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BlogWorld 2010

Engaging Today’s Homebuyers Where They Live: Online


… by Matt Gentile, Director of Public Relations and Social Media, Century 21 Real Estate LLC

In today’s rapidly changing marketplace, connecting with consumers where they already are — social and mobile platforms — is essential to brand marketing. It’s not just about understanding what consumers want; it’s about listening and delivering what they want through the devices and channels they’re using. This is certainly true for Century 21 as we look to reach out to the new generation of homebuyers.

In 2010, the largest share of homebuyers was between the ages of 25 and 34, and these consumers use digital and social media in a big way. This age group incorporates technology into their everyday lives and is actively using it to alter the way they search for and purchase real estate. We recognized with these overwhelming social activity numbers worldwide, we needed to begin shifting our advertising, customer service and customer outreach efforts to a medium where our target market is already engaged.

We have created branded Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. We’ve begun to experiment with location based services with our smart phone app and launched the @C21-Home Matters Blog. We are continuing to evolve our strategy for reaching today’s consumer and would love to hear your feedback. What can we do to better serve you, our customer?

Recently, we became the first brand to buy real estate in ngmoco’s We City, a leading mobile game. In-game partnerships are just one more avenue we’re using to interact with the growing segment of consumers who are mobile, social, and intent on acquiring property —virtually and in real life.

On Facebook we’ve built a community that shares tips, advice and photos about the real estate search, decorating your new home and more. We’ve also launched a campaign in support of Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count Campaign, where each time a person “Likes” the Century 21 Facebook page, we donate $5 to Easter Seals.

We’re using Twitter to talk with homebuyers and agents about their experiences, as well as to share articles, breaking news and information about the recovery of the housing market. Twitter is a perfect platform for disseminating real-time news.

On our blog, @C21-Home Matters, we share information for buyers and sellers as well as company information for our agents. We post photos and videos from company events, expert tips and host a “Caption This Photo” contest with images of unique homes.

Like any brand in the social media space, we are consistently learning and adjusting our efforts to help more customers, generate more leads and close more sales. The one thing we know to be certain is that tomorrow’s media environment will be radically different than it is today. Where ever homebuyers set up shop, we’ll be there providing the best resource in real estate.

Century 21 Real Estate LLC is the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, providing comprehensive training, management, administrative and marketing support for the CENTURY 21® System. The System is comprised of approximately 8,000 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices and 121,000 agents in 73 countries and territories worldwide.

CENTURY 21 Real Estate is recognized as a leader in e-marketing and has received numerous awards.

The CENTURY 21 System is actively increasing its presence globally, with international operations throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Contact us to learn more about bringing the most recognized brand in real estate to select markets in the U.S. or countries and territories abroad! For more information visit our blog,@C21-Home Matters or follow us on Twitter.

The Importance of Filling Out Your BlogWorld Survey


If you attended BlogWorld ’10, you probably received a survey in your in box this week. This survey is asking some general questions about what you thought about the event, your likes and dislikes, and general overall experience.

In the next few weeks, we’re also going to be sending out surveys for individual sessions you attended. Though you might be inclined to ignore the survey, especially during this busy time, I’d like to encourage you to take five minutes to fill out the form. I promise, it won’t take long.

  • The survey tells us what we’re doing right. We want to continue to do stuff right so you’ll continue to come to Blogorld.
  • The survey tells us what we’re doing wrong. We want to know what came off as a negative experience so we can correct it and make BlogWorld ’11 even better.
  • The survey offers a chance for you to share your opinions, thoughts and ideas. We want to tap your brains ans you’re the most creative, resourceful and influential people in the world.

Your feedback is incredibly valuable and we would love to hear from as many attendees as possible. We won’t share or sell any information and if you allow us to contact you for more feedback, all your details will be kept confidential.

BlogWorld is the top social media event because of you. Without you, there would be no us and we take that responsibility seriously. Please fill out this survey and subsequent surveys about speakers and sessions. We’re so grateful for your feedback.

BlogWorld ’10: More Women Than Ever


2010 was BlogWorld’s Year of the Woman. We worked hard to make sure we had the best possible content for our conference and almost 50% of our speakers were women. You see, though our most important goal was to ensure you had the best educational experience possible, we were also under pressure to make sure women were being heard. Even without a goal of 50% we managed to have almost that many women speaking. That we had so many amazing woman speakers must mean there are more strong, influential women in social media than ever.

We’re so proud.

Before BlogWorld ’10 we heard from women who were afraid BlogWorld wasn’t a very “woman friendly” event. We took issue to this. We’re very “woman friendly.” In fact, almost everyone working for BlogWorld are women.

