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BlogWorld NY 2011

Four Power Tips for List Building

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“Email is the most effective form of subscriber attention today.”

One of the sessions I had the pleasure of attending at BlogWorld New York 2011 Phil Hollows’ talk on list building. Phil is the CEO and founder of FeedBlitz, an alternative to FeedBurner, so I was really excited to hear his opinions on list building and email marking. He started by talking about how this is still one of the best ways to reach your audience, something that was echoed by other speakers, like Nath Lussier and Erica Douglass. During his session, Phil gave us a number of what he called “power tips” for building your list so you can start sending emails that really convert, whatever your goals may be. Here are four of them:

  • Make your subscription form visible.

Is your subscription form on every single page? Do you have to click around to find it? Do you have to scroll? There are some things that you should ask yourself. Phil also made a really good point – you know how a lot of sites have little icons for RSS, email, Twitter, and Facebook, all in a row? Why do we so often put RSS first? Even though we’re a really tech-friendly crowd, chances are that many of your readers don’t use RSS readers or even know what the RSS symbol means. Instead, put the email icon first – give them something friendly and familiar to click.

  • Enable social media cross promotion.

You want your list-building efforts to be retweetable and otherwise sharable. Ask for subscriptions on your Facebook page and make your emails easy to email to your friends.

  • Add incentives.

This is of course a tried and true method of getting people to sign up for your list, but it is one that deserves repeating. What do your readers get for signing up? Common giveaways include an email course, a weekly newsletter, or a short ebook, but you can get creative. The more incentives you can give your readers, the more likely they are to sign up. Make sure you publicize the incentives so people are enticed to sign up.

  • Make the most of offline events.

Conferences like BlogWorld are great places to get people to sign up for your mailing list, believe it or not. If you’re speaking, bring up a sign-up sheet. Create business cards that mention your mailing list and direct people to the right page. QR codes are also all the rage – Phil actually mentioned that he walks around with one on his t-shirt and people can scan him!

While I was able to stick around for a few more tips from Phil, all of which were as good as the ones listed above, I ultimately had to skip out a bit early to help the BlogWorld team with another task…so like you, I’m really looking forward to making use of my virtual ticket in a few weeks to learn the rest of Phil’s tips for building a list. Stay tuned for information on picking up your virtual ticket to listen to the recorded sessions!

Thanks, Phil, for a great session. Readers, make sure you read more about Phil and his company, FeedBlitz, on his website and follow him on Twitter @phollows.

32 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About BlogWorld New York 2011

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Today, I have a very special edition of Brilliant Bloggers for you – instead of our normally scheduled list of links, I wanted to collect links to posts from people who attended our inaugural New York event last week. Some of it is good. Some of it is not good. It all matters to us. If you haven’t yet written a post, I hope you will (and link it here). Knowing what you found valuable and where BlogWorld missed the mark helps the conference grow, evolve, and get better! Not everyone agrees, but your voice is important. I would also like to point out that a lot of the value of these posts comes from the comments made by the community at the end as well, so definitely take time to read them!

So, without further ado, here are all the Brilliant Bloggers talking about BlogWorld. If I missed you, please add your link as a comment. We’ll return to regularly scheduled Brilliant Bloggers next week!

Also, this list is alphabetized, not in order of importance or any other kind of order.

Thanks again to all of the Brilliant Bloggers who attended our conference. We’re looking forward to meeting you again (or for the first time) in LA!

Are We Hypocrites, Tasteless Smut Peddlers or Just Plain Dumb?

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If you haven’t heard there was quite a reaction to our closing keynote at BlogWorld New York. From some very heartfelt honest posts with valid complaints from people like Marcus Sheridan and Jennifer Fong to the typical peanut gallery who like to use every social media controversy as a way to promote their own agendas.

While Dave and I were watching the closing keynote Thursday we were both cringing. The videos were too long, they weren’t being played at the right times, the band wasn’t able to rehearse with the guests beforehand so they weren’t right on cue, the mics were feeding back when they worked at all. The Rhythm was completely off. What we thought could have been our best closing keynote ever was falling apart before our eyes.  We felt terrible for Chris Brogan who had agreed to host the show and kept trying to get it back on track.

Then we saw the reactions. People weren’t complaining about the production, they were complaining about the content.  Andrew Breitbart was too political for some, Shauna Glenn’s video was demeaning to women in technology said others, How could we allow Sara Benincasa to perform a very adult stand-up routine where she eviscerated literally everyone and everything we had been talking about for the last three days after we had asked Danny Brown and Gini Dietrich to change the original title of their blog post from “Doucheblogs and Spin Doctors” to something else?

