July 25, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

RSS and Permission Marketing 2.0

Just wanted to point your attention to another in a great series of posts from Brian Clark of Copyblogger.

This one’s called Permission Marketing 2.0, a riff on Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing and the fact that anything being revisited today needs to have a 2.0 on it to be taken seriously. Kind of like dot com in the late nineties.

One of my favorite lines…

Somewhere along the way, people became overly obsessed with search and forgot everything else. Many businesses today would disappear if their rankings tanked. And that’s no way to run a business.

Too true.

So what is PM2.0? It’s all about RSS my friends. Read on….

Scraped Blog Content and Google Adwords

There’s something rotten in the state of the blogosphere.

Like most neo-narcisists, I have a Google Alert going on my name, or more specifically, the name of my company. Every day, I get reports on posts I’ve done that mention “flyte,” or traffic reports involving people named “Flyte,” or updates on the Brideshead Revisited movie that may or not be made, or, more recently, seeing my work appear without my permission at other blogs.

These blogs have invariably scraped content from a post of mine, sometimes w/credit, sometimes w/o, and used the content w/o comment to sell Google Ads. Of course, anyone coming to the site will invariably click on one of those ads, because the scraped content is often incomplete and thus incoherent. For example:

Although there are several Web sites dedicated to organizing and promoting To start, I?d recommend using a hosting service that specializes in Podcasts. His podcast, flyte: Web strategies for small business, is available at

Yeah, I’d be proud of that.

Each time I find content that’s been scraped selling Adwords I report it to Google. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the link that says “Ads by Goooooogle.”
  2. Scroll down the following page and click on “Send Google your thoughts on the site or the ads you just saw.”
  3. Click on the “Also report a Violation?” link.
  4. Report to Google that this blog/site is scraping content from your blog (assuming they are.)

If it’s a Blogger blog you can also flag it for in appropriate content.

Unfortunately, I’m concerned that Google’s not concerned enough. After all, they make money every time someone clicks on one of these ads. While I like the people at Google, and I think they’re bright and they want to do the right thing, this may be a case of the fox guarding the chicken coop.

Recently, Search Engine Roundable reported that Google had a patent application named “Detecting spam documents in a phrase based information retrieval system,” so maybe they’re taking it seriously.

However, until they do take it seriously bloggers need to be watching that their own content isn’t being scraped and Adwords advertisers should probably require that their ads only appear at Google, and not on 3rd party sites.

How Not to Handle the Blogosphere

Posted by: of Expansion Plus on 01/5/07

ABC/Disney is on the warpath against Spocko, a media critic who took umbrage to some of the content aired on KSFO-AM.According to Media Post the conflict stems from Spocko’s criticism of a right-wing talk show that had some comments that were particularly venomous.

Disney has spooked Spocko’s Internet service provider into taking down the blog–but Spocko isn’t giving up the fight just yet. He’s contacted the Electronic Friont Foundation and intends to continue the fight – legally if necessary.  And what might have been a storm in a teacup has become a very public fight – and we’re all blogging about it.

A good lesson in how not to deal with negative comments online.

 

PR Gets Heads Up About Blogs

Posted by: of Expansion Plus on 01/4/07

The Daily ‘Dog, the daily newsletter from Bulldog Reporter that goes to over 40 000 PR professionals in the US has a Pulse of PR survey on the site right now that shows more than half of the respondents regard blogs and new media as the trend that will most impact PR in 2007.

Yes, it’s an informal survey, and we don’t know how many people have responded so far.  But it is an indicator.  The  number two item is ‘online media will continue to splinter into micro-granular niche outlets’.  So I htink it’s safe to say PR has got the heads up.  Online PR, new media, blogs and RSS feeds will be on their radar in the coming year.

About time, too. Marketers have seen the light – and it is a train coming the other way – the Cluetrain. Search results are affecting brand perception and conversations are in full cry online. Corporate communicators need to learn how to join the online conversation.

 

A case study in pitching bloggers

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 12/20/06

I was going to let this one go, but Paul Chaney suggested I write this up as a post on how not to and how to pitch bloggers to write up stories for their blogs.

