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BlogWorld NY 2011

BlogWorld Speakers: How Are You Promoting Your Sessions?

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We’re just about a month away from BlogWorld “East.” This is our first time on this coast and we’re excited about reaching a brand new audience…and we hope you are too. This conference is especially geared towards the digital content creators and social media professionals who would have liked to attend previous BlogWorlds but couldn’t because of budget or travel concerns.  Speakers, here is your chance to present to a whole new demographic.

We’re doing all we can to promote the heck out of BlogWorld East, and we’re requesting our speakers do their part as well.

Here are a few ways you can spread the word:

  • Get on Twitter: Many of you have quite the reach on Twitter. Many of you also have fans who would come to see you speak in a heartbeat if they know you’re in the area. Tell them why they’ll benefit from your session.
  • Ditto Facebook: If you’re reaching friends and fans via Facebook or fan pages, use the space to promote your session.
  • Create an event: Use Facebook, Eventbrite, Plancast or other event planning apps to invite friends and followers to your sessions.
  • Blog: Write a post about your session for your blog. Tell readers what your presentation is about, and what they’ll walk away with. Send us the link and we’ll help to promote it.
  • Write a post for the BlogWorld blog. We ask all speakers to submit a guest post for the BlogWorld blog. Tell our community about your presentation. We’ll make sure they see it. (Contact Nikki@blogworldexpo.com to submit your guest post)
  • Create a video: Talk about who you are and what you’ll be speaking about at BlogWorld.

We’re always promoting our content and speakers, but we can only do so much. It’s also up to you to let friends, fans and followers know about your presentation.

How are you promoting your session?

BlogWorld NY 2011 Track Preview: Social Media Business Summit

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In case you missed our newsletter this morning (What? You haven’t signed up? There’s a box right there to your right) here’s a preview of the Social Media Business Summit Track for BlogWorld NY! Hope to see you there.

Social Media Business Summit Highlight

David Griner, Dave Peck, Stephanie Agresta, Jason Falls

Fail: Social Media Disasters and What We Can Learn From Them

David Griner (Social Media Strategist, blogger at Luckie & Company) and Dave Peck, (Director of Community for Meshin, and profiled on CNBC and Current TV) made such a splash at last year’s Expo that we brought them back for more!  This time the veteran social media strategists focus on marketing and PR fails, and will walk through candid case studies of brands that have faced down an angry Internet – and sometimes came out better for it. (Click here for date & time)

The Rise of Social Media Commerce: How Consumers Are the New Affiliates

E-tailers understand the power of online purchasing, but how does sharing deals, shopping tips and bargain hunting via social networks and communities impact the online shopping experience?  Stephanie Agresta (internetgeekgirl.com) discusses leveraging traditional e-commerce acquisition strategies to drive social commerce results.  This session covers the fundamental change from solo to group shopping, and provides case studies on successful campaigns. (Click here for date & time)

The No B.S. Guide To Blogs and Brands

Big brands want to reach emerging audiences on your niche blogs and online communities, but misbehaving bloggers have led many of them to lose trust and faith in blogs as reliable sponsorship outlets. Jason Falls (socialmediaexplorer.com), social media marketing educator, speaker and writer, addresses the issue with real information and strategies to help you build mutually beneficial relationships with brands, and how and when to cut ties with misbehaving bloggers.
(Click here for date & time)

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Beyond “Snake Oil Salesmen” SEO: Great Content through Optimization with Ric Dragon

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As the BlogWorld East schedule starts to fall into place, I wanted to highlight some of the amazing speakers we have lined up for you guys and gals! Over the next few weeks, expect some interviews and guest posts from some of our presenters so you can get to know a little about the topics they’ll be teaching at the event. Today, Ric Dragon from DragonSearch was nice enough to sit down to answer some questions about his topic of choice – SEO. It’s something that is a thorn in the side for many bloggers, but at Ric shares with us, it doesn’t have to be!

