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BlogWorld NY 2011

How to Grow Your Blog Now Via Social Media

Author:

Session Title: How to Grow Your Blog Now Via Social Media
Speaker: Lori Randall Stradtman
Date: Tuesday, May 24
Time: 2:30PM
Location:
Jacob Javits Center 1A10

BlogWorld NY starts in less than 10 days! My flight and room are booked. My bags are far from packed, but my presentation on Grow Your Blog Now Via Social Media is ready to go.

Please say Hi to me while you’re there!!

Lori Randall Stradtman designs, speaks professionally, and uses her 8+ years experience in online community and social media to write for Social Media Examiner, Smart Brief, and Enterprise Efficiency. Her company works with clients across North America, the UK, and Australia.

So, What’s the Big Deal with WordPress?

Author:

Session Title: The Ultimate WordPress Experience
Speaker: Mitch Canter
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 11:30a – 12:30p
Room: 1A16

If you’re the least bit into blogging (and if you’re reading this, chances are you are), then you haven’t been able to get away with the news of Blogger’s outage last week (week ending May 13, 2011). The server problems left lots of bloggers scratching their heads and asking lots of questions. “Where did my content go?” “What happens if it goes down again, for even longer?” “What’s going to happen to my content?”

WordPress, a History
Call me obsessed, call me passionate, or call me a nutjob, but I fully believe that there is no blog problem that can’t be solved with WordPress. If you’ve never heard of it, then allow me the honor of a brief history lesson. In 2003, two guys (named Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little) created a fork (a variety of a software program) of b2cafelog (a then defunct blogging platform). Over the years Matt, Mike, and a team of dedicated individuals finessed it, added to it, and modified it to give users an easy, friendly to use blog platform that would let people log in, add content, and get back to living life or running their business. And isn’t that the goal in the first place; to be able to have experiences to blog about?

Features and Strengths
WordPress has, over the years, simplified the process of creating a killer blog by adding functionality that would make any blogging fanatic swoon. They perfected the modular approach to functionality (modules, plugins, etc.) and made it easy to get started with just the core code, but even easier to add new functionality on the fly. Want to put in your twitter account’s latest updates? Find a plugin, install, fill in the information, and you’re good to go.

WordPress made template (the design of a website) easy to modify and operate. Blog designs became more and more elegant and stylized. Gone were the days of everyone’s blog looking reminiscent of one another; the more work and style you put in, the more you reaped in rewards.

WordPress also made adding “aside” content (like ads, widgets, and social profiles) easy with a widgetized sidebar. Now, a simple drag-and-drop gets your latest social badge onto every page of your site. Navigation menus were streamlined and made completely customizable. Photos could be formatted differently from video and audio and text posts. Content pieces of every kind could be configured, queried, and served up however you want; the possibilities became (and are still becoming even more so) endless as new features are added in.

Switching to WordPress
Typically, people in today’s blogging culture that aren’t on WordPress use one of two services: Blogger and Tumblr; both known recently for notorious downtime. So, if you want to switch, what’s the best place to start? Find a good host, purchase some cheap hosting for less than a few cups of coffee per month, and nine times out of 10 they’ll have a “Fast WordPress install option”. All you have to do is click a few buttons and let the software do the work for you.

If you’re on Blogger, you’re in luck. Even bloggers with unique domain names can import their content quickly to their WordPress site using the official Blogger import plugin. Once that’s done, a few changes in the DNS (your domain name, if you have a custom one) can get your new site up and running one the internet is notified of the changes. As a bonus, you can set your permalink structure (the structure of your URLs) to match your old site, saving most, if not all, of that hard earned SEO.

Tumblr blogs have their own importer too, and there are plenty of themes that cater not only to the seasoned Tumblr user, but allow them to keep their current post formats as well. Plus, WooThemes (a seasoned WordPress theme development shop, has an app in the iPhone store that makes posting to a “WordPress tumblog” a snap.

What’s Next for WordPress
Just to give you an idea of what’s in store for the WordPress team, the new version of the software (3.2beta1) dropped earlier this week, and it simplifies the process even further by getting rid of unnecessary elements in the WordPress dashboard. Their goal is to revolutionize how people are creating content, and with 8 years behind them (and no signs of stopping) it’s safe to say now that a better goal is to revolutionize it repeatedly. With over 10% of the Internet being powered by WordPress, it’s not a far fetched one.