This morning I got an e-mail pitch from a PR company to write about a pretty cool use of blogs and real estate.  This isn’t too unusual for me, not as common as say Scoble, who just gave me an obscene number of e-mails to look for blog fodder for the PodTech blog, but it happens.  The story, like I said, was interesting, but immediately I saw a problem.  The company that did the blog was Paul’s company Blogging Systems, which would be fine except that Jim Turner and I work together in a competing company One By One Media.  So I couldn’t really give Paul and co. props without twisting it to also highlight the work that Jim and I do with OBO.

I replied with a polite e-mail back the the PR person, copying Paul, asking how Paul might want to handle this.  Then the PR guy calls me to talk about it.  Well, I explain, Paul and I are friends, but we’re also competitors.  Oh.  Wait, it gets better.  The PR company in question is Lee Odden’s company!  So we have four bloggers involved in this, who all know each other, and all contribute here too!  Yeah I told you it got better.  This is why this makes a great case study.  This is no fault of Lee’s or Paul’s, don’t worry guys.

So first thing about pitching bloggers is you have to do your research.  Not just, oh he/she blogs about business, you have to dig deeper you have to look into who that blogger is connected to on the blogosphere.  Who does he/she work for (and there could be several alliances there)?  Where does he/she contribute?

Bloggers are a very social and interconnected bunch.  We often wear many hats and have several gigs going at the same time. We also tend to know everyone in our niche, friends will help friends but we have to draw the line at competitors (even if they are friends).  Researching the blogger will help with this little problem.

Next you need to contact the blogger before the first pitch to find out if they are interested in being pitched.  Some bloggers don’t want to be pitched.  Others, like me, don’t mind, but I do like to be asked first (I’ve even blogged about this).

I don’t think the person pitching me really knew who I was.  If he had asked Paul or Lee they would have told him … yeah great blogger, bad choice for this pitch.  Let me sum up my recommendations for PR folks pitching bloggers:

  • Do your research first
  • Don’t e-mail out of the blue with a pitch
  • Don’t call on the phone right away to push your pitch
  • Do tell the blogger why they were picked.
  • Don’t just say “I think this would be interesting for your blog” , unless you’ve already established a relationship with the blogger
  • Don’t be offended if they pass
  • Do thank them if they post
  • Do track mention of the pitch topic, you might be getting slammed or miss a great post

Like I said, this the best part of this story is the whole interconnectedness of the whole thing.  Paul, Lee, Jim, and I all know each other and contribute here.  Again, this is no fault of Paul or Lee.  I’m sure they will get a chuckle out of it.

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Ten tips and strategies for social media for the Fortune 1000

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 12/18/06

I’ve only recently started to get to know Jeremiah Owyang and his blog, something to do with the fact that he works at PodTech and I’ve just started blogging there.  Regardless Jeremiah has posted 10 (and I’d say killer) strategies for social media for the Fortune 1000 set.

1) Social Media is about people.
2)
Communities are the goal, conversations are the verb.
3)
Let go to gain more.
4) Measurement will be important.
5)
Organize internally.
6) Risk of the unknown.
7) Social Media goes deep in the organization.
8)
Social Media goes wide in the organization.
9)
Social Media spans time.
10) Social Media is not magic nor voodoo.

These are basic, simple and, I think, pragmatic.  Paul has a good series of e-mails going on this (B .L.  Ochman and Toby Bloomberg … and dern I owe him an e-mail) on this very topic.

I expect to see a lot more of this in 2007.

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Will 2007 see the death of blogging?

Posted by: of Expansion Plus on 12/18/06

The analysts at Gartner have made their predictions for 2007 and they say that blogging will peak next year and all the hype will fizzle out.

One of their top 10 predictions for 2007 is that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide. The reason: most people who would ever dabble with web journals already have. Those who love it are committed to keeping it up, while others have got bored and moved on, said Daryl Plummer, chief Gartner fellow.

“A lot of people have been in and out of this thing,” Plummer said. “Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they’re put on stage and asked to say it.”

Well, that certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons!

