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Why Authenticity Is A Lie (Bad) Marketers Tell


Session: Creating Your Blogging Superhero
Speaker: Lisa Barone

Hi, I’m Lisa. It’s time for an intervention.

Bloggers and social media-types will stand on their heads to tell you that what your audience really wants is a more authentic, transparent version of your brand. They want you to bare it all on your blog, on Twitter and on Facebook so they can connect with you, engage with you, and so that you can become friends with your customer.

It’s a sham. All of it. And you need to get over yourself.

The truth is your customers do not want to know the depths of your soul or what keeps you up at night. Not even your mother wants to know that much about you, truly. What your customers want is the best version of you. The version of you that allows them to see themselves, where they want to be, and which helps them achieve their goals.

That’s what marketing is — Using yourself to show people their desired outcome. Even if that outcome is just your customer with a finally-working dishwasher.

As a marketer, you provide that experience by giving up the hokey authenticity act and creating a characterized version of yourself that exudes who your audience wants to be.

Whether you want to increase sales, build a community, or find new customers, building a sellable character, a caricaturized version of yourself, is how you do it.

Creating this caricature allows you to do a few things.

  • It gives you the freedom to magnify the personality traits you already possess to attract people.
  • It allows you to play on your strengths to establish a point of difference.
  • It makes your personality appear larger than life.
  • It gives you a cushion so that when the Internet gets mean (which it will), you’re not absorbing all the shots with your true self.

Said simpler – It makes your brand magnetic.

The characterized You is a heightened version of yourself. It’s where all the right traits are highlighted and where the ones that don’t fit the brand are simply deemphasized. It’s the You after you’ve had a few too many, when suddenly you know all the punchlines and you’re not afraid to take risks. That’s who you need to be to your audience. That’s who we’re drawn to.

No, you don’t need to be drunk, just compelling.

Wait! How can you relate to customers if you’re not being your “true authentic self” and are acting like a character?! You can’t just MAKE UP who you are!

Sure you can. You do it every day. Only you don’t call it acting. You call it being an adult.

  • You show one set of personality traits when you’re working at the office.
  • Another set when you’re at home playing with your children.
  • A different set when meeting your friends at the bar for Happy Hour.

It’s not deceptive there, is it? You’re not any less you, are you? You’re simply the right you for the right audience.

Same thing.

The authenticity lie has allowed too many marketers to make total blunders of their online persona, encouraging them to partake in Twitter rants, social media flame wars, and constant whining. Your 20 minute Twitter tirade about the bad service you received at your favorite restaurant doesn’t make you “transparent” or “more relatable”, it makes you appear unstable. Actually, sometimes it makes you an a**hole.

Which, fine, you probably are, but why broadcast that to the rest of the world?

Being a successful marketer doesn’t mean disrobing and letting all the nasty bits hang out. It means simply understanding what your audience needs and then identifying which traits that you possess that help you to be that person.

  • Blogworld speaker Shane Ketterman connects with people at Rewire Business by being so vulnerable and human that we can’t help but relate and be inspired by his words.
  • The Bloggess connects with people by being that person who says what we wish we could and by making us believe it’s okay if we’re a little off.
  • Chris Brogan connects with people by laying down in the middle of the road for his audience and being the most helpful guy on the planet.

I can pretty much assure you that there are days where Chris Brogan wakes up and doesn’t want to help or talk to a single person that day. But you never see them. Not because he’s not authentic or because he’s secretly a robot with no soul, but because those days aren’t part of the brand. And because of that, he keeps them out.

What you need to figure out is who YOUR character is. What natural traits do you possess that are helpful to your audience? What can you highlight about yourself that will help someone else achieve something? Because that’s what authenticity really is – it’s undisputed credibility. It’s you giving your audience the parts about you they need, and removing anything else that will distract them or take away from that credibility.

So maybe it’s not authenticity that’s a lie. It’s just our perception of what authenticity really means.

What traits make up your brand’s character?

Lisa Barone if the Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer at SEO consulting firm Outspoken Media. You can catch her blogging about marketing at the Outspoken Media blog or on Twitter at @lisabarone.

Changing the World Through Blogging, One Heart at a Time.


