Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World #Blogworld

blogworldPresenter: Michael Hyatt

Was CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a very traditional Publisher, he realized that someone needed to figure out new media, so he jumped in with both feet. Nice – more leaders need to do this!

All the world’s a stage – William Shakespeare… and it’s very true today!

164 million blogs. Wow. 1 million new books published last year. Youtube content … etc. point – there is a LOT of noise being created.

You need a platform. A thing to stand on so you can be heard.

Today’s platforms are made of people. Fans, friends, followers.

He started a blog in 2004, mainly to help him think (he thinks better when he writes).

His blog traffic jumped up hugely. 1st four years, he didn’t have much blog traffic. Huge jump in 2008 (from 700 to 20,000 unique visitors). In 2008, he decided to become consistent – two posts a week.

Thought Twitter was silly, but got his family to join, so he cared about who he followed. And he made his executive team sign up.

Most people quit right before the inflection point. So keep going!

Has a new book out – Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Three Benefits to having a platform:

  1. Visibility – provides a way for others to see you
  2. Amplification
  3. Connection

Build Your Platform:

Plank 1: Start with Wow. The gap between someone’s expectations and experience – that’s where you deliver the wow.

But – balance that with shipping. Consistently deliver your product (be that writing, podcasting, etc). Just do it – even if it feels like it’s not the best thing there.

Plank 2: Prepare to launch. It’s a process, not an event. You are the chief marketing officer, and you have to take responsibility for the outcome. Don’t abdicate. If you are a book author – you are in charge. Blog? You are in charge. Etc.

Plank 3: Build your home base. Social Media Framework.

  1. Need a Home Base – a place you own and control (i.e., my blog is my Home Base).
  2. Second element – embassies – social media services that you don’t own or control, but you put regular content there, and send them back to your home base. He has primary and secondary ones.
  3. Third element – outposts. He uses Google Alerts for this. He listens, and answers those questions when needed.

Plank 4: expand your reach. Interruption based marketing (traditional commercials) is dying. Marketing today is sharing. Sharing what you are interested in and passionate about. HE sees a dip in traffic and engagement when he talks about himself.

Plank 5: Engage your tribe. Gave some examples of tribes – Dave Ramsey fans, Harley Davidson fans. Keep comments open. Don’t use those captcha things that are hard to read … don’t make it hard for people to comment.

If you invite people to dinner, and then don’t show up? That’s weird. If you respond to every comment? Also weird.

The 20-to-1 rule. For every withdrawal you make, you need to make about 20 deposits…

Power up your blog: Lessons Learned Over 11 Years of Blogging #Blogworld

blogworld

First up, Tom Webster: Edison Research:

Funny – he read some of his spam for us. I think he does this in a podcast format sometimes.

Next up: Founders of Blogworld. They are changing the name of Blogworld & New Media Expo to … New Media Expo (NMX). Makes sense.

Next up: Chris Brogan

Anyone had the feeling that you just wrote your best post ever, and it goes nowhere … but a throwaway post gets huge? He’s had that (I have too).

“I’m too busy to blog right now” – shut up already. Everyone’s too busy. How do you find time? Don’t get distracted by emails, social media, etc. Write in time bits – 20 minutes or so at a time.

Make a framework for how you blog. For example – find a pic, write something personal first, then write 2-3 paragraphs about the topic, then ask for something at the end. Chris usually writes using this frame.

Practice. Like musicians. Work on having passion in your work.f you have really great technical skills but don’t have passion, you won’t go far.

“I don’t know how to find any topics” – take lots of photos. Then turn it into a post. This gets you out of one type of thinking and into another.

Put emotions into your post. People connect with that.

Making money on your blog – Google Adsense won’t get you too far. Amazon Affiliates won’t get you there either. In fact, most of the ways you find money will be indirectly. Affiliate programs might be useful.

Don’t ever write “sorry, I haven’t written on this blog in awhile.” Just write. Try to get it to once a week.

If you have a huge sidebar with links to Twitter, Youtube, etc – you are sending people away from your content and your home base site.

Don’t worry about being consistent. Especially if you’re just having fun.

If you think of your blog as a business, look at magazines, and figure out what magazine you are.

There are a lot of knobs to fiddle with – don’t pay too much attention to those. He gets lots of questions like “should I use disqus or livefire for comments?” His answer – who cares?

Pride does not replace hard work. He gets lots of praise and lots of criticism. Both are a trap. Believe the praise, and you become a jerk. Don’t believe the haters either. Nothing replaces the hard work. It took Chris 8 years to get his first 100 readers.

Always reply. Don’t suck up to the big guy – talk to the little guys.

The hard work isn’t writing a blog … it’s connecting with people and talking to them with their stuff. Remember their names.

Be yourself, and be brave.

