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The Life-Changing Move I Made When I Wanted to Quit Blogging


Feel like your blog has stalled? I’ve been there. Today’s post is a pretty personal one for me.

I think all bloggers get to a point where they plateau. Your content is great, but you don’t have any more readers than you did last month. You’re enjoying what you’re doing, but the blog isn’t paying the bills. You read all the top blogs about blogging, but the tips and tricks they post don’t really seem to be working for you.

I’ve been there. I’ve completely stalled out and wanted to quit, so today, I thought I’d tell you all the story of how I got past it.

My Beginnings

My personal blogging story begins in 2006 when I was still in college. I got hired to work for a now-defunct blogging network where I ran three different blogs, and later I moved on to working for b5media, a place where other NMX-ers past and present also got their start.

It wasn’t long before I started thinking, “Hey, I’m spending all of this time blogging for other people. Why don’t I just do it myself?”

I went into the whole “blogging for yourself” thing convinced that I’d be the next big name on the virtual block inside six months or so. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but what did happen is that I started learning all I could about blogging and how to do it better.

So from 2007 to 2009, I built my blogs, as well as continuing to blog for other people. Things went well, but I was soon extremely frustrated with my lack of growth. I quit some of my blogs and blogging jobs. I considered quitting others. I was ready to just get a “real job” and forget this whole online entrepreneur thing once and for all.

And Then I had a Major Breakthrough

Obviously, I did not quit, as I’m writing this little post for you today. So what changed? Easy; I did one thing that I had not been doing before and it completely turned things around.

I invested in education.

I had spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (my own, my parents’ and in scholarships) to go to a four-year school and major in Professional Writing, but I never once spent a dime learning how to be a better blogger. Certainly, you don’t need a degree to be successful in your career, but you absolutely do need education. And I was lacking it.

The truth of the matter is that you can read this blog or other blogs about blogging all day long, but it isn’t the same as actually investing in an educational program, like the one we offer at NMX.

Actually, the first educational program I bought wasn’t NMX (BlogWorld at the time), but rather a membership to a blogging 101 program. The information in this program wasn’t really what I wanted, to be honest (I was looking for something more advanced), but it sparked something inside of me. Every “learning module” was something I already knew, but I had gotten lax in my blogging duties. Now that I was paying for it, I felt like I needed to listen to what I was being taught. So, I spruced up my content and monetization efforts, as well as made improvements to the way I was promoting my work via social media and email. Immediately, my stats across the board jumped up, and it wasn’t just a random spike. It was actually working.

The Best Think I Ever Did for My Blog

Then, I did the best thing I have ever done for my blog to date: I attended my first BlogWorld. It literally changed my life.

Now, I’m sure that you’ll take what I say with a grain of salt, since I now work full-time for NMX (previously BlogWorld). But anyone who knows me knows that there’s no way I’d ever work for a company I didn’t believe in 100%. When I say attending this event was the best move of my career, I’m not exaggerating. I had drinks with a-list bloggers. I made partnership deals with others who have since become some of my closest professional friends. I soaked up so much information that it was almost overwhelming, and when I got home, I took my personal blogs to levels they had never before seen.

Not to mention that I’m now courted for consulting and blogging jobs within the new media industry. I went from being a no-name blogger struggling with the tempting idea of quitting to someone who is not only proud of the blogs she has built, but cringing at the thought of ever having to give up this work.

So I hope that you’ll join me at NMX this January. I’m confident that you’ll have a similar experience – that investing in your education as a blogger (or podcaster or video producer) will be the best thing you could have ever done for your career.

And while in Vegas, definitely get in touch with me. I’d love to meet up and trade blogging war stories!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

How to Choose Affiliate Products to Promote


Missy Ward at BlogWorld Content creators talk often about the importance of being passionate about your niche…but what about the products you promote? This was one of the topics Missy Ward covered during her session BlogWorld & New Media Expo New York 2012. Missy is the Co-Founder & President of Affiliate Summit Inc., so she knows a thing or two about promoting products. But believe it or not, it still comes down to one tip: do what you love.