The problem was that many women weren’t choosing to attend. Some, with limited budgets to only choose one or two conferences a year, were going to BlogHer a very woman friendly event, or SXSW a bigger event. However, it seemed to me for a while that if there were fewer woman coming to BlogWorld it was because there were fewer women in social media.

Still, we work hard to make sure women know they’re wanted and welcome at BlogWorld.

2010 showed amazing growth for our event. Not only did more people come, but many more women were in attendance. In 2009, 35% of our attendees were women. In 2010, women made up 41% of those in attendance. Obviously there are still fewer women than men, but you can’t deny we’re closing the gap.

Again, our goal is to bring together folks from the blogging and social media communities regardless of gender, race, creed or preference. That we have such a diverse group of attendees shows us that we accomplished what we set out for. BlogWorld ’10 had more women than ever.

Let’s see if we can’t reach 50% at BlogWorld ’11!

Image via John Hewitt

Farnoosh Brock on Turning BlogWorld Experiences into a Book


Farnoosh Brock from Prolific Living is someone who first entered my radar right before BlogWorld, when she stopped by my own blog, After Graduation, and left a comment. She was one of the roughly ten million awesome bloggers I didn’t get to meet in Vegas, unfortunately, but following the event I kept seeing her pop up on Twitter and on other websites. One of the things I noticed about her right away was that she was truly embracing the warm fuzzy feelings that we all had after the event. She was writing a lot about BlogWorld on Prolific Living, as well as starting to put the advice she received into effect.

She didn’t stop there. Farnoosh took it a step farther and released a free ebook about her experiences at BlogWorld and the take away messages she’s now using to make her blog even better. I was lucky enough to snag a small piece of Farnoosh’s time to ask some questions about her BlogWorld trip, the book she created, and what she’s doing now that the event is over.

Allison: What initially inspired you to attend BlogWorld? How was your experience there difference from what you thought it would be?

Farnoosh: Honestly, my husband kept insisting that I must go to Blogoplooza, our nickname for the fabulous BlogWorld expo conference. I was nervous, hesitant and tempted. He wouldn’t drop it. You see, I didn’t consider myself ready as a blogger to attend the event. Then I realized a few of my blogging friends were going to attend and the thought of meeting these people in person excited me more than enough. These are people I have come to know so intimately through our blogs and people with whom I have formed amazing friendships. One look at the BlogWorld Expo conference page, the exciting sessions, the keynotes and the discounts for early registration, I knew I had to be there.

The experience was above and beyond my expectations. Even though I was a bit lost and a lot overwhelmed, I found the networking and putting faces to names exhilarating. I met incredible people, felt amazing energy of this gathering, and I now wholeheartedly believe it is necessary to, at least once, meet and touch the people who impact our lives daily in blogosphere.

Allison: What inspired you to write about your BlogWorld experiences on your blog and eventually turn those experiences into an ebook?

Farnoosh: I had to capture and bottle up the flowing inspiration from some of the keynotes – these things happen few times in a lifetime – and the empowering experience of connecting in person with some of my closest and dearest friends. I knew that many other bloggers, some of whom I knew and was hoping to meet, were not fortunate enough to be at BlogWorld. I wanted to take home a gift for them. I wanted to bring Blogworld to them. The ebook idea came from the readers; I heard their request to have all the BlogWorld series in one single story and acted on it! All my readers ever have to do is ask. I had to deliver and since this was to be my first ebook, I poured my heart and soul into it, I pulled the story together and developed it in PDF and the epub version (for all eReaders and most Smart phones). I offer it as a completely free gift on my site. My sincere hope is to bring more bloggers together at BlogWorld 2011.

Allison: Since BlogWorld has ended, what are some of the most rewarding things that have happened to you or that you’ve been inspired to do because of the event?

Farnoosh: Oh BlogWorld ended but my inspiration has been sky high and my motivation has been building higher and stronger every day. I turned a corner at BlogWorld during the keynote with the beloved trio, Brian Clark, Sonia Simone and Darren Rowse. That was the day I decided to take my blog super seriously – but not myself so much! 😉 – so I can spread my message to more people, I decided to implement everything I learned with patience, I decided to learn even more about my readers, and I decided to put fear and hesitation aside so I can bring my ideas to life. The launch of the ebook was extremely exciting; the blogging community loved it. Then I started to see multiple mentions of my site on reputable blogs, I get invited to participate in projects and give interviews, my writing desire has been unleashed, my readership is growing, working endless hours on the blog does not even phase me, my ideas about what to offer next to my readers has tripled and my relationships from BlogWorld are still blossoming. And these are just to name a few.

