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blogworld 2011

We are Wayfarers: Amber Naslund Rocks the Keynote Stage at BWELA 2011


I’ve been excited to see Amber Naslund on the keynote stage since we first found out she’d be speaking. Last year, I saw her and Jay Baer speak about concepts in their book, The Now Revolution. Her keynote at BlogWorld LA 2011 had one very strong message that we all need to remember: We are the people defining the future of business.

If you want to check out Amber’s entire presentation, consider our virtual ticket option. Here are some of the key points from her speech:

  • We crave proof and run away from the unknown because comfort builds confidence.

We’re not afraid of failure as much as we’re afraid of blame. The stuff business have always done is what people cling to because at least they know what the outcome will be. But in this day and age, standing still will eventually lead to death. It’s our job at the forefront of this industry to take people into the future.

  • “It’s not the era of experts. It’s the era of inquisitors. It’s the era of the curious.”

We applaud children for being full of wonder. Why can’t we get back to that point? In order to move forward in business, we have to be willing to question everything around us and be curious about the results.

  • We need to be part of the solution, not just pointing out the problems.

It’s fantastic for those of us in the new media world to point out problems, but we also have to offer an alternative path. If what businesses are doing is wrong, what can they do that will be better? Our job is to define the next step.

My favorite quote of the night came close to the end. Amber told her own story of how, with just two month’s savings in the bank and a one-year-old daughter, Amber quit her rat race job. She didn’t even have much of a plan of where to go next. While she asserted that this is not the best path for everyone, you do need to take risks. Or, as Amber put it, “Sometimes you need to take a step on the path before you see where it’s going to lead.”

Check out more about Amber here.

Building Your Content Bubble: Become a Resource


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.

How to Get to Blogworld This Year Without Begging


… 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.

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