The Sacred Bond of Trust

When you don’t love what you’re promoting, it’s hard to create content around it. Your fans are smart; they will smell it if you’re being insincere or simply not that interested in the product you’re promoting. And when they do realize that you’re promoting something you don’t necessarily love yourself, that bond of trust with you will be broken. Those readers will be less likely to buy products you promote in the future…and they might even stop trusting the non-affiliate information you’re sharing.

People read your blog or listen to your podcasts or watch your videos, in most cases, because they like getting their information from you. Fans grow to know you, and if you prove to be deceiving them in any way (or they feel like you are), it can be hard to win back their love.

The Ethics of Choosing Affiliate Programs

Of course, when we’re talking about choosing affiliate programs, ethics also come into play. FTC regulations say that you have to disclose affiliations when you’re making money, and this includes when you’re given a free product to review, even if you weren’t actually paid. When you’re promoting affiliate products, you certainly must disclose this relationship. Being transparent isn’t just a matter of making sure you aren’t deceiving fans. It’s also about the law. Don’t get hit with a huge fine because you neglected disclosure rules.

Making Your Job Easier

Lastly, when choosing affiliate products to promote, remember that when you know and love a product, it automatically because easier for you to tell others about it. I don’t know about you, but my time is valuable and in short supply. When you actually use a product, you don’t have to do tons of additional research; you can simply write/speak from the heart.

Other factors may also come into play when choosing an affiliate product to promote, and of course, Missy talked about other aspects of product promotion as well during her BlogWorld & New Media Expo presentation. To hear the entire session, check out our virtual ticket (if you were at the conference but missed Missy’s session, you can add on a virtual ticket for a discounted price by emailing registration@blogworldexpo.com). But you have to hurry! Prices for the virtual ticket go up soon, so you don’t want to miss out on the current price!

BlogWorld TV: 5 Questions with Mark Lassoff, Interview with Shane Ketterman

mark Lassoff
mark Lassoff

Mark Lassoff

In this week’s BlogWorld TV, I sit down with Mark Lassoff. He is the co-founder of LearntoProgram.tv – a website that helps people understand different programming languages. If you are looking to learn HTML, AJAX, CSS and HTML5, then check out his site.

Mark talks about his reasons for going to BlogWorld & New Media Expo. He is a business owner who wants to make sure he’s doing things right with social media. Of course, there is also the hint of social media in programming.

Shane Ketterman

Shane Ketterman

I also talk about my newest purchase – the Cerevo Live Shell. I will be walking around BlogWorld & New Media Expo live streaming from the camera. It’s a great experiment in using a single camera stream.

Lastly, I sit down to talk with Shane Ketterman – the BlogWorld & New Media Expo conference director. Shane talks about all the people that put together the tracks, and how he helped coordinate the keynotes. He is really excited to see some of the speakers in this conference. It is definitely impressive.


New Media News Break: Moving to Vegas, Klout on the Go, TED-Ed, and more


Every week, we post a New Media News Break to help catch you up with what’s going on in the world of new media and get you through the work week. Here are this week’s top stories:

BlogWorld Heads Back to Las Vegas!

I might be a little biased, but I think one of the most exciting new media news stories of the week is that BlogWorld is heading back to Las Vegas, where it first got started. Our east coast event took place in Los Angeles last year, and while this location was fun, our community – you guys – asked to go back to Vegas, and we listened. We’re really excited to be at the beautiful RIO, and our conference will also overlap with CES, which means you can get double the bang for your travel buck, hitting both conferences in a single trip rather than having to plan and pay for several different flights. Our initial post about the move has a great discussion about heading to Las Vegas and more information about this event, which will be held in January 2013.

Klout Goes Mobile

Four months ago, Klout announced app plans, and this week, they finally released a version for iPhone, with plans for an Android version in the future. What’s cool about this app is that you don’t have to open it to see your Klout score; instead, you can just choose to have your score displayed on the icon. You can’t give out +Ks with this app (yet), but there are a lot of other functions available with the Klout app, which you can read about on Mashable’s story about this new way to use Klout while on the go. While getting too wrapped up in Klout isn’t necessarily a good thing, I do think there are definite benefits to tracking your score, as it allows you to see how you can improve with using social media.