If you loved BlogWorld as much as Farnoosh and I did, you should definitely grab a copy of her BlogWorld 2010 ebook, and even consider putting together one of your own based on your personal experiences at the event.

Thanks, Farnoosh, for such amazing support of BlogWorld!

BlogWorld Was Featured on ABC’s Good Morning America


The BlogWorld Team is happy to announce some exciting news! This morning, Friday November 19th, BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010 was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America in a segment with Workplace Correspondent Tory Johnson.

Did you miss it? No worries, you can catch the video on ABC’s website and read Tory’s article here.

Tory visited BlogWorld at Mandalay Bay Convention Center to learn firsthand about the buzz surrounding the event. She spoke with dozens of bloggers, new media experts, and exhibitors about how blogging and social media plays a role in their lives and today’s world. She also explored the topic of monetization, gathering advice and information on the latest technologies from exhibitors at the event.

Her steps include:

  1. Select a topic you’re passionate about. Make sure you have a lot to say.
  2. Create a promotional plan. Figure out how you’ll get readers.
  3. Build the blog.
  4. Figure out how to make money.
  5. Take it offline — bring it to life.

Want to Make More Money as a Blogger? Step One: Stop Blogging.


One of the presentations that I made a point to attend while at BlogWorld Expo 2010 was “Treating Your Blog Like a Business” with David Risley, Lisa Morosky, and Nathan Hangen (and moderated by Jordan Cooper). This topic is especially important in my opinion and where a lot of bloggers seem to fall short. You can blog and blog and blog until your fingers are bloody little stubs and not see a dime from it. If your business model is “blog as much as possible,” you’re not going to be able to afford groceries. Why? Because you’re running a blog, not a business.

“You can’t feed yourself on comments and retweets.” – Nathan Hangen

As these four made abundantly clear at their panel, step one of making more money from you blog is to stop blogging.

Ok, so I’m not suggesting that you never write another post – I don’t think that’s what they meant. However, have you ever noticed that the most successful bloggers don’t post more than once or twice a week? Sure, some have built empires on frequent updating, but I think it’s been more than proven that you don’t need to blog your butt off to have an audience. It’s about quality over quantity.

You need to get away from blogging as a business model and instead think of your blog as just a part of the package. If you blog, you can build a community, but if you have no call to action, does it really matter? Not if you’re trying to pay your rent this way.

So what’s your call to action?

  • Support my sponsors
  • Buy my product
  • Join my private membership community
  • Buy stuff through my affiliate links
  • Sign up for my mailing list

Or maybe a combination of the above…or something else entirely. The point is this: if your blog is just a blog, not a marketing tool, I’m not sure how you expect to make money. Great, free content is just the first step to making this a viable business. There’s nothing wrong with blogging for the love of writing, blogging to get your ideas heard, etc…but if you want to make money with your blog, realize there’s a lot you need to do beyond writing great posts to make that possible.

Thanks to Jordan, Nathan, Lisa, and David for a great BlogWorld session!

Getting Your Blog Noticed by the Pros


During BlogWorld 2010, travel PR professionals John Forest Ales and Terri Maruca sat down with moderator Stafford Kendall to talk about how to get noticed by the travel pros. While I didn’t get to attend this session live, I’m loving my virtual BlogWorld ticket right now because in listening to the panel, this is relevant for bloggers from every niche who are interested in working with companies to do reviews.

Getting noticed by professionals, whether it be the PR company for a hotel that can give you free accommodations or a publisher that can send you a free book relevant to your blog, comes down to one thing: Build a relationship so you both give and take.

It's not about what they can give you - it's about what you can give them!

You might have a million readers a month, but a lot of bloggers are popular. Unless you have a relationship with a company, the PR person you contact may not know who you are. Or, they might know who you are, but 99% of the time, a PR rep can’t give you free stuff to review. They have to take your request and go through multiple levels to get it approved. A busy restaurant owner probably doesn’t have time to read blogs. They have no idea that you’re a respected expert within your community…yet. If you start to build a relationship, it doesn’t matter if you have ten readers or ten million readers – if you connect to the company, you can show them what you can do for them in terms of promoting their brand. Sometimes, having a small dedicated group of fans looking for something extremely specific is just as good for a company as having a larger community.

When building a relationship, something that is super important is considering what is right for your blog, not just what you can get for free. John and Terri noted that bloggers can sometimes come off as demanding and unprofessional, and often it’s hard to see through the noise of people who don’t actually care about the brand, but rather just want something for free. Let me tell you a bit about my own experiences with doing promotion and reviews while at BlogWorld.