Allison: Thanks for speaking to everyone here at the BlogWorld blog, Ric! For readers who may not know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

Ric: I was listening to a presentation a few weeks back being given by Bryan Eisenberg (author of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark, Call to Action, and other books) – he was starting off by asking the audience how long they’d been in the business, little by little narrowing down the hands raised to those who had been in the business to over a decade. I realized with not a little chagrin that I’d become one of the sage long-in-the-tooth veterans. I started a web development company fourteen years ago to provide development services to those wonderful graphic designers coming out of the big New York agencies – none of whom had a clue about what it took to make a website work.

Concurrent to that company, four years ago some business partners enjoined me to form another company to focus on online marketing. Since then, I sold my share in the web development company to focus on the marketing company, DragonSearch. There were some other adventures in between – most notably a failed startup that was designed to help bloggers and marketers connect, and to help bloggers earn income from their work. It was a great idea, but the timing left us without capital during one of the financial market downturns.

How did you first get started search engine optimization? What attracted to you to SEO initially?

I was actually reluctant to become an SEO. At our web development company, we had always provided “best practices” to our clients – making sure that pages were properly structured for SEO. But pretty much since the start, there have been a lot of individuals and companies out there providing SEO that I consider snake oil salesmen – and I really didn’t want to be associated with that bunch. Even today, the industry is plagued with a lack of standards and service providers that don’t stay on top of changes.

SEO is a discipline which is undergoing constant change. Something that we assume to be a truth last month is NOT a truth this month. But it might be, again, next month. It’s very Nietzshien that way – we have to constantly re-evaluate our assumptions. On the other hand, there is also an approach that is about “best practices” – structuring content in a way that is friendly to both people and machines. It reminds of that movie The Terminator, where Arnold Schwarznegger comes from the future to help us fight the machines. Except it needn’t be a basis for conflict – instead, SEO can be about making your content better for people USING machines.

A lot of bloggers say that the best SEO you can do is writing great content. Do you agree with that? Why/why not?

It’s remarkable how much antipathy there is with bloggers and SEO. Just last week I saw a tweet where someone said, “I write for people, not for Google”. And, it is true that, as Scott Stratten says, people don’t retweet good SEO. They don’t spread good SEO.

There is something in these statements, though, that is more of a reflection on those snake oil salesmen I mentioned above, and on experience with the worse of SEO. Writing great content and writing with passion is by all means paramount.

A better understanding of SEO can help you reach a wider audience. An underlying component of SEO is understanding your audience better. What could be wrong with that?

Another piece of SEO is doing things with “best practices”. Often, doing things in a slightly different way provides better results. In Florida, it is best practice to add a couple of nails on your roof shingles. The extra labor and materials hardly amounts to much in the overall project, but the result of still having protection from the rain after a hurricane is invaluable.

What’s the one change bloggers can start making today to make their blogs more search-engine friendly?

SEO isn’t, as many people like to say, rocket surgery. There are a LOT of little things that are worth being mindful of – no one thing. But the biggest, most significant thing that bloggers can do is to pause, and try to THINK like their audience. If you’re writing the next great American novel, that may not be a big concern. But if you want to develop an audience, and build out that wonderful thing where you’ve got a significant audience with lots of comments and give and take, then it pays to consider how they think, and of the words that they might use to discover you.

As part of your BlogWorld presentation, you’re going to be speaking about keyword research. Can you share with us your favorite keyword research tool?

In my other life I’m an artist – and in that capacity, used to teach drawing. I discovered that if my drawing students put on a carnival mask, their drawings would be significantly different. Sometimes, tools that help us think differently are the most valuable – they can help us get unstuck from a rut.

My favorite tool these days is http://www.wordle.net. I like to take a blog I’m writing and dump it into Wordle, and see the patterns. It will often show me that I’m emphasizing something with key word frequency that I didn’t mean to emphasize, and that I could be emphasizing something else.

Wordle treats each word as an individual word, so it can be helpful to use search/replace to manually connect phrases. For instance, I might make “social media” read as “socialmedia”.

Thanks again for stopping by the BlogWorld blog! BlogWorld East is fast-approaching, with more and more sessions being added every day. Give us your best pitch – Why should attendees absolutely make sure they make time for your presentation?