The Sioux City Journal Creates a Blog-Like Issue

Newspapers are losing money and going bankrupt across the country as more and more people move to getting their news online, but that doesn’t mean there are no papers out there doing interesting things. This past weekend, The Sioux City Journal took a very unconventional approach to their Sunday paper, devoting the entire front cover to a message about stopping bully after a local teen died from self-inflicted injuries due to bullying about being gay. I think the paper looks almost blog-like, which is a pretty interesting concept. Could more content like this be the answer to newspapers’ problems? (Not that print news publications should capitalize on tragedies, but I think the idea of rethinking content to be more blog-like is an interesting one.)

TED-Ed Allows you to Create Comprehensive Lessons with YouTube

The new TED-Ed site is now making it easier for educators, especially online educators, to “flip” YouTube videos into lessons for their students. It’s actually a really cool concept that allows you to add supplemental content to videos by asking questions or adding additional resources. While the concept was initially designed for teachers, I think it would also be interesting to see how online content creators use this new ability as well to create some online courses. It’s definitely a tool worth checking out, especially if you are a video creator, vlogger, video podcasters, or blogger thinking about adding videos to your text content.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

Myth Busting at BlogWorld LA


… by Alex Banayan

It was invigorating. Attending the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Los Angeles was like attending a conference for TV in the early 1930’s—an opportunity to see the future of media with my own eyes.

To be honest, I entered the conference with a few misconceptions. However, after attending BlogWorld, those myths were instantly busted.

MYTH #1: Learning is best done in the classroom (or in this case, the panel room)

As a bootstrapped college student, I was upset that I couldn’t afford the full conference ticket. Although the expo-ticket gave me access to the keynotes and the exposition floor, it did not give me access to the numerous panels throughout the weekend. I soon realized, however, that everyone I talked to, whether at one of the planned mixers or just sitting on a bench beside me, was an expert in their own niche. This realization turned the entire conference upside-down for me.

Instead of simply waiting in anticipation for the keynotes, I began turning to the people seated next to me and asking them questions. The breadth and depth of expertise found amongst the attendees of BlogWorld blew me away. I met incredible people, ranging from an older woman from Ireland who was a podcasting expert, to a young Canadian guy who was a social media consultant for the restaurant industry. With every new conversation I felt as if I was hitting the “I’m feeling lucky” button on Google—always getting something of value while still being a bit surprised by what I found.

For the first time in my life, BlogWorld gave me the opportunity to learn directly from experts in the field. As a student, I always thought that learning was best done in the controlled environment of a classroom. But after attending BlogWorld I learned that I could engage some of the greatest gurus in the industry on the expo floor, in the hallway, or even at a party.

MYTH #2: Blogging is just a hobby

I began the conference with the naïve thought that blogging is to young adults as knitting is to old people—something they do in their spare time. I knew there were a lot of people who are full-time bloggers, but I had no idea how indubitable of a business it actually is.

While listening to the founder of the SocialMediaExaminer, I learned how he created an entire business model with a blog as its main course and he would then monetize the side dishes (by creating online conferences, by selling extra tools, etc). Not only did I hear about all these ideas, but I also learned how to implement them—and that is what I was really curious about. I learned how bloggers get sponsored posts, how they work with brands for product placement, and even how they negotiate to get free promotional items to giveaway to their readers.

I was blown away when I learned that major advertising agencies work with bloggers the same way they do with television networks. I’m sure this sounds sophomoric to you pros out there, but this was entirely new to me. The tremendous business opportunities available in new media is definitely not being taught in my business school’s curriculum.

MYTH #3: Bloggers are just like any other kind of writer

There was a certain culture—dare I say, a gravitas—to the people at BlogWorld. Think: New York publishing ambition crossed with Silicon Valley edge. It was simply awesome.

I made some incredible friends at BlogWorld, and we are still in touch today. Plus, there was an essence of openness, authenticity, and generosity at the event that is rare for a college student to experience (campus career fairs usually look like an episode of Survivor).

I know some people like to calculate ROI (return on investment), so here is my final breakdown:

  • The cost of attending BlogWorld was .04% of a year’s tuition for me
  • The returns included:
    • Receiving an eye-opening education in the future of media while making fascinating new friends
    • Being asked to write as a featured contributor for Yahoo! Finance
    • Meeting people ranging from the Chief Marketing Officer of Ford to the author of The End of Business as Usual
    • Getting a dozen new t-shirts, ha!
    • And best yet… I won a 32GB iPad by simply spinning a wheel at one of the expo booths [I know—it was unreal!]