If you’re curious, or want to know why I’m so passionate about WordPress, then please feel free to drop into Room 1A16 on Wednesday at 11:30am. I’d love to tell you more.

Mitch Canter is a WordPress designer / developer from Franklin, TN (near Nashville). He is the chief creative mercenary of ‘studionashvegas’ and specializes in taking WordPress blogs (and websites) to new and exciting places. He also works as a “special projects” contractor with Bridgestone of Americas. You can find him on his blog, or drop him a line on Twitter – he doesn’t mind a bit!

Mitch will be speaking on “The Ultimate WordPress Experience”, where he will speak on switching to, customizing, and getting the most out of a WordPress blog. If you’re frustrated with your blogging service (and chances are if you’re not on WordPress these days, you might be), then come with plenty of questions.

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

Author:

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.

Exploring Location-Based Context

Author:

… by Mike Schneider

Location has been hot on the minds of marketers 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).

We do know is that location is a key activity stream in the new era of data-driven personal marketing. This new piece of context gives message makers of all kinds an opportunity to give someone a piece of content that they need at exactly the perfect time. At BlogWorld NY, we will explore three key opportunities with 3 of the world’s top 25 brands: deals, discovery and loyalty.

Deals

And the content that is delivered is not just advertising, but that is one critical component. Location-based platforms present a great opportunity to give a person a deal when they need a deal and certainly there is a difference between deals for acquisition and retention. American Express just announced a partnership with SCVNGR that will make this easier. PepsiCo has tried deals with their Loot app.

Discovery

Content in the place that you want it is key. People are attaching secrets to places on a number of mobile platforms like Yelp, foursquare, Bizzy, foodspotting, Gowalla and more.  Disney in particular has been a leader in enhancing the experience of its guests by giving them reasons to check in to every attraction in the park.

Loyalty

Acquiring a customer is expensive for a business so keeping them is paramount. Using innovative ways to get customers to return has been the business of American Express and PepsiCo for years. American Express has introduced new ways to pay, reward and surprise and delight their customers by partnering with location-based services like foursquare and SCVNGR as well as with merchants. PepsiCo has built and participated in a number of loyalty driven initiatives including a social program based on a person’s checkin history.

The co-authors of Location-based Marketing for Dummies, SchneiderMike of allen & gerritsen and Aaron Strout of WCG will lead the discussion with Josh Karpf of PepsiCo, Tom Aronson of Disney and David Wolf of American Express. The panel will be late-night talk show style with Mike hosting the show and Aaron providing color and insight and also keeping his bananas peeled for interesting audience questions via the iPad.

Hope to see you there. If you could ask these brands one question about their location-based initiatives, what would it be?

Common Sense and Collaboration: PR and Bloggers Are On the Same Side

Author:

Speakers: Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich
Session: Common Sense and Collaboration – The Last Stumbling Block for PR and Bloggers
Date: Wednesday May, 25
Time: 11:30AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A06

… by Danny Brown

There’s been a lot of talk about the relationship between the public relations industry and bloggers. I’ve written about it in the past as have others, yet still there’s this feeling of a barrier between the two mediums.

As someone on both sides of the fence, I can understand each side’s views.

Yet I can also see where both sides could improve. So, with no bias to either the PR industry or bloggers, here are some suggestions to help both PR and bloggers help each other.

PR People – Think Like Bloggers

Consider starting a blog if you don’t already have one. Unless you blog yourself, you probably won’t understand the mindset of a blogger. It can be a lonely and time-consuming business – the last thing we want is added workloads through misunderstanding or laziness. If you blog, you’ll have a better appreciation of how we work and how our time can best be used.

Treat us as a bona-fide media source
in both your pitching and follow-ups. True, we may not have the name of a New York Times or CBS journalist or reporter. But we often are more visible, thanks to Google and search engine awareness, which means our story could potentially have a much wider audience. Doesn’t that deserve some respect?

Find out who we are and what we do. You have a gardening tool to promote for a client. So why would you send your news release to a tech or music blogger? Don’t just grab a bunch of names from a blogger list – do a little homework, find out what we write about, our style, etc. Trust me, show me you know about me and my readers and you’re almost home dry with me.

Invite us to participate in what your clients are up to. Bloggers love to be involved early on – after doing your homework on who would fit you client base, invite bloggers into your inner circle as your official blog partners. Let us tell your story (without any major interference) and you’ll have a primed marketing team of bloggers ready to go.