At its worse, SEO is about how we manage the perception of our relevance. At its best, it can help our writing be more relevant. If this presentation was only about “how to do SEO”, I think it would be a failure. There is real value to picking up on those things – but where we’re really going to make a difference is understanding SEO as a tool in creating more meaningful, more relevant blogs.

Blogging is part of a revolution in writing – in human expression. If it can be made better through SEO, or if through SEO we help a blogger’s audience gain more significant audience, then we’ll be doing something wonderful.

Ric’s presentation is currently scheduled for Wednesday, May 25 at 11:30 AM in room 1A07 – check out the full schedule here to stay up-to-date with schedule changes and to learn about other BlogWorld East speakers.

#BWENY Update: Speakers and Speaker Proposals

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Our first BlogWorld East conference is moving along smoothly but quickly. As you can imagine, we have a lot to plan in a very short time. We don’t take our educational content lightly, so we thank you for your continued patience as we go through all the speaker proposals.

If you’re going to be submitting a proposal, I’d like to submit a few tips based on past experience and what’s come in so far.

Nitpicking…

Most of the proposals we receive so far are top notch.  I just sent a batch for approval and hope to get a lot more done this week and next. There will also be a batch of denials sent out, mostly for kind of silly reasons.

Don’t be lazy

Some potential speakers want us to work on their proposal for them. They give us the bullets of their areas of expertise and ask us to put something together for them based on that. I also had a couple of  speakers who worked out decent enough proposals but didn’t really care if the session was a panel or solo session. When we pick a proposal we want to know that the idea was researched thoroughly, you have a good idea of what you’re going to talk about and how you’re going to put it all together, and if it’s a panel, you’ll even know what speakers you’d like to have on board. In essence, the less work you make us do for your proposal, the happier we’ll be. When you pitch a topic and say “I don’t care if it’s a solo session or panel as long as I get to speak” it better be the best.idea.ever for us to want to coordinate it all for you.

Also, if you’re pitching a panel make sure all speakers have agreed. Don’t say, “I was thinking Brian Solis could do this with me” if you never even approached Brian about speaking on your panel.

Proofread

As the typo queen, I understand typing mistakes and errors. However, we received some proposals this year that I just couldn’t read. A couple had so many misspellings it was impossible to understand what they were trying to say. Another was so rambling, I have no idea what it was about. Please proofread. I get that we all make mistakes, but I also feel there’s a limit.

Avoid going for shock value

When choosing a title for your proposal, try not to be insulting or playing to stereotypes. Most important, don’t insinuate attendees lack intelligence because they’re not doing things your way or don’t incorporate certain methods or tools.

The problem with making it about you

I have problems making it about the “I.” When a speaker makes it about “I” all the time, the attendees can’t make it relate to “them,” If you’re pitching a case study or story based on your success, try to present it in a way that applies to everyone and not just you.

Some Trends

What are this year’s trends in speaker proposals? Check it out:

More solo presentations

Normally, we have more panels than solo presentations, but not this year. This kind of scares me because I wonder if there were more panels but the presenters didn’t indicate multiple speakers on the form. If you pitched a panel, you may want to go back to your speaker proposal form to make sure we know you pitched a panel and that all speakers are present an accounted for. Now, if there are fewer panels, this isn’t a bad thing at all as many attendees felt we had too many panels this year. It works for us either way, it’s just that there’s a noticeable difference this year.

Most pitched topics

This year’s most pitched topics were traffic, SEO and measurement. The traffic and SEO thing is interesting to me, because we didn’t have many of these proposals last year. The measurement proposals didn’t surprise me at all.

One speaker, lots of proposals

Another trend this year is for one speaker to send in a whole bunch of proposals. WE’re not fans of this. We’d rather receive one or two very strong proposals, than a whole bunch of quickly put together proposals.

Tracks and Track Leaders

Below are the tracks that you’ll see at BlogWorld East (with a couple to be added later), along with the track leaders who are helping to put them together. If you have ideas or questions for those tracks, please contact the track leaders.

