If it’s on Your website – is it your opinion?

Close_The_Libraries_And_Buy_Everyone_An_Amazon_Kindle_Unlimited_SubscriptionIn my last post, I purposefully title it “Forbes Wants to Close Libraries.” Why?

Well – I was critiquing an article on Forbes website.

The article is written by a “contributor.” Apparently, you can fill out a form (and probably do a lot more stuff) to be able to post as a contributor at Forbes.

And guess what? Forbes wants you to write for them, but doesn’t want to necessarily be associated with the content that contributors write.

Under the contributor’s names and photos is a tiny statement that says: “Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.”

Well yeah. It’s an opinion piece, after all.

Here’s my problem with that idea:

  1. It’s on Forbes website. Look at the image in this post – Even though Forbes wants to make sure you know that it’s not THEIR opinion that’s being expressed … it sure does look like it’s coming from Forbes to me!
  2. When the opinion piece gets cited … it will be cited as coming from Forbes.

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck …

I know – magazines and newspapers have always had opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and love using that “opinions expressed are not held by the organization” statement.

I’m just not sure it works all that well in an online setting. Either own the content on your site (like Techcrunch, Mashable, etc do) or don’t post it.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Salem Library Blog Awards – Honorable Mention!

Cool – I received an honorable mention in the Salem Press Library Blog Awards for 2012! They put me in the “Public Libraries” category, which works fine (since I work at one, after all). Apparently Bobbi Newman and I were neck and neck in that category (just between you and me, I’d probably vote for her too, ’cause she rocks the blog!).

Thank you to Salem Press, to the judges, and to anyone who voted. It’s pretty cool to be mentioned in such good company, I have to say!

It’s cool to be recognized for good work. But you know what? There are a LOT of amazingly great blogs listed on the blog awards page, and I think ALL of them are winners. You guys – you other library blog writers. You put in a huge amount of work, some of you multiple times a week. And here’s the thing – your blog isn’t part of your job. It’s something you do on the side. For kicks (yep – we’re weird that way).

You might do it for fun, or to be “published,” or to share thoughts with others. Some of you might think of it as a second job. I’d guess that some of you really haven’t thought much about your blog at all, other than getting that nagging … “wow. This is cool. I must share it!” feeling that comes right before hitting the publish button.

In my book, you guys ALL get awards. If you’re listed on the Salem Press Blog Awards site, you get an award. If you just started a blog and you’re pumping out great content – you get an award too! So here’s the DLK You Rock the Blog Award (link is here) – Take it. Use it. You deserve it. Be proud of what you do!

And make sure to check out all the Salem Press list of award winners. Every one of those blogs is worth reading. Thanks, Salem Press!

 

All my Notes from BlogWorld Expo #bweny #BEA #beabloggercon

New York CityFor those interested, here’s a list of all my notes from Blogworld Expo, BookExpo America, and the BEA Bloggers conference in one handy place.

There’s some really good stuff here – but it’s a LOT to go through, too. I know I will be going through these, sharing some at work, and pondering others for my own blog. Enjoy!

Blogworld sessions:

BEA Sessions:

BEA Blogger’s Conference sessions:

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.