After reading some of the posts and comments, we were relieved. This was something we could defend. Dave, Deb, Patti and I were all talking to each other in a series of phone calls and I asked Dave to just record the conversation we were having.

I think this better explains why we chose the format and the guests we did so please listen to that at the bottom of this post.

We do need to apologize to anyone who was offended by the humor and who felt like they were not warned sufficiently ahead of time. We thought we had made this clear in the show directory, in our email newsletter, on our blog and the online schedule but we obviously completely failed.

Please accept my personal apology for that. I promise you it will not happen again. People will know full well going in what to expect.

We would also like to apologize to our panelists and our host Chris Brogan for any negative reactions they may have received because of their participation. We wanted this to be fun for everyone. Dave and I are responsible for this, not anyone else.

That being said even with the complaints we still believe there is a place for this type of content at BlogWorld.

Our industry is made up of millions of communities and content creators and hundreds of thousands of genres. We believe we have a responsibility to represent as diverse a group of these communities and styles of digital content creation as possible.  We owe it to all of you. We owe it to each other.

In his segment Andrew Breitbart told the story of how when Bill Maher said some very offensive things on his old TV show Politically Incorrect it was Shawn Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who came to his defense. Bill Maher wrote a personal letter to Limbaugh to thank him. The men couldn’t be further apart in their world views and throw hammers at each other daily over the airwaves but at the end of the day, they are all part of the same community of content creators.

This is a lesson we in new media can learn from some in the old media.

We would love to hear your feedback as well. How do you suggest we present this type of content in the future?

Are we completely off base?

How to be a Funny Blogger…Even if You aren’t Funny

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“Everyone is funny. Trust me.”

Against my better judgment, I actually do trust Jordan Cooper. I was lucky enough to meet him at BlogWorld 2010 and was stoked to see him on the speaker list for our inaugural BlogWorld New York. His session on how to write funny blog post was one of the first at the conference; here are the main points he covered:

  • You don’t have to be hilarious to be a funny blogger. People expect stand-ups to be funny, so they have to be REALLY good. If no one expects you to be funny, it’s just an added little bonus if there’s a little humor.
  • Humor works so well online because sharing a joke is as rewarding as coming up with the joke yourself. Think about what you share online – I bet many of the links are humor-based.
  • There are two parts to a joke: surprise and context. You want to catch your readers off guard with the punch line, but they have to have working knowledge of the subject matter or they won’t understand why it’s funny.
  • Start by brainstorming all the things that are stereotypically part of your topic. Then spiral out from there – what else is related to those topics? How can you make a comparison?
  • “No matter what you do someone will be offended. If no one’s offended, it’s not funny.” (best quote of the sessions, in my opinion)
  • Every joke has a target (the person or thing you’re making fun of). Don’t make the target a sympathetic character or you’ll look like a jerk. The person has to be “above” the audience.
  • If you want to make a joke about the audience, make it self-deprecating. You’re the one who is the fish out of water, who doesn’t understand.
  • You only have to be a 20% comedian to be successful. There will be lots of people out there who don’t like you, but the 20% of people who do will be crazy fans, buying anything you do and promoting any post you write. If 100% of the people like you, you’re too generic – they won’t hate you, but they won’t like you enough to pass on your stuff or buy something from you.

I realize that a post about a session I took on humor should probably be funny. Better luck next time, I guess. (I’m pretty sure this has more to do with the student than the teacher, by the way. Man, I suck as a testimonial.)

Thanks, Jordan, for a great BlogWorld session. Readers, you can follow Jordan on Twitter @notaproblog, or check out his site at www.notaproblog.com.

BlogWorld NY 2011 Keynote: Mega LBS or Mega BS

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Location has been hot on the minds of marketer and technologists. Some have even been so bold as to call the ability to know a person’s exact location the holy grail (not really – OK – maybe a piece of the grail). At BlogWorld NY 2011, Mike Schneider, Aaron Strout, Josh Karpf, Tom Aronson, and David Wolf sat down with attendees to talk about this new piece of personal marketing. Mike and Aaron, keynote moderator, started with fie rules for location-based marketing:

  1. Have an established presence. Even if you don’t yet use it, you want to claim your names and make sure you’re ready in case some of today’s minor players  become major players in the future.
  2. Reach out to influencers. You want to get on their radars.
  3. Create a great offer. A great offer from businesses has three components: 1) It’s awesome, 2) it’s easy to use, and 3) there’s a competitive aspect to it.
  4. Test, learn, and optimize.
  5. Make sure your company is ready on the operational level (the staff needs to be trained) and make sure people know – this should be a part of your marketing material.