Overall, it is pretty clear that BlogWorld was hands down one of the best events I’ve ever been to.

Most people idly sat by as newspapers emerged, and then radio, and then television. Today, the world is getting hit by the wave of blogging and new media. If you want to surf on the edge of this wave instead of wading in the water, be sure to give the next BlogWorld Expo some serious thought. I’m sure I’ll see you there next year!

Alex Banayan is an author, speaker, and a full-time undergraduate student at the University of Southern California. You can read more about Alex on hisblog, or you can connect with him on his facebook page.

Ford’s Exclusive Invitation to #BWELA Attendees


In conjunction with BlogWorld and Ford Motor Company, the Los Angeles Auto Show would like to cordially invite you to attend the exclusive Auto Show Press Days Nov 16 & 17.  The LA Auto Show is one of the top automotive industry events worldwide and will host more than 50 significant World and North American vehicle debuts.  As the first major auto show of the new model season, thousands of media will gather with top industry executives to learn what is in store for the future of the automotive industry.

  • Witness 25 press conferences featuring more than 50 World and North American Debuts
  • Learn about the latest in-car technology and see how cars are rapidly becoming the ultimate personal assistant
  • Drive 30 of the latest electric and alt fuel vehicles from 16 different brands during the Green Car LA Auto Show Ride on Nov 17
  • See a dozen concept cars offering a glimpse into the future of transportation

To qualify for Press days please visit the Ford Exhibit at Blog World and either have your photo taken and share it online or download and share Ford’s mobile app in and around the show.   Ask someone at the desk in the Ford booth to take your contact information and Ford will submit it to the LA Auto Show Press Days registration department.

Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011


Technorati’s annual State of the Blogosphere report was being unveiled at BlogWorld 2011 right now! We’re live-blogged the event, as stats were announced by Technorati Media CEO, Shani Higgins (along with host Mitch Joel from Six Pixels of Separation and Mikal Belicove from Entrepreneur Magazine). Thanks to everyone who came to #BWELA…if you weren’t there, here are the important points:

  • 4,114 bloggers were surveyed by Penn Schoen Berland, 1,231 consumers were surveyed by Crowd Source, and for the first time, 111 senior level agency and brand markets were interviewed, with more interviews to come.
  • 61% of bloggers are hobbyists.
  • 59% are male (down from 64%)
  • Bloggers are educated and affluent – about 79% have college degrees.
  • Bloggers have an average of three blogs.
  • 80% have been blogging for 2+years and 50% have been blogging 4+ years.
  • Bloggers measure success first and foremost by personal satisfaction (61%). Most blog to share their expertise with others (70%).
  • 66% of professional bloggers use Google+ (59% of all bloggers use it).
  • Probloggers use Twitter more than Facebook, but both are popular.
  • The average blogger has 847 followers on bloggers (probloggers have more).
  • 75% of probloggers and 50% of all bloggers have separate Facebook accounts for their blogs.
  • Only about 13% of bloggers syndicate on Google+.
  • LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Stumble Upon, Del.isio.is, Picasa, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Digg are the next most popular social networks (in that order).
  • Twitter drive the most traffic overall, though Facebook drives the most social media traffic. (Tagging your blog posts and commenting for reciprocity are also high traffic drivers.)
  • The top tools for bloggers are: social sharing widgets, built-in syndication, providing site search on your blog, video hosting sites, widgets from other sites, trackbacks, photo hosting, and commenting systems beyond the traditional blog platform system).
  • Blogs outpaced other media for inspiration, product information, and opinion. They won out over traditional media in all categories except news information.
  • Consumers still trust convos with friends and family first. Friends of Facebook come second.
  • The number one influence for bloggers is other bloggers (68%). This is a huge jump from only 30% in 2010.
  • 2/3 of bloggers blog about brands. 1/3 post brand/product reviews and 1/3 post about everyday experiences in stores or with customer care.
  • 1/3 of pros publish product reviews once a week or more.
  • 2/3 of pros are approached 8 times a week by brands.
  • It is very important for bloggers to choose advertising that aligns with their values. This is up from 10% last year.
  • Last year, 33% of bloggers encouraged readers to boycott brands. This year, that number was 25%.
  • The biggest complaint with brands was that 60% of bloggers say they are treated less professionally by brands than traditional media is being treated.
  • Only 15% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as very favorable.
  • Less than 25% say brands provide value or are knowledgeable about their brands.
  • 86% of bloggers disclose when a post was sponsored or paid. 58% disclose when they receive a product for review. (Alarming, since the FTC now requires disclosure.)
  • The majority of brand social media professionals have only been using social media for 1-2 years. 34% have their own blogs.
  • Brands most commonly measure success on social media with followers, friends, likes, and social sharing.
  • Some of the biggest changes brands saw in 2011 were that individuals trust bloggers, the subject matter needs to fit the brand, and it’s about building small pieces of content to entertain. In the future, they see that social media is a campaign leader, not just a supporter.
  • 4% of bloggers and 37% of full time pros say that blogging is their primary source of income. 14% receive a salary for blogger.
  • Only about 6% of bloggers write sponsored posts, but most make less than $50 per post.
  • Only about 1/4 are blogging weekly or more. Most can’t quit their day job (yet).

