing approaches and so forth. The key is to make a start. You can always export email subscribers for transfer later on if you want to switch vendors. But start.

You can’t afford not to.

Check out the “List Building for Bloggers” session at BlogWorld NY on May 25th!

Phil Hollows, is the Founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, the premium FeedBurner alternative, and author of the book List Building for Bloggers.

Phil will be giving the session at BlogWorld NYC on “List Building for Bloggers” on how to start, grow and make the most of your blog’s email marketing list. If you’re concerned that you’re not making the most of your blog’s most precious resource – your email subscribers – attend the session to learn proven email strategies that build your audience, increase engagement and grow your income.

Could Your Blog Survive Without Facebook and Twitter?


Earlier today on Twitter, Mike Stenger posted a link to an infographic on Soshable about what life would be like without Facebook. With 600 million users (as of Jan. 2011) who average 130 friends each and create an average of 90 pieces of new content (pictures, status updates, notes, etc., suffice to say that Facebook plays a significant role in our lives. And with 70% of local businesses using pages to connect with fans, everyone is beginning the realize the power of this platform. If it was suddenly taken away, it would be pretty jarring.

Twitter might be lingering behind Facebook, but I imagine that a life without it would be just as jarring. At least, it would be for me!

Today, I have a little challenge for you – think about what your blogging world would be like if Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. Of course, they do exist, but I think sometimes we use them as crutches. We rely on people to share our links via Facebook and Twitter, so we don’t do much other promotional work. We don’t have to.

But just because you don’t have to doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. You could be missing out on thousands of readers by not promoting your blog anywhere but Facebook and Twitter.

It’s a little exercise to stretch your blogging muscles – think about some of the well-known and creative ways you could promote your blog (and individual posts) to find readers who might miss what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter might be your old standbys, but if you mix in some other techniques now and then, you can reach out to completely new readers – and that should be an exciting prospect to any blogger.

I’ll start by listing off some non-Facebook/Twitter ways to promote your posts. I hope you’ll add to it by leaving a comment at the end!

  1. Other General Social Networks (like LinkedIn)
  2. Niche-Specific Social Networks
  3. Social Bookmarking (StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, etc.)
  4. Emailing Your List
  5. Guest Posts on Blogs in your Niche (check out My Blog Guest)
  6. Comments on Other Blogs (especially those using CommentLuv)
  7. Guest-Hosting Podcasts
  8. Being an Expert Source (try HARO)
  9. Do Interviews (like Meet the Blogger)
  10. Hosting Webinars or Live Chats via Ustream
  11. Submitting Articles to Directories
  12. Include Links in your Signature on Forums
  13. Install a “Related Post” Plugin on your Blog
  14. Link to Old Posts within New Posts
  15. Include a Link in your Email Signature
  16. Buy Advertising
  17. Write a Press Release (if relevant to your post)
  18. Pitch your Story to Mainstream Media
  19. Create a Free WordPress Theme with Your Link in the Footer
  20. List your Blog in Blog and RSS Directories (like Technorati)
  21. Participate in Blog Carnivals (like Brilliant Bloggers)
  22. Email Friends Who Might Be Interested
  23. Upload Pictures on Flickr and Other Stock Photo Sites
  24. Upload a Video on YouTube and Othe Video Sites
  25. Attend Conferences like BlogWorld

Your turn – what are some non-Facebook/Twitter ways you promote your blog and your individual posts? Leave a comment below!

7 Reasons Why Why Bloggers Should Live Blog


… by Marcie Hill

Bloggers are quickly gaining credibility as news creators and distributors. This is due to the multitude of topics shared, the consistency of postings as well as the different media formats used to relay stories. You can easily go above and beyond traditional news sources because of your freedom and flexibility to create. Since you are already sharing information to a targeted audience, why not consider adding live blogging to your repertoire?

Marcie Hill Live blogging is real-time reporting. Unlike traditional blogging, you can share your story as events unfold and engage your audience in real-time. Still not convinced? Following are seven reasons why you should live blog.

  1. Share your story in real-time
    Live blogging allows you to provide details of events and happenings as they occur. You will also have the opportunity to relay conversations you are having with people onsite. This will not only enhance your story, it will boost your credibility as a news source.

  2. Immediate engagement with online audience
    With traditional blogging, you write now and allow for comments later. With live blogging, you and the readers can connect during the live blogging session. You can ask questions, answer questions, get feedback and even poll them depending on the event and software used.

  3. Multimedia Skills
    If you don’t have multimedia skills, you will definitely get them live blogging. You can immediately add images, videos and audio files to your live blog in progress, thus diversifying your content and skill set.

  4. Get paid.
    There are three main ways you can get paid to live blog. First, you charge for live blogging services. Second, you use the content for stories to submit to paying publications after the live blog. Third, make the live blog content exclusive so people will have to pay to view it.

  5. Additional blog content.
    The content you are live blogging may be relevant to the topics on your blog. Just summarize it and make it a post. If the content isn’t relevant, you may twist the subject a bit to fit your blog. Additionally, it may serve as a guest post.

  6. Build relationships.
    With live blogging, you have to appeal to two audiences – onsite and online. This leaves room for lots of relationship building. These people may become followers of your blog, future clients or both.

  7. More exposure to events, knowledge and people.
    Blogging opens doors to a world of opportunities. You can live blog the topics beyond those on your site. Venture into other industries that interest you. Try different events. With each new experience will come even more chances to take your blog to new heights.

Above are just a few reasons why bloggers should consider live blogging. You will not only expand your blogging knowledge, you will diversify your content and connect with your audience in real-time.

Marcie Hill, founder and President of The Write Design Company, is an entrepreneur, published journalist and professional blogger. She is also the author of The ABCs of Live Blogging: Quick Tips for Live Blogging Success. Follow her on Twitter @thewritedesign

Writing and Distributing the ‘Social Media Release’


In researching press releases this morning I stumbled on the term ‘Social Media Release’ – something I’d never heard before but have definitely seen.

What is a Social Media Release:
It’s a press release that further takes advantage of social media – including links and multimedia elements to a traditional news press release. This makes it easier for journalists, bloggers, and readers to further explore the press release and easily find more information. The concept originated from Tom Foremski’s 2006 post, Die Press Release, Die Die Die. He called the traditional press release useless and challenged the PR industry to rethink its strategies.

Why A Social Media Release?
You use these for the same reasons as a traditional press release – to announce news and get attention for your business, website, or blog.

What’s the Difference Between a Social Media Release and a Traditional Press Release:

  • You will use links within your text to further direct your reader to areas of your website.
  • You will use bullet points lists (a clearer way to itemize content online, but something not common to the traditional press release).
  • You will use keyword optimization and a clear SEO rich title.
  • You will include your social media links as well as links to any social media bookmarking sites.
  • You will embed videos or other multimedia links.

How do You Distribute a Social Media Release?
Many people distribute them just as they would a traditional press release service online. If you do this, Serena Ehrlich of ZDNet suggests you include the following information in the release, right before the About Us section:

  • Downloadable, print quality photos available Here (and link to your Photobucket or Company Flickr account with logos and photos)
  • Videos available Here (and link to your Company Youtube page with training videos, interviews, etc)
  • Supporting materials and product specs available Here (and link to your page of document hosting).

Another option is to create your own page or blog post with your release, and encourage others to repost it or to contact you further. Or use a website like PitchEngine that encourages pitches over press releases!

For more information on Social Media Releases:

Learn About NMX


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