Here are some of the best quotes from the keynote:

“We are closing the loop, finally.” – David Wolf

“Our core values as a company is not changing in this changing time. We just have to adapt.” – David Wolf

“We need to know now how to understand this before it becomes mass media.” – Josh Karpf

“For us, it’s much more about the engagement.” – Tom Aronson

About the Speakers

Mike Schneider (@SchneiderMike) is vice president, director digital incubator for Allen & Gerritsen, ranked by Advertising Age as one of the Top 50 Independent advertising agencies in the US. He is responsible for building products rooted in ROI that enable richer user experiences while defining “what’s next.” Recently named to Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” Mike has crafted owned and earned media strategies, built award-winning communities, segmentation strategies, content management, and customer relationship management solutions.

Aaron Strout (@AaronStrout) is the head of location based marketing at WCG, a global agency offering integrated creative, interactive, and marketing communications services to clients in healthcare, consumer products, and technology. In addition to his knowledge of the interactive and social media landscape, Aaron has more than 17 years of online marketing and advertising experience, with a strong backgroun in integrated and online marketing. Aaron is a founding member and former president of BIMA and a member and former board member of MITX. Aaron is also on the advisory board of the prestigious Social Media Club.

Josh Karpf (@jkarpf) is currently a member of the social media team at PepsiCo, where they are working to develop a conversational communications strategy across our brands that involves bringing the outside in, building transparency and connections with consumers.

Tom Aronson (@taronson) is the director of digital marketing for The Walk Disney Company’s Disney Parks.

David Wolf’s team is focused on delivering integrated Amex experiences within 3rd party applications.

#BWEcares at BlogWorld Expo

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The Midwest has been absolutely devastated by tornadoes this week, and BlogWorld attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and friends have been affected. To help support these communities in the coming months as they recover, BlogWorld has teamed up with CauseVox to form #BWEcares. There are three ways you can show that you care too:

1. Donate – Make a tax deductible donation to the US Red Cross for Tornado Victims. Simply head to the #BWEcares page to give.
2. Raise Funds – Set up your own fundraising page and rally your circle of influence, peers, friends and family for Tornado Victims.
3. Share – Help us spread the word through the #BWECares hashtag on Twitter, by writing blog posts and more.

Along with the fact that you’ll be doing something really awesome, the #BWEcares page allows you to post your name as a recent donor, so it’s a great promotional opportunity for your business or blog. (You can donate anonymously as well.)

Thank you so much to everyone who’s already been donating and to Leigh Durst, Rob Wu, and Justin Goldsborough for helping us organize this. I know it means a lot to the bloggers affected.

#BWENY at #BEA11: Views from the Show Floor

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Between the awesome sessions at BlogWorld today, I got a change to check out the Book Expo America show floor. #BEA11 was packed, with tons of author signings, advanced reader copy giveaways, publisher booths, writer sessions, and more. Check out the views from the show floor:

If you’re at #BWENY this year, your BlogWorld pass gets you into the BEA show floor for free – so if you have some free time, check it out!

Building Your Content Bubble: Become a Resource

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One of the first presentations at BlogWorld New York 2011 was Dave Murray’s “Building Your Content Bubble.” There were a lot of valuable take-away tips from Dave’s session, but overall, I think one of the most important points was this: You need to become a resource.

As you start blogging, it makes sense to focus on a very specific core topic, and you can start to expand to include related topics, passionate pieces, and sharing other content. But above all, as you’re planning your posts, make sure that they’re not just hard-selling your product. As Dave put it, there’s a lot of I in content creation, but by turning that into YOU (i.e. reflecting the reader’s wants), you’ll be able to build a blog (and a brand) that resonates with people. Help people. Become they’re go-to resource for your topic.

Think about it this way – if you were a car lover, what would you read: a company’s blog post that was nothing but a press release about new steering wheel covers and a pitch to sell it to you – or a post called “Ten Car Parts You Need – and Might Not Own” with a pitch about your steering wheel covers at the end. Which post would you pass to a fellow car enthusiast? Which post would you tweet? Which post would entice you to leave a comment?

And most importantly: Would you come back?

I thought Dave’s presentation also hit on another key point: the need to stop hiding behind the computer screen, especially for small business bloggers. If someone leaves a great, thought-provoking comment on your blog, it’s great to comment in return, thanking them for their opinions.