Session: How Your Blog Can Change the World
Speaker: Kyeli Smith and Pace Smith

To dig deeper into how your blog can change the world, come see me and Pace present at BlogWorld LA! Our talk is titled, unsurprisingly, “How Your Blog Can Change the World.”

Last year was the absolute worst year in my entire life.

I had a big dream, you see, and a mere handful of weeks before I made it real, it was torn from me violently and unexpectedly.

I thought I lost everything.

I wrote about it. I blogged my entire journey. I posted a very public post about my very private parts. I wrote about my desperation. I wrote about my anger. I shared my fears and my sorrow. I told the world how much I hated Great Spirit. I blogged when I was broken, I blogged when I was weeping, I blogged when I had nothing left in me but words. I blogged when it scared me and I blogged when it was all that kept me alive and I blogged when I started getting better, too.

I thought I was alone.

But then the comments started. And then the emails came.

People pouring their hearts out to me, a strange girl on the internet writing about her pain because there wasn’t anything else she could do. People weeping when I wept. People raging when I raged. People holding me in their hearts when I couldn’t hold myself. People offering me comfort. People offering their own pain. Sharing. Opening. Connecting.

Worlds were changed.

Late last year, for the first time in over twenty years, I declared myself a writer. I looked back over the sea of posts I’d written through the sea of grief, and I saw how it nourished me to write. I saw how my words kept me alive. I saw how connections had been forged, how lives had been altered – and not just mine.

I touched hundreds of lives.

But all I did was blog my own pain.

I didn’t set out to change the world last year. That was my goal before my tragedy, but afterwards, all I could think about was the despair. I set out to write, selfishly, because there was nothing else I felt I could do.

And even then, even in the darkest of my days, I was changing the world.

The world needs your stories.

We need to hear your voice.

We’re here, waiting for you. We will resonate with your heart. We will share our stories in return. We will build bridges together, forge connections, learn and laugh and listen. We will weep when you weep, love when you love, cheer for you when you need lifting up. Communities are built through blogs. Hearts are opened. Lives are touched.

And worlds are changed.

When you change one person, even a tiny bit, you are changing the world – because the world isn’t made up of a ginormous glob of people-goo. It’s made up of individuals, all thriving and thwarting and breathing together.

Each person changes everyone they encounter.

And that changes the world.

So gather your words and tell us your stories.

We’re waiting for you.

Kyeli Smith (that’s me!) is co-leader of the Connection Revolution, teaching people to change the world through connection. (I’m @Kyeli on Twitter, if you’re into that.) My wife is also my business partner – which is awesome – and together we work to foster love, tolerance, healing, communication, and personal growth. I’m a writer, a witch, a lesbian, and an unschooling mom. I sing in the shower, wear fantastic stripy socks, and believe in faeries.

Social Health Track Coming to BlogWorld LA


Through the use of social media and digital technologies, patients, physicians, nurses and caregivers are obtaining information, sharing data and connecting with other like-minded individuals to help them make informed decisions that impact health outcomes.

At the 2011 Social Health Track at the BlogWorld & New Media Conference in Los Angeles, organizers will bring together e-patient advocates, healthcare professionals, caregivers, healthcare providers and manufacturers to share insights, best practices and to discuss how digital approaches and social networking can be better used by patients and professionals to improve healthcare.

Sessions in this focused track are for people who are interested in how the social web can be used to positively impact society, from members of the social health community (e-patients, e-doctors, online nurses and members of industry, etc.) to those interested in the effective application of digital and online technologies for change.

Sponsored by:

Scheduled panels include:

  • Shoot From The HIPAA
    Speakers: Terri Polick, Jamie Davis, Kim McAllister
  • Whiteboard Session
    Moderator: Marc Manseau
  • Can Social Media Improve How Healthcare is Managed?
    Speaker: Scott Monty
  • Credibility in the Healthcare Space
    Speaker: Shwen Gwee
  • Establishing Guidelines for Companies to Operate Successfully Online
  • Physicians Engaging Online in Social Health
    Speakers: Zoe Dunn, Dr. Bryan Vertabidian, Dr. Jen Dyer
  • What Companies Can Do to Support Patients’ Needs
  • The Use of Digital Applications and Tools to Change Behaviors to Improve Health
    Speakers: John De Souza, BJ Fogg

RESERVE YOUR PASS! If you haven’t reserved your pass or hotel rooms yet, you’ll want to register now! BlogWorld official partner hotels are offering Discounted Rates (from $120/nt), Free Wi-Fi for attendees, and and all have just undergone multi-million-dollar renovations–so you’ll be in a fresh, vibrant and comfy new room during your BlogWorld stay! And…we’ve lined up Free Shuttles for you too! Check out your hotel options.