Head to Technorati to read the entire State of the Blogosphere report. And don’t forget, you can check out the BlogWorld virtual ticket to get the entire presentation and listen to all of the other awesome new media sessions at BlogWorld.

Blogging, Business, and Life Tips from Peter Shankman


Weren’t able to join us for this year’s BWELA? You missed a great opening keynote from Peter Shankman! Here are some of the highlights:

  • “The Internet…has become the world’s largest etch-a-sketch.”

We’re all trying new techniques and tools. The Internet is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things, so you have to keep testing things to see what works – and everyone is doing it.

  • “Everyone tells your to have a back up plan when you fail…Have a back up plan for when you succeed.”

Peter told a great story about creating a video that made fun of Ironman racers. He got a few hundred views after sending it to his friends, but imagine his surprise to find out the next day that it had been retweeted six thousand times and views were going through the roof. Turns out, Lance Armstrong happened upon it and tweeted it. Peter was unprepared – didn’t have any contact info or anything associated with the video, so he missed out on tons of traffic to his site. Be prepared for your successes!



  • “Bad writing will kill your business faster than cancer.”

Invest in time to learn to write properly. Learn the difference between there, they’re, and their. Don’t write in abbreviations (leet speak). Be professional. This is your business, and intelligent writing is important.

  • “Become top of mind…Say hi. Start the conversation.”

Peter gave a great suggestion: Go to Facebook and find ten people you haven’t spoken with in the past six months. Then, do one of two things: start a conversation or delete them as a friend. Staying on the top of someone’s mind is the best way to get new business. You want your name to come to mind when a friend is looking for a recommendation, and if you haven’t spoken with them in six months, that’s not going to happen.

  • “Do something so great that people want to promote it for you.”

You can tell someone how great you are until you’re blue in the face, but it means little unless others are talking about you too. Do something awesome and you won’t have to promote it. (Liz Strauss said the same thing in her session, so it must be true!)

  • “If you don’t have haters, you’re not doing enough to change the status quo.”

When you’re success, there will always be people who dislike you. That’s how you’re doing something right! You can’t spend too much time worrying about the haters, so do what you do best and follow your passion.

  • “You will never be on your deathbed saying I wish I would have worked more.”

I personally think that Peter’s best advice was to get out there and live life. We tend to forget that as bloggers and business owners, but at the end of your life it’s not just about being successful; it’s also about loving what you’re doing. So spend some time with your family, have fun with friends, and enjoy the little things!

This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, so consider checking out the virtual ticket to access the entire keynote and all of BlogWorld’s other 2011 West sessions! Also awesome: Peter is offering two free months of the premium addition of HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which is awesome for getting media mentions! Just use the code 2moadv56737 and tell all your friends!

About the Speaker

Peter Shankman is a blogger, an author, and the founder of Help A Reporter Out, (HARO), which connects journalists on a deadline with sources who’s like to be quoted in the media. Peter is also the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Social Media, Marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City and you can find him blogging at http://shankman.com. He’s the author of (Wiley and Sons 2006) and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social-Enabled World (Que/Pearson, 2010). Follow him on Twitter @petershankman.

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!

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