Bloggers – PR is Not Your Enemy

Bloggers are wary of PR people. Lazy pitches, poor communication and being treated as second-class citizens are just some of the complaints. Yet there are ways to help yourself be more appreciated by the PR industry.

Have either an About Me page or an area that describes what your blog is about. This may seem like common sense but the amount of reviewer blogs I’ve seen without this simple addition is mind-boggling. How can you expect a proper pitch when you don’t advise on what you write about?

Display a PR-friendly badge to let us know that you’re open to pitching. Todd Defren and the folks over at Shift Communications have come up with some badge designs you can use. Clean and clear, they save both PR people and bloggers a lot of time.

Be ethical at all times and true to your beliefs. This works both ways. Your blog is your voice and your readers should trust that voice. Keep your views honest and untainted by PR pressure. And if someone in PR is pressuring you into a positive spin when their client doesn’t deserve one, don’t be afraid to call them out via your blog.

Contact us and offer your services
as part of a PR agency’s blogger outreach program. Many PR firms and professionals are still far behind on the benefits of a blogger outreach program. Use Google, Twitter, O’Dwyer’s blog and other resources to find agencies in your niche. Then send them an email about your expertise and how they could benefit from it. Pro-activity never hurt anyone.

These are just some examples of how the PR industry and bloggers can help each other. I’m sure there are countless more, but it’s a start.

How about you? Are you a blogger? If so, how can PR professionals improve? Or are you in the PR industry? Where would you like to see bloggers improve? Feel free to share your views and let’s get the conversation going.

Danny Brown is co-founder and CEO at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, offering integrated marketing, social media, digital and mobile marketing solutions and applications. His blog is featured in the AdAge Power 150 list as well as Canada’s Top 50 Marketing Blogs, and won the Hive Award for Best Social Media Blog at the 2010 South by South West festival. Follow Danny on Twitter at @DannyBrown or on Facebook at Danny Brown.

Common Sense and Collaboration: Bloggers Are Not Second-Class Media

Author:

Speakers: Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich
Session: Common Sense and Collaboration – The Last Stumbling Block for PR and Bloggers
Date: Wednesday May, 25
Time: 11:30AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A06

… by Gini Dietrich

How many of you go to cocktail parties or networking events and, when you say you’re in public relations, the person you’re speaking with says something along the lines of, “Oh. You’re a spin doctor.”? And how many of you own businesses that need external PR help but have spent way too much money for nothing in return?

I don’t have proof of this, but I believe, as industries go, public relations is at the bottom of the heap…with attorneys and used car salesmen. As an industry, we have done a horrible job of doing our own PR, as evidenced by the “PR is not publicity. Publicity is not PR.

Last fall I participated in #SBT10 chat (or Start Blogging Today), as a guest, with moderators Danny Brown, Grant Griffiths, and John Haydon. Never have I so violently been reminded about how unethical, demanding, and just plain old wrong some professionals are in our industry. The first few questions I received were along the lines of, “As bloggers, how do we pitch PR firms so they pay attention to us?”

COME AGAIN?!

Then, on the heels of that question came, “While I’m not an A-list blogger, I have an engaged audience that fits really well for some companies. Why aren’t PR firms paying attention to me?”

EXCUSE ME?

I began to feel my blood pressure rise as I realized these bloggers, who produce great and revelant content and who have extremely engaged audiences, aren’t being paid attention to by PR professionals because their traffic numbers aren’t as high as the “A-list bloggers.” This is absolutely dumbfounding to me. Why, if you have an engaged audience who trusts you, believes in you, and follows your recommendations, would it matter that you’re not an A-list blogger?

But the kicker for me was this question, “Why do PR pros tell me what to write when giving me something to review?”

That’s like a PR pro calling a reporter at the New York Times and saying, “I’ll send you this book/shoes/iPad if you write exactly what it says in the news release.”

GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!
PR pros: It’s called “earned” media for a reason. You have to earn the coverage for your clients (or the companies where you work). We are not in a demanding position. We are not the ones with leverage. Build relationships. With everyone. This includes bloggers. The backbone of our industry has not changed, even with the web. Relationships are earned through selfless acts and through helpfulness and kindness. And, for heaven’s sakes, stop demanding what they write! Most bloggers have an audience. They have people who care what they write. Do you really think if you demand they write a certain way or copy and paste your news release, their readers won’t notice?