Military Track Coming to BlogWorld LA


… by C. Blake Powers

Yes Virginia, There Is A Military Track At BlogWorld

Wait! What? Why?

Well, there is a military track for a number of reasons, and this year’s track is very different. Members of the military, and military families, were early adopters of new and social media. It was a means of keeping in touch, and sharing important information within the community. It rapidly became an important means of sharing topical and accurate information about the military, strategy, tactics, and more with the military-interested public.

Sites such as the Mudville Gazette, the Thunder Run, and Blackfive quickly became the go-to sites for the public and the media looking to get timely information on what was going on. These sites and others also became a place where people could ask questions, debate topics, and — even more importantly — get reliable information and help on care, benefits, and other issues that affect the wounded and those returning.

As social media came of age, the sites and the people behind them moved into that arena as well. Some of the discussions and debates have moved to realtime or near-realtime in that environment, and information can be shared much faster as a result. The net result is also that members of the military, as opposed to the military itself, are adapting and adopting quickly to the changes, and want to get ahead of the curve as much as they can.

So, last year we asked those attending what they would like to see on this year’s track. We listened, and have a stellar line up that should be of interest to all attending Blog World.

Our first panel on Thursday is at 1:30 pm (1330 hours) and features documentary film maker and communications consultant JD Johannes talking on “Quit F’ing Guessing: Using Math and Behavioral Economics to Win the Battle of Ideas” He will be sharing tried and proven means of measuring and maximizing the impact of your blog.

Our second panel starts at 2:45 pm (1445 hours) and features Jim Brown of Slingshot SEO, talking on “SEO for Specialty Content” He will be exploring how SEO and content marketing are not just for large blogs, but especially important for those dealing with specialized content.

The final panel starts at 3:45 (1545 hours) and deals with the very serious topic of “Blogging Through Loss.” Rachel Porto, a military widow, and Mandy Myers, who’s lineman husband was killed on the job, will talk about the ups and downs of dealing with the loss of a loved one while sharing life and loss in new and social media.

We hope that you will join us for these very special and interesting panels. The topics are of importance to the online military community, but are equally interesting and important to almost anyone in new and social media. Come join us, learn a bit about us, and — most importantly — learn about important topics from experts in the field.

Do You Have What it Takes to Manage a Community?


Session Title: So You think You Can Manage a Community?
Speaker: Marcy Massura

Recently I have come across articles that like to talk about successful techniques for Community Management, but rarely do they focus on the most important ingredient; the community manager themselves. I thought I would put a list together for MY essential five things I think it takes to not only snag a job in this killer field- but to keep it– by being outrageously effective for the brand.


Be absolutely passionate about the power and potential of social media. Understand that you are not just promoting products…but you have the power to create communities of like minded people. Sure that means they are ‘like minded’ in their love of a brand- but that is nothing to sneeze at. You are at the helm.  And while your purpose is to promote (which is a euphemism for SELL) the brand, you are also there to fascinate the consumer. Make sure your passion is evident to both your employer and the readers.


You must be proud of the brand. (I adore my brands.) You must use it, love it and proudly tell everyone they know that they represent the brand. Why? Well it is pretty hard to fake sincerity, even in 140 characters. Additionally- it is easy to create content for a brand/product you have personal experience using.  Can fresh-out-of-college Bob write content for product targeted to mothers? Maybe. But can he do it with a convincing sincerity that will help to build the community? Probably not.