It got a flood of media coverage and many bloggers weighed in too.  Does this mean blogging will suddenly die and go away.  No, the Gartner gurus say it will level off and the rapid growth we’ve seen with the blogosphere doubling every 6 months will go away.

There may well be 200 million ex-bloggers, but dedicated bloggers with a real voice and an audience will continue to keep the conversation alive.  And many of them are business bloggers.  C level execs are only just getting comfortable with blogs and blogging. They’ve seen the success of business bloggers like Jonathan Schwartz of Sun.

“The trend is, I think, irreversible at this point,” said Shel Holtz in the USAToday article. “You’re having businesses that are showing some substantive results with well-thought-out, strategically planned corporate blogs.”

And that’s what businesses are after – substantive results.

 

 

 

FTC May Regulate Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 12/14/06

The Washington Post is reporting the Federal Trade Commission may regulate word-of-mouth marketing and require full-disclosure.

The Federal Trade Commission yesterday said that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.

In a staff opinion issued yesterday, the consumer protection agency weighed in for the first time on the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on such marketing, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.

I’ve ranted about the PayPerPost, need for full-disclosure debacle a couple of times and have one more such rant in me, which I’m considering posting here later this week. However, if the FTC steps in, it may make my harangue moot. More to follow on this I’m sure.

Via TechCrunch and CopyBlogger

Blogging as a Marketing Tool – Ten Strategic Tips

Posted by: of Expansion Plus on 12/11/06

 Richard Nacht, president of Blogging Systems which specializes in blog strategies for the lending and real estate industries, has the following Top Ten strategic benefits of blogging,

  1. Search Engine Marketing
  2. Direct Communications
  3.  Brand Building
  4. Competitive Differentiation
  5. Relational Marketing
  6. Exploit the Niches
  7.  Media & Public Relations
  8. Position You as an Expert
  9. Reputation Management
  10.  Low Cost

Read more at the Daily ‘Dog

WordPress Enterprise Edition Built for Big Business

Automattic and KnowNow have partnered to launch a new blog platform that targets big business using the WordPress open source software. The new platform will be called KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition.

It appears that the new product will be aimed at the same audience that might be considering Six Apart’s Movable Type software. According to the slightly-over-the-top press release, “this partnership is critical to our Fortune 1000 enterprise customer base.”

Found through the Monkey Bites blog.

Lowdown with Chris Pirillo

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 10/15/06

At the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York earlier this year, I had a chance to start doing an interview with super blogger, past TechTV host and organizer of the Gnomedex conference, Chris Pirillo. It was to be a video interview with my new Sony Cybershot, but I didn’t have very much memory left and the interview was cut short. I’ve since corrected the problem with a 4gb and another 2gb memory stick for almost 2 1/2 hours of decent quality video on two postage stamp sized chips.

Six months later I finally reconnected with Chris (which is amazing since we’re on IM) and was able to ask him a variety of questions ranging from social media to RSS. Here’s a snippet:

“In this interview, Chris talks about his TagJag project, web traffic from social media, favorite conferences, plans for Lockergnome 2.0, his upcoming wedding with fiancee Ponzi and fun quotes like: “Google is the internetâ€?, “Email is deadâ€? and “Let’s not blog about blogging about blogging about blogs anymore, okay?â€?.”

I can appreciate the enthusiasm for RSS, but I don’t think email is dead by a longshot. RSS to email at least. In fact, during dinner last night with “Mr. RSS” himself, Rok Hrastnik and I talked about RSS being too easy to use and that it can get to a point of information overload. The closest solution is the “river of news” concept, but how many good solutions are there for that?

If you would like all the Q/A with Chris Pirillo, here is the full interview.

Speaking of RSS, if you are at the DMA 06 conference this week, be sure to check out the blogs, RSS and podcasting session from 4:30-5:30, room 135 in the Moscone North building with Stephan Spencer, Amanda Watlington and myself.

Also, there is the RSS Roundtable meeting on Tuesday night sponsored by Pheedo, PRWeb, SimpleFeed and Silverpop downtown San Francisco which should be a good discussion.

Blog Inside: IT@Intel Joins the Blogosphere

Posted by: of Thinking Home Business on 10/12/06

There is a new arrival on the corporate, indeed Fortune 500, blog scene – the IT@Intel Blog.