Bloggers: Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s not your job to pitch PR firms. It’s their job to build relationships with you and find a way, that makes sense for what you already write and provide to your readers, to fit their client’s products and services into your content. If you write relevant content, the PR firms will find you. We have lots of tools to do just that. Make sure you’re registered on Technorati and that the industries you serve know who you are (i.e. lots of industries will write lists of bloggers to follow in their trade publications). And don’t answer pitches that a) don’t make sense for your blog; b) ask you to write something specific; and c) are very obviously copy and paste emails that have clearly gone to everyone…which means the PR pro hasn’t taken the time to get to know you or your blog.

For both sides: It is the law that you disclose any free items that are given/received for reviews. So, if you receive a book to review, make sure you note that when you write about it. Otherwise both of you can get into a lot of trouble.

And now I leave it to you…PR pros, what advice do you have for bloggers so they are “noticed” by you. And bloggers, what advice do you have for PR pros so they have a better chance of you writing a review for them?

Gini Dietrich is founder and chief executive officer of Spin Sucks Pro, which is professional development for PR and marketing pros. She is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an alternative to traditional integrated marketing communications. And she is the main author at Spin Sucks, an AdAge Power150 and Social Media Examiner top 10 blog.

How this 50-Year-Old Technology is the Hidden Profit Center of Your Blog… and How to Leverage It

Author:

Speaker: Nathalie Lussier
Session: Why This 50 Year Old Technology is The Hidden Profit Center of Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 2:30PM

It’s no secret that I absolutely love technology. I inspire thousands of people each week to get techy with their online businesses. But here’s the big juicy secret: sometimes I think us techies can get too wrapped up in the shiny new tools that keep popping up.

The hidden profit center behind the world’s most successful blogs is based on a 50 year old technology. Email. That’s right, email has been around for 50 years – dating back to University researchers sharing information via “email” even before the Internet existed.

Okay, so now you know what this 50 year old technology is, but you need to attend my talk to find out exactly how to leverage it. I’ve heard far too many bloggers admit that they should have started building an email list earlier, and to make sure you sidestep that painful mistake I’m going to share all of my experiences and strategies.

During my talk you will learn:

  • The smart way to build an email list, and how it actually delivers results for people on a more in depth level than blogging alone.
  • How to repurpose your content, so you don’t leave your best pieces to collect dust in your blog archives.
  • Case studies that show you exactly why and how email is the profitable area that it is.
  • My top recommendations for which tools to use to get started with email marketing right away, so you know the first step to take after you leave the session.
  • Which stats to focus on, whether size REALLY matters, and how to stop obsessing over your numbers.
  • Proven tips to ensure people open your emails, forward them to friends, and keep coming back for more.
  • The no-brainer strategy that ensures you’re delivering value to your people consistently without adding more to your already busy workload.

If you’ve been thinking of setting up an email newsletter or blog-to-email system, you’ve got to be there for this. Even though email has been around for 50 years, a lot has changed and it’s important to keep up with the trends in email marketing, what’s working now and what isn’t.

I’ve been leveraging email in my business consistently for over two years now, and I’ll happily answer your most burning email marketing questions.

See you there!

Nathalie Lussier is an online business triple threat bringing tech, design, and marketing together under one roof. She built a successful online business around her passion for health as the Raw Foods Witch, and now helps other online business owners get techy with it.

Three Tips for Writing a Passionate Pitch That Won’t P*ss Off Your Readers

Author:

Speakers: Erica Douglass
Session: How to Passionately Pitch–Without P.O’ing Your People
Date: Thursday, May 26th
Time: 10:15AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14

So, you have a great blog, and you’ve started to grow a happy community of supportive readers. Lo and behold, you find a product (or two!) that you believe your audience will love.

Take a deep breath–because when you finally get up the courage to pitch that product, you may be surprised at how aggressively angry your previously-supportive audience can get!

Here are three quick tips to ensure that your pitch goes over well with your readers:

  1. Keep it short. We bloggers love to write. But we tend to go overboard on pitch posts. It is true that many copywriters have great examples of 20-page salesletters that converted better than 2-page salesletters. But keep in mind that the person flipping through blogs is not in the same mindset as a person reading a sales letter. It’s okay to go long on a separate sales letter site. But on your blog post promoting the product, keep it short. Let your readers know why you’re recommending the product, who it will help, and how it will help them–and then link to the sales letter or product page a couple of times to encourage them to take a further look at the product.
  2. If you do a video pitch, include a text pitch as well. Although videos are great at conveying a message, many people who read blogs do so at work, on trains, or in coffee shops–inappropriate environments for sound. If you decide to do a video blog post promoting a product, feature your video prominently, but include a text pitch as well. (If you prefer, you can include a link to a separate post with the text pitch.)
  3. Include who this product will work well for–and who it won’t work well for. It may seem contradictory, but the truth is most products don’t work for everyone, and your audience appreciates it when you mention who this product will work well for. Some tips: Is it better suited to beginners or advanced users? Those who already have a certain product or use a certain service? Men or women? (Huge hint: Your audience is probably mostly beginners at whatever you blog about, so if the product you pitch is geared toward beginners in your field, definitely mention this. This tip alone should raise your sales by 10% or more.)
  4. Could This Hour Make You Thousands of Dollars?