I knew I would be in Las Vegas a day before most people, so I decided to contact some PR agencies with the hopes of doing a few restaurant reviews here on the BlogWorld blog. My thought process was that by highlighting a few places to eat, more BlogWorld attendees would go to those places specifically. The perk for me was getting to eat at some awesome restaurants. The perk for the restaurants was reaching a few thousand people in town for the weekend. Ultimately, I worked with Kirvin Doak Communications to review Border Grill for lunch, Tender for dinner, and Mix for drinks at night. Some of that worked. Some of that didn’t work. All of it was about audience.

First, let me tell you want did work – Border Grill. The food and drinks at all three locations was fabulous, and Border Grill was no exception. But it wasn’t just about my good experience that made this work for a BlogWorld review. Other things that came into play that made this an awesome option:

  • Border Grill was right by the conference location, so most people had to walk past it on their way back to their room. Convenience is the name of the game. They had been seeing it every day and possibly wondering about it, so a review solidified for them the need to stop in and check it out. Tender and Mix were both more out of the way, so if readers wanted to take my recommendation, they had to do a little hunting.
  • The price was right. Bloggers have McDonald’s budgets, so while Border Grill might be a justifiable price for a professional,at $20 – $30 minimum for a meal, this is a splurge for the average BlogWorld reader.  Tender and Mix, while being adequately priced for the quality and service, were just not possible for many people. Had my food not been comped, I would not have been able to afford either of these locations, and I know a lot of other bloggers were in the same boat.
  • Border Grill fit a range of readers’ needs. The atmosphere made it comfortable for readers wearing jeans or readers wearing suits – which was important, considering that some groups had both types of people. The food was also palatable to a wide range of people. It was Mexican, but not in a Taco Bell type of way. I felt comfortable recommending it to everyone I met, without a disclaimer of any kind.

While at BlogWorld, I know that my personal recommendation of Border Grill was responsible for at least three parties of 6+ people eating there or ordering food there, and since BlogWorld, I’ve gotten a few emails from people who traveled to Las Vegas for other conferences but remembered my review and checked out the restaurant. For every person who tells me they ate there after reading my review, there are probably ten people who also did, but just didn’t let me know. Did the restaurant get their money out of offering me a meal there? Absolutely. Tender and Mix? Probably not so much, unfortunately.

Border Grill met the readers’ needs here at BlogWorld extremely well in terms of convenience, price, and range. Again, this extends to non-travel reviewing as well. Will your readers ultimately take action due to your review? Is the product convenient for them? Is the price right? Does it meet the needs of a range of your readers, not just a small fraction of them?

That’s how you get the pros to work with you. Should I review restaurants again next year for BlogWorld, my approach will be different. No matter how much I want a free meal at Tender, it just isn’t a good option for BlogWorld readers. A less expensive burger joint makes more sense. And showing that you’ve done that kind of thinking about your request is what makes a PR rep want to work with you. You’ve not just in it for free stuff. You actually want to promote what they’re doing. Free stuff is just a perk.

When you approach PR companies with any kin of review request, work to build a relationship. Don’t ask what they can do for you. Ask what you can do for them. Be receptive to their ideas, but be prepared with a proposal of your own – and one that has the ultimate potential to show them the biggest return on investment possible for the company. If you deliver for a company, they’ll want to work with you again and again, which is awesome not just for you, but also for your readers.

Thanks to John, Terri, and Stafford for a great panel!

BlogWorld Virtual Conference: 50% Off Sale


If you wanted to attend BlogWorld but it was either not the right time or not the right price, we have a solution. As you may be aware, we’re offering a virtual conference featuring recordings from BlogWorld ’10 and our Social Media Business Summit, plus slides for most sessions. Also included is membership into our online community where you’ll chat with other bloggers and social media professionals, experts such as Chris Garrett and the BlogWorld team.

When you subscribe, you have access to our community and the virtual conference for a whole year so you can listen in at your leisure. This is important content. This year’s speakers included Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Brian Solis, Maggie Fox, Nathalie Lussier, Andy Hayes, John Hewitt, Brandon Eley, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, Liz Strauss, Terry Starbucker, Becky McCray, Sheila Scarborough, Leo Babauta,  and so many more experts in their field.

For the next week we’re offering a 50% discount for anyone wishing to subscribe to our virtual conference and private membership community. If you act right away, you can receive 24/7 access to all this good stuff at half the price.

Intrigued? Sound good? Check out the Virtual Conference site for more details.

Are You Actively Trying to Make Your Blog Suck Less?