But it’s even better to email them and ask for a phone number so you can call to discuss their views or even set up a time to meet face-to-face. BlogWorld proves it – in-person networking is still not only relevant, but necessary. Content creation is communication, and it shouldn’t be a chore. So, talk to your readers and find out how you can help them – and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

Thanks to Dave Murray for a great BlogWorld NY 2011 session. Dave works with re:group, an integrated marketing communications company focused on creating and maintaining relevant, powerful brands, which you can follow on Twitter @regroupinc.

BlogWorld NY 2011 Keynote: Social Media Game Changers

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Social media has become a critical driver of business in more than just the marketing and PR departments. Social media is changing the roles and rules for sales, customer service, product development, and more. BlogWorld’s attendees were lucky enough to hear from three thought leaders on this topic – Gary Vaynerchuk, Jeffrey Hayzlett, and H.P. Mallory. Here are some of the best quotes from the keynote:

Gary Vaynerchuk

“Why am I still writing books? Because people read them, asshole.”

“We are the dawn of one-on-one marketing.”

“The human stuff is always going to matter. What people don’t understand is the tech stuff is the human stuff…It’s a gateway drug…Twiter is speed.”

“Just because you have a Facebook and Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re using all the tools in the game.”

“Search.Twitter.com is the game.”

“Making mistakes has so much value.”

“Direct mail is even more dead than I thought. Like ding-dong….If you’re doing direct mailing…shit.”

“You can’t read about push ups. You gotta do ’em.”

Jeffrey Hayzlett

“They want to get it their way, and as authors we should give that” – on content formats

“I use my book as a business card.”

“What’s right for you and what’s right for someone else are two different things.”

“Twitter is kinda like my front porch. Facebook is like my living room.”

“Get out there and make as many fricking mistakes that you can.”

H.P. Mallory

“We’re definitely turning the publishing industry on its head.”

“I think about ways I can connect with my readers.”

“It’s really about making conversations, not selling.”

About the Speakers:

Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) is a self-trained wine and social media expert who has revolutionized the wine industry. Gary’s cult-like following is the result of his unconventional, often irreverent commentary on wine, combined with his business acumen and foresight to use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to research an untapped audience. Known as the “King of Social Media,” Gary is regularly asked to consult on social media for some of the world’s largest and most recognizable companies like Google, Johnson & Johnson, Disney, Proctor & Gamble, and Pepsi.

Jeffrey Hayzlett (@JeffreyHayzlett), author of “The Mirror Test” – hailed a “Celebrity CMO” by Forbes Magazine and famous for his outspoken appearances on numerous television networks, Jeffrey Hayzlett is widely recognized as one of the most influential marketers of out time. Previously as Chief Marketing Officer of the iconic Eastman Kodak Company, Hayzlett was responsible for the company’s worldwide marketing operations. Hayzlett’s best-selling book “The Mirror Test” has been acclaimed by thought leaders such as Donald Trump who said, “This book is a reflection of marketing genius…read it to find out how companies, big and small, ‘Trump’ the competition!”

H.P. Mallory (@hpmallory) is a kindle and nook bestselling author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Currently she has written two series, the Jolie Wilkins series is about a woman who realizes she’s a witch who can reanimate the dead and the Dulcie O’Neil series is about a fairy in law enforcement. H.P. Mallory recently signed on with Random House (Bantam Books) to publish the next three books in the Jolie Wilkins series. Look for the third book in the series, Be Witched, in Spring 2012! H.P. still self publishes her Dulcie O’Neil series and loves being an indie author.

Just Announced: Got Wine? Wine Sisterhood at Blogworld’s Opening Reception

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The Wine Sisterhood, a digital community promoting wine conversations and engaging consumers in the enjoyment of wine, is proud to be the wine sponsor for Blogworld’s Opening Night Party on May 25th from 8:00 pm – 10:00pm at the Hudson Terrace (sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Social Fresh, #CMMeetup and Social Media Club.) Get ready to try some Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red, Middle Sister Rebel Red and Middle Sister Drama Queen (Pinot Grigio) and more!

The Wine Sisterhood welcomes Wine Sisters AND Wine Misters. You can learn more at WineSisterhood.com or head over to the Wine Sisterhood Facebook Page. You can also download the Drink-u-lator from iTunes or the Android Market to calculate how many bottles of wine, beer and spirits you should purchase for your next party or event based on the number of guests you’re hosting and their beverage preferences.

Want to know more about the Wine Sisterhood? Look for our Wine Sister Aliza Sherman who’ll be wearing a tiara and boa at the conference.
She’ll be happy to fill you in!

And remember to attend “Speak Up: Empowering Women to Find Their Voices,” a workshop presented by Aliza Sherman and Jill Foster about overcoming fear in public speaking and taking deliberate steps to crafting speaking proposals. This happens Thursday, May 26 at 9am.

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