    We will dissect even more pitches in my session at BlogWorld Expo NYC, and show you how to make money pitching products on your blog without alienating your readers. I’ll show you examples of single blog posts that earned $10,000 or more for the author–and blog posts that pitched a product and earned nothing. Then, I’ll break down exactly what worked and what didn’t with each pitch.

    Whether you have a traditional copywriting background or you’re new to the world of paid blogging, you will learn a lot from this session. Just think: what you learn in this session could be the key to making tens of thousands of extra dollars with your blog in the future!

    I’m Erica Douglass. After selling my online business at age 26 for $1,100,000.00, I created erica.biz to help you grow your own business quickly. erica.biz has since become one of the Internet’s most popular small business blogs, reaching over
    50,000 readers monthly.

How Saying “No” Can Save Your Blog — Making Money Blogging

Author:

Speakers: Jennifer James, Heather Solos, Janice Croze, Wendy Piersall
Session: How to Make Real Money From Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Time: 9:00AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14

… by Janice Croze (@5minutesformom)

How Saying “No” Can Save Your Blog

I have a problem saying, “No.”

Whether it is letting my kids stay up too late or agreeing to write a post when my schedule is packed, my people-pleasing/non-confrontational issues sometimes win over my better judgement. I avoid the conflict, say “yes,” and feel my blood pressure rise.

But, when it comes to my blog and my relationship with my readers, my integrity is everything. So, I routinely make myself type, “No, thank you,” and “I am sorry, but we will have to pass this time,” in response to PR pitches, interview opportunities, press junkets, advertising opportunities, etc.

The key to maintaining your integrity while making money blogging and creating a blog that is worthy of your readers’ time is learning when to say, “Yes,” and when to say, “No, thank you.”

So how do we know when we should accept and when we should decline opportunities, pitches and jobs?

  1. Keep to your mission
    Whether you have created a formal mission statement, or whether the goals for your blog are fluid and evolving, most of us have an understanding of what we have set out to do with our sites and what we want to stand for. (If you don’t have some sort of mission or goals, now would be a great time to decide what you want to accomplish with your site.)
    Ensure that everything you agree to falls in line with those principles. Some offers can be so tempting, but approach decisions like a discerning CEO and do what is best for your blog in the long run.
  2. Provide value
    Five years ago, companies had begun sending products for review to “mommy bloggers.” Since our site was about promoting the online mom community and bringing the best of the internet to our readers, reviews fell within our mission.
    But, after publishing a few, we decided we wanted to “reward” our readers for the time they had taken to read our posts. So we requested that companies send two items, one for review and one to giveaway.
    This new concept took off and giveaways soon became the norm in the mom blog community.
    But we have always worked hard to continue to push ourselves to provide as much value to our readers as possible in our posts, whether they are giveaway posts or personal stories, link ups, interviews, how-tos, etc.
    The site who is offering their readers the most value wins.
  3. Be honest and transparent
    The FTC brought disclosures into the foreground of blogging. It is no longer an option – one must disclose all forms of compensation, including review products.
    But many of us bloggers were frustrated with the attention the new rules brought. We had already been taking great care to be open with our readers. We valued those relationships and wouldn’t have risked damaging them. We didn’t need the FTC to tell us how to blog!
    But whether one was disclosing in the past or not, now there is no question – we must disclose. Yes, the FTC may be watching. But more importantly, so are our readers.
  4. Sprinkle don’t slather
    It happens. The pitches come in, washing over our inbox and, if we aren’t careful, taking our blog away with them.
    Unless your site is purely a review or giveaway site, you do not want to be inundating your readers with too many reviews or giveaways.
    And with sponsored campaigns and promotions, a blogger must choose wisely. When I go to hire a blogger for an outreach program I am planning, I avoid blogs that have the majority of their posts promotional.
    Some weeks and months you may have more promotional content than others – there are no hard and fast rules here. But strive for sprinkling rather than slathering.
  5. Support the community
    We started 5 Minutes for Mom because we wanted to help moms find and support one another online! We figured, if a mom is going to buy something, why not buy it from another mom?
    When I am going to buy something online, whether it is software or a handmade item, I would rather a fellow online mom or site that I appreciate earn from that purchase.
    So, when I see affiliate links or ads, I don’t begrudge that blogger for monetizing their site – I applaud and click!
    There was a time when monetizing was like wearing a scarlet letter in your sidebar. But, fortunately, the community and readers are evolving and embracing the fact that bloggers deserve to earn a living from their work just as much as anyone else does.
    So, support your fellow bloggers. Click those ads, leave supportive comments and tweets about their sponsors, and share their posts and campaigns.
    Nowhere is it more true than the blogosphere that, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