12 Imperative Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger #Blogworld

blogworldPresenter: Jay Baer, @jaybaer

Jay works with other companies to take their blog from good to great. Cool.

He briefly shared his business model or funnel – social – blog – speaking – clients.

Jay’s 12 Imperative Must-Do’s for the Serious Blogger (this was good stuff!):

1. be patient.

  • Give it some time. Don’t get frustrated. Took him 3 years before he made any money for the blog

2. Be specific.

  • What is your blog about? Be someone’s favorite blog. Who are you writing for? Figure that out.
  • They actually make personas for their blog, then write for them. Cool.
  • Sharpen your focus. write 50 headlines of posts you want to create. Identify questions you’ve answered and the topical scatter pattern. Who needs those answers? That’s your audience.
  • Audiences aren’t static. They have changed their focus quite a few times since inception in order to match up better with their goals and their audience. Redesigned for that audience too.
  • Key question: Answer this – “Because of this blog, <specific audience or persona> will <specific benefit>.”

3. Be consistent.

  • You are in the magazine business as a blogger.
  • You are a publisher. Don’t just post when you are inspired or when “you have something to say.” You always have something to say.
  • More = more. The more you post, the more success you will have. If you write more, more people will visit your blog.
  • Share the burden.

4. Embrace variety.

  • If you think it’s not very good, it’s not. If yoga re bored by it, others will be too.
  • Break it up with podcasts, videos, interviews, reformat a presentation. Do at least one non-standard post a week.
  • Again … it’s a magazine. If Sports Illustrated had all the same stuff all the time, it would get boring fast.
  • Best posts of the week… weekly cartoon… uses exam software to do a side/side Skype call, then dumps that to youtube.
  • Awards – do them.
  • Fun thing – Tom reads his spam. Tom does a dramatic reading of one of his spam emails! How fun.

5. Be a YOUtility.

  • How can you actually help people?
  • Helping is the new selling. Give away knowledge snacks to sell information meals.
  • quote to remember – giving someone a list of ingredients doesn’t make them a chef.

6. Find an anchor.

  • a blog post that you can go back to again and again.
  • More of those weekly post thingies. Like a best posts or the week, six interesting links every week, etc.

7. Have a call to action.

  • it’s about behavior, not page views. You are not selling ads. So have a call to action. Make it clean and clear.
  • Key question. After visiting this blog, I want readers to do this. The second best thing is this. At a minimum, they should do this.
  • So figure out what behaviors you are trying to get.

8. Cultivate community. 

  • I Love This Place! Community drives repeat visits and sharing behaviors. Chris Brogan – “the difference between an audience and a community is the direction the chairs are facing.”
  • WFACT – Welcome, Facilitate, Answer, Connect, Thank – cool idea from Valeria Maltoni
  • Vulnerability drives community.
  • If you lose the human element of your blog, you will lose readers.
  • self-validate. Your community isn’t your validation. You are. Blog comments are not a business model – nor even a particularly sound metric. Comments don’t necessarily drive behavior. Those people probably already did the Call to Action…

9. Be Findable.

  • Your most important reader is Google. Always optimize.
  • Every page is the home page. Only 14% actually landed on his actual home page. So don’t put Twitter icons only on the home page. Sign-up page …. etc.
  • Inbound Writer – it helps with optimization. Costs a bit. There’s a WordPress plugin!!!
  • Key question: what search term will people use to find this post in Google realistically?

10. Keep Score.

  • Only some metrics really matter.
  • What is your real goal? Comments, traffic, ReTweets – not real goals. They are links in a chain that possibly get you towards your real goal.
  • Measure behavior, not aggregation. Numbers that are ratios and percentages are usually measuring behavior. Numbers that count up aren’t as useful.
  • Set up goals, funnels, and event tracking in Google Analytics. to measure behaviors that drive sustainability and financial meaning.
  • What he measures:
    • visits to the newsletters page and conversions
    • visits tot he podcast page
    • visits to the speaking page
    • % visits to the consulting page
    • Then he looks at conversions by source – where are they coming from (twitter, blog posts, etc – and what posts or search terms)

11. Embrace Extensibility.

  • Your blog is a trampoline. Or home base. So also live on slideshare, linked in, scribed, comments on other blogs, youtube, interest, instagram, etc.
  • Quote to remember – think small. You need to be a digital dandelion. People can find you in many places.

12. Be sharable.

  • be social, don’t do social.
  • shine the light on others, and the light will shine back on you. If you want to be shared, be a great sharer.
  • Share down, not just up. Find the new peeps and bring them up. Find new voices. Better strategy.
  • Write great headlines. It really matters. Lists work. Unexpected words. Incorporate keywords.