At BlogWorld 2010, Scott Hanselman spoke about 32 Ways to Make Your Blog Suck Less. It was a presentation I had missed at the actual event – so thank god for my virtual pass, because this was one of the most entertaining sessions I’ve seen thus far. No smoke blowin’ – I actually laughed out loud at multiple points during the slideshow. Oh, and I learned a few things too.

But the biggest take-away message from this presentation, for me, wasn’t any of the (really good) tips Scott made about sucking less as a blogger. It was simply about the fact that I got half-way through before I actually grabbed a pen and started jotting down some notes for myself.

Let’s face it – bloggers have a tendency to say, “that’s an awesome idea that I need to implement on my blog…later.” We want to be better bloggers, but we get so caught up in day-to-day tasks that we don’t make time to actually use the tips we learn. These could be tips from BlogWorld, but it also applies to tips we read about on our favorite blogs-about-blogs, tips readers give us in comments or via email, or even tips that are mentioned on Twitter.

Let me ask you this: In the past seven days, how have you made your blog better?

If you answer is, “Well, Alli, I wrote some new content.” That isn’t good enough.

My challenge to you is this: Every week, do one thing to make your blog suck less that you’ve been putting off. Maybe that means making a mobile version of your site. Maybe that means getting a better comment system. It could be something small, like adding a twitter button to your sidebar. It could be something big, like launching a product. But every single week do something.

And when you’re reading online or watching Scott’s presentation or whatever and see something that makes you think, “Man, I should really do that on my own blog,” write it down. Start a list of things that you need to do to make your blog suck less. I bet there are way more than 32. One by one, cross them off the list. Like I said, doing even one per week is forward progress. If you have time for more, awesome.

It’s about being active to reach your goals. I think we all get complacent at times, allowing “I’ve been busy” to become an excuse for laziness. But this is your career. If you want to make money as a blogger, you need to start being a mediocre employee and start being the type of employee that deserves a raise. When you do that, your readers will give you that raise.

BlogWorld’s Over, Now What?


BlogWorld 2010 was probably the most rewarding experience of my career. Being a part of this extraordinary team and helping to pull off such an important event is a rush I can’t even begin to describe. In the last few weeks before the event it was a little stressful as we did our best to make sure nothing and no one fell through the cracks. However, when show time dawned, I wasn’t stressed at all. Everyone asked if I was frantic, stressed or crazed, and I said “no” to them all. I might have had a couple of busy moments, but for the most part there was nothing to stress over. This is what happens when everyone works hard to ensure an event’s success. We had a couple of very small fires to put out, but no major episodes.

As I spoke with BlogWorld attendees, I joked that I was going to sleep late for the next few weeks and not surface for the next few months. The entire BlogWorld team fantasized about ending our work day at a decent hour or even taking a little vacation. Truthfully? Many of us took a couple of days off, but on Wednesday, a few days after BlogWorld, we were all back at work and having a Post Show Analysis or PSA meeting. As I’m the only one involved who lives on the East Coast, I was the only one who couldn’t attend the meeting in person. However with Skype it was the next best thing to being there.

I knew we’d discuss the speakers and the venue, but I had no idea of the laundry list of items we would go over. Rick and Dave are pros and they left no stone unturned. We discussed everything from schedules to food, from the bathrooms to the registration process. We talked about what went well, and what we’ll have to change for next year. There were a few specific areas, for example, keeping an accurate speaker roster (as speakers were added or dropped out) and making sure everyone made it to the schedules, signage and directories, that we have to do better for next year. There were other areas that we feel rocked. For example, we felt we had our best content ever this year.

So what are we doing now that BlogWorld is over? Well, we’re working on receiving and analyzing attendee feedback so we can better plan our next event. This means if you were at BlogWorld you’ll probably receive an email from us in the next week or so requesting you fill out a survey about BlogWorld, our speakers and sessions and your overall experience. We hope you’ll be honest with your assessment and that you won’t delete the survey before sending it to us. Without your feedback we can’t have an even better BlogWorld in 2011.

We’re also dealing with a ton of housekeeping. Just because BlogWorld’s over doesn’t mean we’re still not receiving massive amounts of email each day and they all deserve attention. Plus we’re just starting the early planning stages of BlogWorld 2011. If we want to continue to grow and get better, we have to plan early.

BlogWorld may be over, but we’re not resting on our laurels. The West Coast contingent is in the office every day and I’m working at home. We’re reading your blog posts and your Tweets and we’re so stoked that the majority of you truly dug BlogWorld ’10. We’re also reaching out to those of you who offered negative feedback to learn why your experience wasn’t positive and how we can fix it next year. For you, BlogWorld is over. For us, it never ends.

If you have any feedback on this year’s event or have suggestions on how we can raise the bar for BlogWorld please share in the comments.

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