We will also be presenting the following tracks:

  • Content creation
  • Education
  • Legal
  • Publishing
  • Tribes and Community
  • Distribution
  • Food
  • Sports
  • Education
  • Publishing
  • New Media 101

UPDATE: Since posting this list I’ve received an avalanche of email from folks requesting to be track leaders. For smaller tracks, we’re not necessarily looking for track leaders and they’re easy enough to handle on my own. It’s the nichiest stuff that requires outside expertise. Thanks to all who are offering, it’s so nice of you to want to help!

Approved Speakers

So far, the following speakers have been approved for BlogWorld East:

Keynotes (so far)

Please stay tuned because we’re going to be approving and adding speakers at a rapid-fire pace from here on in. I’ll also have the interactive schedule up soon so you can check back at your convenience to see which speakers have been added.

Questions? Comments? Give me a jingle here or via email at deb@blogworldexpo.com

First BlogWorld East Sessions Announced

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May isn’t too far away and we’re working gangbusters to put the schedule together because we know many attendees won’t make a decision until they know who is speaking and what topics will be covered. Today, I’m pleased to tell you about the first few confirmed speakers:

  • Jason Falls is presenting on a topic near and dear to our hearts, brands and blogs.
  • Amber Naslund and Jay Baer are giving their new and improved “Now Revolution” presentation.
  • Aliza Sherman and C.C. Chapman are presenting a workshop to help women get over their fear of speaking and craft the ideal speaking proposal. By the time the workshop is over, attendees will have a proposal ready to go for BlogWorld West!
  • C.C. Chapman is also presenting “Content Rules.”

We also have some news about our track leaders, these are experts in their respective fields who will be helping us to shape and provide the educational content for their tracks:

  • Wendy Piersall and David Risley are leading the Monetization track.
  • Chuck Hemann and Arik Hanson are resuming their roles as Social Media Business Summit Track Leaders.
  • Reem Abeidoh is leading our Mobile track.
  • Amy Parmenter will be helping to shape our Media track.

Stay tuned for news on some keynotes that are being confirmed this week – and more news in the upcoming days once more speakers and track leaders are confirmed.

What do you think so far?

How to Get to Blogworld This Year Without Begging

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… from Paul Cunningham

When Deb wrote her opinion about bloggers who were using donations and sponsorships to pay for their trip to Blogworld Expo she gave advice on how to get sponsorships the right way.

But some of you reading this might not have any likely sponsors to reach out to, or maybe you just don’t want to go down that road to begin with.

So if you are one of those people, then here are four ways you can afford to go to Blogworld Expo next year without begging.

Affiliate Marketing

Successful affiliate marketing means connecting your audience with products that are useful and valuable to them, and earning a commission from the seller for those referrals.

This doesn’t mean slapping some banner ads on your blog and hoping enough people click through and buy. The best affiliate promotions are those that don’t seem like an overt pitch to buy the product. Some of the techniques you can try include:

  • Product Reviews – write a thorough, honest review of a product and why you found it useful to use. Talk about the benefits that you received from using it rather than just reciting the features of the product.
  • Demonstrations – create a video that shows your audience how you use the product to achieve desirable outcomes. Visual demonstrations can be far more convincing to people than a written review.
  • Add Value – create an add-on product that can be given away free as an incentive for your audience to buy the product. For example if you want to earn a commission for every kitchen blender sold then offer a free booklet of six delicious fruit smoothie recipes to make with the blender.

Sell Products

Almost every blogger I speak to is ‘working on a product’, but very few of them actually get it done. Which is a shame because selling your own products is one of the most satisfying ways to make money from blogging.

The critical part of the product development cycle is ensuring that your product fills a need in the market. If there are no potential buyers for your product, no matter how good it is, you won’t make any sales.

Fortunately bloggers have an advantage here, because your blog is itself a form of market research. Look at your archives and you will quickly see which topics get the most traffic and comments, and which post types connect best with your visitors.

