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.

Blogging Today: What do you need to know and what’s next #BEABloggers

bea bloggersQ&A discussion session

Relationship between publishers and bloggers:

  • feels that publishers know what blogs are and what book bloggers do
  • what kinds of arrangements can publishers help with for book bloggers

Ethics of the relationship

  • expectation – getting a book for free

Does book blogging actually influence book sales?

  • they write about things they love – so their review or share is seen as authentic
  • a way to show the book is gathering interest before it’s publishers (advanced copies)
  • Goodreads guy – thinks yes, they do
  • it’s the beginnings of a grassroots campaign
  • bloggers tend to drive word-of-mouth, which drives traditional media to mention it, which then drives book sales

Do you use social media?

  • Facebook. One person thinks it reaches more people but is less effective
  • Twitter is the key for another person – it drives a lot of traffic, as does Stumbleupon

How to engage community?

  • write for a reader who doesn’t always read book blogs
  • i.e., if there’s a blog with a ton of polls and contests and etc and then an occasional post on-topic, the blog looks like it’s for someone involved in the community

Facebook – very image-focused. Don’t just do a post – add an image to it (more people will click)

How to engage a community that you already have?

  • only post when you feel inspired
  • another person has a rhythm to her blog (certain types of posts on certain days)

How did you develop your own voice on a blog?

  • one panelist was an earlier blogger
  • Just be yourself – you WILL have your own voice

How are ebooks changing what you do?

  • people don’t really care – a book’s a book. It depends…
  • harder for one blog blogger to review an ebook – harder to flip back and forth, etc.
  • much more convenient for travel
  • not the same experience

Anonymity and ebook reading:

  • you can download something and read it, and no one knows what you’re reading

Blogging code of conduct?

  • has more problems on Facebook Page rather than her blog
  • has problems with plagiarism … some bloggers really don’t understand plagiarism, citations, and fair use (me talking)

Making a living from blogging?

  • the blog goes along with the career – one helps the other
  • gets a lot of contacts from the blog

Do blogs have a lifespan?

  • depends.

Lots of Blog Posts Headed Your Way!

BookExpo AmericaJust a head’s up about next week for y’all. On Monday-Thursday, I will be frantically attending three concurrent conferences in New York City:

BEA Bloggers ConferenceAnd if you can believe it, I’ll attempt to blog the whole thing! Well, my view of the whole thing, anyway. So – look for a bunch of session notes type blog posts next week about anything from ebooks and publishers to how to improve a podcast. Maybe even a video or two.

My posts will be heavy on the Blogworld side of things, but there are some really interesting-sounding ebooks/publishers/libraries talks going on too, and I think both you and I will find those interesting!

Yessirree, I will be in geek heaven. Just sayin :-)

Blogworld Expo