Not all brands are prepared to be in the digital area. Of course that doesn’t stop them, especially since everyone keeps telling them they HAVE to be doing social. So they hire a digital agency to build them a page(s) and hire themselves a community manager. But they are nervous, and realize this person and voice is the biggest spokesperson they have ever had. Gone are the days of being able to bury a bad quote on page 17 of the paper by making a call to a buddy after a press conference. Nope. Now, everything in the social world is broadcasted and permanent. So they want to play it conservative. Safe. The best community managers push back- just a little to help bring the brand along with creative and interactive content. But that takes guts, vision and strength.


Every time I mention I am a community manager for a large brand I almost always get the same reaction- “Wow that must be FUN”. I generally smile and say “It is. I am lucky”. But what they don’t understand is- my idea of ‘fun’ and their idea is totally different. My fun is high paced, tumultuous, last minute, long hours, stressful and jam packed with opportunities to be effective. Very few community managers are creating content with no checks and balances- most major brands have a slew of people hired to check and double check every Facebook update, every Twitter reply and more. So you need to be patient and remind yourself that it is their multi-billion dollar business that gets sued if you say something false, (likely) NOT YOU. They have every right to double and triple check and change your content (because in reality it is THEIRS)  But that also means you are frequently working on tight schedules…so patience on all levels helps.


Know where YOU want to take the brand. Don’t wait for the brand to tell you what they want because chances are- they don’t know. You need to TELL THEM where you are going to take them. Do you want to increase Facebook likes? Change demographics, increase interactions, change over-all perception, build alliances, promote advocates etc etc and etc.

Community management is a fun and exciting path that many bloggers are venturing into, as a realistic career option. After all- once you fully understand the space- why not help others and grab a paycheck while you are at it. However, it is important to remember that it can be a demanding position with many pitfalls. Being the face, the voice and the consumer point of contact for a brand is a huge responsibility. One that must be treated with respect, care and love.  And while I would not say I have fully mastered all 5 of these traits- I do work towards these every day.

Hear a bit more about Marcy’s topic and why she is pumped to attend BlogWorld Expo L.A. in November:

Go to our YouTube channel to see what other speakers are saying about BlogWorld.


Marcy Massura is a Community Manager at Weber Shandwick representing Oscar Mayer and Lunchables in the digital space. She is also a long time blogger, humorist and all around ‘social’ gal. Learn more than you needed to know about her at marcymassura.com or on Twitter @marcymassura. Better yet, come hear her speak at BlogWorld.

Seven Ways to Start Preparing for BlogWorld NOW


BlogWorld LA 2011 is happening in just a few months, and while it might be a bit too early to start packing (though I have started making a list…sad, I know!), that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing. Here are the top ten things you can do right now to get ready for what is shaping up to be our best show yet:

1. Participate in #BWEchat.

Every Wednesday at 9 PM EST, we hold #BWEchat on Twitter. Deb and Lara are the hosts (follow @blogworldexpo) and every week we also have special guest co-hosts including speakers, track leaders, and keynoters. #BWEchat features topics relating to conferences like how to save money when traveling to a conference (this week’s topic), as well as other topics related to content creation and  new media. Not only will you have the chance to learn something and voice your opinion, but #BWEchat is also a great way to meet others who will be attending the event. Some weeks, we even give away tickets!

2. Follow the #BWELA hashtag.

People are already starting to talk about the event. By following the #BWELA hashtag, you can connect with others who are attending and get the latest BlogWorld news first. If you have a question about the event, it also makes sense to tweet using this hashtag, so you can be sure that we see your tweet and are able to help you (if someone from the community hasn’t done so first). As we get closer to the event itself, you can also use the hashtag to find dinner partners, friends for sharing taxis, and more.

3. Choose your shoes and start wearing them now.

Ladies, this one is for you – pick out the heels (or even flats) that you want to wear at BlogWorld and start wearing them now. If you want to keep the “fresh new shoes” look, at least wear them around the house. Your feet will thank you.

4. Check out our speakers as they’re announced.

A number of speakers have already been announced, and if you follow conference director @DebNg, you can read announcements of new speakers as they’re made public. You’re likely going to recognize a lot of those names, but we also love to feature new and up-and-coming talent in the new media world, so there are likely going to be names you don’t recognize as well. Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and read their bios so that when it comes time to make your schedule, you can make the best possible decisions.