Ebooks are the easiest to create but some people think the market is getting a bit saturated. I personally think ebooks are a good place to start and you can work to stand out from the masses by adding a few pieces of extra content as well, such as a bonus video or audio interview.

A PDF ebook zipped up with some bonus audio and sold using E-junkie can turn into a strong earner for you if you then back it up with persistent marketing through your own blog and guest posting around your niche. Affiliates can also help promote your product if you offer a good commission rate and provide them with a few simple images or banners for them to use in their promotions.

Sell Services

Creating a product might not be the fastest way to start making money because of the up front development time involved. Selling services is something you can bring to market faster, because you are basically selling skills and expertise that you already have.

Selling consulting services can be as simple as offering coaching calls to your readers. All you need for this is a way to record Skype calls, a nice document template to create the written report afterward, and a mind-map of the various points you would normally cover off with a new client. Record the half hour conversation and provide it to the customer along with the report containing your advice to them.

If consulting isn’t a good fit for you then you could sell your raw skills instead. Lots of people need help setting up WordPress so offering low cost installation services or theme customization can quickly attract plenty of customers. Alternatively, write for other blogs as a freelance blogger to earn extra money using the blogging skills and knowledge that you already have.

Form a Partnership

If you’ve read this far and still can’t think of a way to make money to pay for your Blogworld trip next year then try thinking of friends that you could partner with in some way. Often times we chat on Twitter or Facebook every day with people but are completely unaware that they could use some help filling a gap in their business.

Two bloggers could trade editing time for each other’s ebooks so that they can get them finished instead of languishing forever as drafts on their hard drives. Or a web developer and graphic designer might trade referrals so that they can each take on more paying customers.

Whatever your skills are often it is as simple as letting people know what you can do and that youíre available to help if they need it.

What other ideas or stories do you have about how you can afford to travel to Blogworld Expo?

Paul Cunningham is a blogger, internet marketer, and the author of How to Become a Successful Freelance Blogger, the ebook that teaches you how to turn your knowledge and passion into a real income stream.

The Speaker Proposal Form for BlogWorld East is Now Live

Author:

Better late than never, the speaker proposal form is now live for BlogWorld East. If you submitted a proposal to my email address, you probably didn’t hear from me. I was waiting a bit because I knew I would have to contact you to ask you to resubmit, but then the days turned into two weeks and here we are. You see, the idea of having you send me proposals via email was suggested with the best of intentions, but truthfully, there is so much information to be filled out before submitting a proposal – contact info, bios, speaker agreements, etc.- that it would be a nightmare to collect all this after receiving hundreds of email proposals. So I felt it best to wait until the proposal form was live and invite you to submit again. As of now, I’d like to respectfully request that all proposals are submitted via the online form, and not my email address.

I truly apologize for the inconvenience.

Now, many of you have asked what kind of sessions and tracks we’ll be having at BlogWorld East so you have a good idea of the type of presentation to pitch.  As of now, the following tracks are expected:

  • Social Media Business Summit
  • Real Estate Blogging
  • Content Creation
  • Tools & Technology
  • Media/Journalism
  • Community & Tribes
  • Monetization
  • Education
  • Legal
  • Food
  • Politics
  • Digital Broadcasting
  • Mobile
  • Sports
  • Jobs/Careers – I haven’t yet confirmed a Job track, but if you have a presentation that would fit, do send it in.

Once again, the speaker proposal form for BlogWorld East is now live and we will accept proposals until April 10th. We look forward to receiving yours!

BlogWorld East: FAQ’s (So far)

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The feedback we’re receiving regarding our BlogWorld East announcement is 99.9% favorable. However, we’re hearing a few concerns, and they’re all valid. I thought it might be a good idea to address some of the questions and concerns via a blog post as the inbox is getting a bit full. If you have more questions feel free to ask in the comments or we’ll do another post. Here are some of the FAQ’s so far:

Why a BlogWorld East?

There are several reasons for this, but the most important reason is that there are so many people on the East Coast who just can’t attend our yearly “West” event. It’s either cost prohibitive or the travel is an issue. Many hopeful attendees have expressed how great it would be to have a large social media conference in the East and we’re finally able to bring this to them.