I am thrilled every time I hear of a blogger making their living online and I love to share what we have learned about making money with your blog.

If you want to learn more about how top mom influencers are profiting in the blogosphere, make sure you check out our session, How to Make Real Money From Your Blog. Because it happens — real blogs, real bloggers, real money.

Janice Croze and her identical twin, Susan Carraretto, are the bloggers behind 5 Minutes for Mom. Janice and Susan began working online in 2003, developing two successful ecommerce stores and starting 5 Minutes for Mom in the beginning of 2006. 5 Minutes for Mom has been ranked as the Top Family Blog (Technorati) and 2nd Top Parenting Blog (Technorati and Wall Street Journal), along with being recognized on numerous lists of top blogs such as Cision’s Top Ten Most Influential Bloggers and Babble.com’s Top 50 Facebook Fan Pages for Parents.

SEO Blog Tips: Turn Emails into Search Engine Visibility

Author:

Speakers: Rich Brooks
Session: How to Dominate Google & Bing with Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 9:00AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A07

“I don’t know what to blog about” and “how can I blog for SEO?” are two blogging concerns that I hear all the time from people. Luckily, there’s a simple trick I use that can help address both issues.

First thing to keep in mind: you are an expert at what you do. You have forgotten more than most people will ever know about growing plants or raising kids or building a business.

Chances are that when you’re in front of a customer or prospect, they are asking some of the same questions time and again. Even more may be emailing you those questions.

Well, if you’re fielding all those questions, how many more people are asking the same questions at Google?

  • How do I tie a Windsor knot?
  • What are some simple stir fry recipes?
  • How do I survive a zombie apocalypse?

When you receive the next email asking for advice or help, don’t respond. Not immediately, at least.

Copy the question and paste it into your blog. You may need to broaden the question to make it more helpful to more people and remove any reference to whomever sent you the email in the first place. (They may not be completely comfortable that you put their name at the bottom of a question about how to buy a toupee.)

Once you’ve got the question, go ahead and answer it in the most helpful, non-salesy way possible. As appropriate you can create keyword-rich links to a page on your website that offers a solution to the person’s need. Answering a question on reducing turnover? Link to the page on employee recognition gifts.

When you’re all done, create a keyword-rich title for your post. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Create a shortened version of the question: What are good fruits for making baby food?
  • Phrase it as a how-to: How to Take Better iPhone Photos
  • Frame it as a tips post: Fashion Tips for the Color Blind

After you publish it, go back to the person who first emailed you and tell them that it was such a great question you turned it into a blog post. I’ve never had anyone get upset with this, and almost everyone has been psyched to see their question get posted to my blog, even if I renamed them “Puzzled in Portland.”

In conclusion:

  • Use emailed questions as blog fodder for “long-tail” searches.
  • Increase your visibility by using appropriate keywords in your titles and posts.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Rich Brooks is founder and president of flyte new media, a Web design and Internet marketing firm in Portland, Maine. His monthly flyte log email newsletter and web marketing blog focus on search engine optimization, blogs, social media, email marketing, and building websites that sell. He is currently an Expert Blogger at FastCompany.com and a regular contributor at SocialMediaExaminer.com.

He is a co-founder of Social Media FTW, an organization putting on conferences and events to educate small businesses and non-profits about the power of social media marketing.

He is a nationally recognized speaker on blogging, internet marketing and social media. He is the “tech guru” on WCSH Channel 6’s evening news show, 207, and teaches Web marketing and social media courses for entrepreneurs at the University of Southern Maine’s Center for Continuing Education.

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