5. Tell your readers that you’ll be attending BlogWorld.

Connecting with your readers in person can really help solidify them as fans. BlogWorld has tons of attendees, so unless you make plans to meet people (or at least watch out for one another), you might not cross paths. Don’t attend BlogWorld only to find out when you get home that some of your most loyal readers were also there and had no idea you attended as well. Announce your plans to attend on your blog and social media or at least put a badge on your sidebar.

6. Become an affiliate.

If you become a BlogWorld affiliate, you’ll have the chance to earn a little money by encouraging others to attend the event. Put this money toward your trip and you could attend for free!

7. Tell us on Facebook that you’re attending.

Head to Facebook and check in on our events page, telling us all the you’re coming! As with announcing it on your blog and talking about it on Twitter, liking our Facebook page and confirming that you’re attending is a great way to connect with your current readers/fans/friends, as well as meet new people.

As the even gets closer, there are certainly other things you can do to prepare. Yes, you can jump on a plane and wing it, but there’s so much going on during every moment of BlogWorld that the more planning you o before the event, the more you’ll get out of your time there.

Have you been to BlogWorld before? If so, share your best planning tip!

RoundUp: Fall Tourism Tech Conferences


… by Sheila Scarborough

The fall conference season is always hopping, but the embarrassment of riches means that some tough decisions must be made about which events to attend (unless you have an unlimited budget and lots of people, so you can send someone to all of them. Right. We didn’t think so….)

Although we’re obviously biased towards the BlogWorld tourism track, we recognize that it may not work for everyone, so here’s our best effort to help you decide who to send where …

If you want maximum opportunity to connect with a wide variety of bloggers and other online publishers, plus attend focused educational panels and hear industry speakers on social media for tourism, then BlogWorld and New Media Expo West in Los Angeles, CA November 3-5 is your best bet.

Sessions will be intermediate level (with other tracks having beginner options) so #BWELA is the place to send your staff members who are somewhat new to the social Web (zero to 18 months.) We are also offering “speed dating” appointments between tourism/hospitality organizations and bloggers. There is at least one dedicated hospitality speaker for those who run resorts or other lodging.

Sample speakers: Caroline Bean from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., Shanna Smith Snyder from the Abilene (TX) CVB, Brian Matson from the Fargo-Moorhead CVB and Doug Anweiler from Authentic Seacoast Resorts in Nova Scotia.

Who should go? BlogWorld is perfect for your staff networking/schmoozing fiend who is also getting really good at social media (or who wants to get to that level.) Don’t forget – discount pricing (50% off) ends on Thursday!

If you want to mix it up with tech- and social media-savvy tourism peers at a small conference of the very geekiest CVBs, DMOs and Tourist Boards, then the Symposium on Social Media in Tourism (SoMeT) in Tunica, MS November 9-12 would work for you. This is where your communications person goes who is WAY ahead of the rest of the office, and who needs to stay at his or her “A” game for the benefit of your destination.

Sessions are advanced and geared to those who execute your strategy. Very “inside baseball.” No significant hospitality component.

Sample speakers: Katie Cook from the Austin CVB, Tom Martin from Converse Digital and Anne Hornyak from Sparkloft Media.

Who should go? SoMeT is great for your geekiest staffer who was on Foursquare and slinging QR codes months before anyone else.

If you’re looking for high-level discussions of travel and tourism technology as a whole, consider the eTourism Summit in San Francisco, CA September 29-30. Lots of strategy and integration discussions. A bit more international flavor than the others, looking at technology beyond social media.

Sample speakers: Google Travel head Neil Coleman, empowerMINT Director Christine Shimasaki and Head of Consumer Engagement and Marketing for Tourism Ireland Bryan Harte.

Who should go? eTourism Summit is a good idea for your Director who is trying to keep that 30,000 foot, integrated marketing view amongst insanely rapid tech and social media changes.

So, divide and conquer if you must, but try to take advantage of as many fall learning opportunities as your budget will allow (and we sure hope that includes BlogWorld!)

This post is by Sheila Scarborough, co-founder with Becky McCray of Tourism Currents, online education in social media for tourism and hospitality. Together they are the track leaders for the BlogWorld tourism track.

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