The East Coast will bring in a whole new community of attendees, exhibitors and speakers. We’re offering a chance to network with new media professionals from a whole other corner of the country, which means a slew of new opportunities.

Why the co-location with Book Expo?

If you don’t mind, I’d like to quote our fearless leader, Rick Calvert:

Two year’s ago at BlogWorld Leo Laporte said during his talk “We are not new media anymore. Now we are just THE MEDIA”. While we all believe that to be true, many in the traditional media are not convinced yet. Since our inception we have had a couple of Big Hairy Audacious Goals. One of them is to foster and accelerate the convergence of traditional and new media.  We can’t think of a single better opportunity to help us accomplish that goal. New York City is the center of the traditional media universe. For four days Book Expo America is the center of the traditional publishing universe.  By locating BlogWorld and Book Expo side by side we are bringing the best and brightest from both communities together for the first time anywhere.

Will we be able to attend both BlogWorld and Book Expo?

Yes, Book Expo attendees will be able to visit BlogWorld’s tradeshow, but the conference pass is separate. BlogWorld pass holders will receive complimentary access to Book Expo. As always, there will be a variety of packages available.

I worry that by creating two separate conferences, we’re splitting the networking opportunities.

We think BlogWorld East will create new and entirely different opportunities. While there are sure to be attendees who will choose to pick East over West (or vice versa), we created BlogWorld East for East Coasters who normally wouldn’t be able to attend our annual fall BlogWorld event. So we’re not splitting the awesome, we’re adding to it and giving those who wouldn’t have been able to otherwise make it a chance to attend.

This is bad news for exhibitors because they can’t come to both events and you’re going to be losing money.

Again, we don’t see it that way. We understand budgets and know that most can’t attend two events, but we think we’re creating new opportunities. Eastern companies might not have had it in their budgets to fly a team West to exhibit at BlogWorld. Now, businesses in New York and vicinity don’t have to deal with airfare, hotel, and per diems. We don’t see BlogWorlds East and West as split events, but rather two entirely different and mutually beneficial events.

Is there a difference between “East” and “West?”

In addition to there being more Eastern based attendees and exhibitors, we hope to have a stronger focus on media, journalism and publishing. That isn’t to say we won’t cover topics such as monetization, content creation, and nichier blog topics, but as New York is the media capital of the world, we do hope to appeal to this community. We will still have the Social Media Business Summit and the same quality educational content you’re used to attending at BlogWorld.

How do I speak at BlogWorld?

We’ll have the speaker proposal form up in another week or so, which is more organized for us – and you. However, if you can’t wait or have any questions – for BlogWorld East only – you can submit your proposal to me via email at deb@blogworldexpo.com. I don’t have an official cut off date at the moment, but will make the announcement when we have a full schedule of speakers.

Can I specify that only want to speak at East or West?

Absolutely. In fact, as NJ resident, I would love to see the East Coast well represented in New York City. So if you are a speaker based in the area and have some good ideas, we really want to hear from you. (But you’re welcome to speak no matter where you’re based!)

Can I speak at both?

Sure, why not?

When can we register?

Soon, we’re getting our registration organized and will have a variety of registration packages for you to choose from very soon.

Can you recommend a hotel?

We will also have hotel information up very soon.

There are only a few months before BlogWorld East. Why did you take your time in making this announcement.

Believe us when we tell you we wanted to get this news out months ago. There were legalities to iron out and that is what took the most time. We will be much better prepared and will break the news well in advance next year.

Any more questions?

Feel free to post in the comments or bring the to our Facebook page, or the BlogWorld (Rick Calvert) or BlogWorldExpo (Deb Ng)  Twitter accounts.

Please remember that your feedback is vital to our success. No question is “silly” and even constructive criticism is welcome.  Now, stay tuned to all our channels for another major, surprising bit of new on Tuesday.

– Deb Ng
Conference Director
BlogWorld & New Media Expo

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