Creating Community & Driving Engagement #BEABloggers

bea bloggersThis was my panel session. I shared the panel with three fabulous people:

We each submitted questions beforehand. Here’s what I submitted (along with my answers). I focused on video and podcasting. This is what I planned to share – what was actually shared was just a little bit of this (panels tend to take on a life of their own once started, which is cool):

10 video questions

1. what equipment do you need to start making video?

  • you probably already have some type of video recorder: smartphone, digital camera, camcorder, webcam.
  • smartphone for audio recording too
  • any basic digital camera with video recording will work great for starters, or your iphone.
  • Nothing fancy until you are ready for it!

2. what software should I use to edit videos?

  • Your computer comes with great software – Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.
  • Or get Adobe Premier Express or Apple’s Final Cut Pro – $100-300 or so.

3. what type of content should be in my video?

  • Thinking author here…
  • promotional video about your new book. Duh. Maybe a series of them!
  • short video about writing process
  • short video about a fun plot twist or character development
  • just a “I’m touching base with my readers” video
  • what are you excited about? Share that.

4. How about podcasting – what’s that, and how is it different from video?

  • Podcasting – audio; video = video. Some people call videos video podcasts.
  • podcasting goes on your iphone, in itunes. Video, not so much.

5. Where should I store my videos or podcasts?

  • Videos – Youtube.
  • Podcasts are harder. Start out with a free tool like Soundcloud. Then you can up that to Libsyn or Blubrry – monthly charge.
  • Videos – might also think about Viddy or Socialcam.

6. What do I do with my videos and podcasts once I upload them?

  • Never just keep them at Youtube! Well, unless you’re Justin Beiber or something.
  • Put them on your blog.
  • Social media – Twitter and Facebook.
  • LinkedIn? Tumblr? Wherever your followers are.

7. How can I make my videos more social? How do I engage viewers or listeners?

  • ASK. Ask for comments. Ask questions. Look at the camera.
  • example – ebooksforlibraries! We asked for petitionn signers. We got em.
  • Youtube – include annotations that point to subscribe, Like, Favorite. Other videos.
  • Make commenting easy – have them on your blog.
  • Ask for specifics – i.e., here are my top 5 – what are yours?

8. Do videos need to be scripted out? I’m not an actor!

  • Depends. Are you good at winging it or talking? Then probably not.
  • scripted Karl out for ebooksforlibraries
  • If you’re like me, you need at least an outline to keep you on track.
  • Edit out the ums and ahs. It’s video/audio, after all.
  • No, you’re not an actor. Just be you. People WANT to hear from you – they buy your books, don’t they?

9. How long should my videos and podcasts be?

  • Videos – under 3 minutes. The shorter the better!
  • Podcasts – can be longer. Think drive time or exercise time length.
  • If you’re interesting, they can be longer. You’ll see dropoff rates in Youtube analytics…

10. OK – I’m making videos and podcasts. How do I take them to the next step?

  • Video – lighting, mics, cameras. Upgrade when you hit a wall (and have the money)
  • Podcasts – mics.
  • Both – content. Make it better! Include your audience! Ze Frank is a great example of including audience in his video series.

So You Want to Make Money? Syndication, Monetization and Affiliate Programs for your Blog #beabloggers

bea bloggersA bunch of panelists in this session, all moderated by Scott Fox of clickmillionaires.com. Lots of ideas on how to monetize a blog in this session. Here are some highlights:

Ron Hogan, founder of beatrice.com

He gave the “Big picture”

won’t make a lot doing a bloom blog. You can make “beer money” – small amounts of money.

Thinks that most categories are already covered, and people gravitate towards established blogs

Rita Arens – senior editor of blogher.com

charge for reading time – at blogger book club, they pay for reviews. There are over 250,000 books published each year, and all those authors are looking for attention.

Have to use disclosures – say if someone sent you the book.

Thea James – co-founder of The Book Smugglers

sweat the small stuff: they use the blogads network for ads. Mostly book ads that are tailored to their content.

also use affiliate programs like Amazon Affiliates.

Sarah Pitre – founder of Forever Young Adult

build community through social media to drive visitors and page views.

started a store – tshirts, stickers – made them a decent amount of money.

Also found a company that sponsors them. They get server space and help them build a community.

Amazon Affiliates – people feel comfortable with Amazon, and have probably used them – so it’s an accepted link. An independent bookstore like Powell’s isn’t as well known, so people might not feel as comfortable clicking that link.

Other thoughts (don’t remember who said what here):

They don’t use Google Adsense for the most part

claim that you don’t have control over content

claim that you don’t have design control

me – none of those were correct … but whatever :-)

another panelist corrected that (thanks!)

No one’s making money through syndication (no one on stage, anyway).

If you blog for someone else (i.e., Huffington Post) – you are building an audience for someone else. If you quite and start blogging somewhere else, you won’t necessarily ba able to take that audience with you.

Attracting traffic:

Stumbleupon – can work well. Try to stand out.