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.

Posting and Traffic

Chris Brogan posts this simple observation – “the more you post, the more traffic you get.” Then he qualifies that a bit (ie., reasonably good content). Simple, yet powerful point.

Now – what about your organization? Think about your blog, or your Twitter feed, or your Facebook Page. Getting traffic there? If not … are you posting regularly?

My library’s website is a blog-based site, and we post quite a bit. Individually, it’s not regular, but it ends up looking like we post a lot (cause lots of us post). And over the year, our traffic HAS gone up.

But we can improve our process (which will probably look a bit like strategic planning, goal-setting, and putting our blog posts on more of a regular schedule). More on that next year.

How can you improve your organization’s blog post/content/social media process? Cause I bet, if you sit down and think about it for 10 minutes or so, that you CAN.

pic by Chris Brogan

Free State Social – Chris Brogan #fssocial

Chris BroganI’m attending the Free State Social event in Lawrence, KS. Chris Brogan was the first speaker, and here are the things I jotted down from his talk:

Title: Adjusting Your Marketing Spend and Tactics for Social Media

He started off having mic problems, and used that to remind us “it’s not about the tools.”

Going to a conference without a goal is sorta like going to a grocery store without a recipe in mind. So figure out what you want answered, then get those questions answered.

ROI with social media: How much did I get out of this free tool? Anything over one dollar is ROI!

Everyone is a sales person. Appreciated that Chris said to translate money into whatever for non profits. He gets it.

Grow bigger ears – use listening tools to listen to your community – what they’re saying, etc

One to many communication can be a problem – it’s so much better doing many to many, assuming everyone plays along.

What costs more – great customer service or a marketing campaign?

Don’t start your email with the “can’t view this? Click here for text” question. It makes you look bad.

Every time you have answered a question in email, you’ve blown an opportunity to answer for lots of people. Every time you create a brochure, you’ve done the same thing.

Shouldn’t have a social media department – instead, those people should be in sales , marketing, etc.

Treat your communities as gold. Go to the bookstore, get a relationship book, and replace your significant other with your customers, your office, etc. Because it’s much the same thing (ok, except for the romance part).

SAS (the company) – they listen to their customers,then  make stuff for them based on what they say they want.

Three important things to do with social media – listening, connecting, publishing

Connecting – comment on their blogs. Be real, like when you talk to people in real life. Don’t include your URL at the bottom of a comment – it looks like spam.

Publishing – go create something. Doing something.

Chris devotes 2 hours to social media a day. 30 minutes listening. 60 minutes connecting. 30 minutes publishing.

Where’s the GPS for your business? Figure out your destination, then figure out how to get there.

The 24th Thing

I’ve been enjoying reading Chris Brogan’s blog recently, and his post titled The Target is Not the Weapon made me think. Here are some quotes:

“In social media, the tools aren’t the same thing as reaching a goal. If you’re a marketer looking to use these tools, then make the first goal to learn how the community moves, listen to its ebbs and flows, and then make the next goal to try starting conversations.”

and

“If you’re seeking to hit a target, is the goal to use a dart or an arrow or a bullet, or is it to improve your accuracy, or is it simply to hit the bullseye? The answer is C, even though A and B are part of the equation.”

Now apply that to libraries. Say a library wants to start a blog. Is the goal to have five posts a week, to have a cool blog, to learn how to blog, or even to share what’s happening at the library? Those are all ok goals… but they’re LITTLE goals. How about these goals:

  • connect with your community in a real way
  • connect with a new, online user base
  • start real conversations with patrons
  • become an active community resource (sorta like your physical library)
  • once you’ve connected… figure out how best to meet these patron’s special needs.

Remember Helene Blowers’ Learning 2.0 / 23 Things? Maybe your 24th thing should be this: figure out what your real target is, and how these emerging tools and trends work into that equation.