The site will probably not appeal to people who want the full array of possible effects – audio, video mashups etc. Because unlike the groovy, dancing main Intel site, the IT@Intel blog is visually and organizationally sparer, along the lines of the related IT@Intel web site.

The blog uses MovableType’s Enterprise 1.3 platform, but again the graphic presentation is quite unlike some other corporate blogs using MT Enterprise, such as the rather jazzy GM FastLane blog.

The appropriateness of the IT@Intel Blog’s very neat design becomes evident when you see that, although this is a public blog, it appears to be aimed not so much at the general public as at the IT community and people with related interests.

And although I am not an IT engineer, and I like my rococo in its place, for me the visual spareness of the blog’s layout reflects a pleasingly elegant clarity of architecture and navigation.

There is a simply stated manifesto of guiding principles:

  • We will provide unique, individual perspectives on what’s going on at Intel and in the world;
  • We will post comments, except for spam and remarks that are off-topic, denigrating or offensive;
  • We will reply to comments promptly, when appropriate;
  • We will respect proprietary information and confidentiality; and
  • We will be respectful when disagreeing with others’ opinions.

For anyone who thinks that’s a bit light on for a corporate blog, never fear. There is a more extended and decidedly heavier statement in the legal page, whose phrasing, with its caveats and warnings, reminds us that this blog is indeed a corporate one.

The neat architecture is expressed in the simplicity of layout. The navigation menu along the top has just five items, so whatever your interest in the blog you can find your way there quickly – no need for head-scratching:

  • Recent Posts
  • About the Blog
  • Meet the Bloggers
  • Archives
  • Contact us

And as indicated above, other than the almost monochrome banner there are no pictures, no audio, no videos.

One other comment on underlying concepts and architecture is that the URL structure, http://blogs.intel.com/it/, allows nicely for any number of additional blogs to be created within the Intel blogs framework. Admittedly that’s not a big revelation from an IT engineering-based company, but it is a handy reminder of the value of thinking through structure and architecture before launching any blog in the business space.

There are four bloggers listed and posting at the IT@Intel blog, enough presumably to spread the load but not so many as to make it a case of “everyone’s responsibility is no one’s”. All have titles that indicate a high, or reasonably high level of seniority in the corporation (I don’t know the corporate structure or Intel’s policy on titles). And all are apparently working in an IT engineering or user experience framework. No one from marketing.

It is noticeable that there are no buttons or icons, not even a modest orange button for XML/RSS.

I like the way they have set up the sidebar with six elements, each in its own text box: Most Popular Tags, Recent Comments, Most Active Posts, Blogroll, Related Links, and Subscribe.

The treatment of the tags is interesting – no cloud in the sidebar, just four tags and a link to All Tags for anyone who really needs a cloud to make their day. There are only seven blogs in the Blogroll (that would have been an interesting discussion to be a fly on the wall for, surely – who’s in, who’s out?), only six Related Links and a simple, linked list of basic feed options in the Subscribe box, including a “What are feeds?” text link to a clear explanation on a separate page.

And content? Style?

Early days, but I liked what I read. Four individuals, each with a different style and each evidently keen to make his (yes, all males) mark as a blogger.

But they might have to up their rate. Four posts on October 9 and, at this posting, none since, is not exactly off to the races, guys. But those four posts have already attracted a number of supportive comments. So I hope the bloggers are encouraged by that and produce more, and more frequent, posts.

Pickedup from a Techwhack story via Google Alerts.

Knock, knock. Is anyone reading my blog?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 10/3/06

BBS 06 Speaker BugWell Dave already spilled the beans (here and here), yep I’m speaking at BBS at the end of the month.  The question is, then, just what the heck am I speaking about.  RSS Metrics.  Oh boy, yeah.  I wrote a bit about it on my blog already, but essentially what I’m going to help people work out is how to measure their audience on their blog.  This, btw, is no mean feat.  The reason Feedburner has been so successful is that they do give those metrics.  But, my talk isn’t going to just be “Use Feedburner.  Thank you.  Any questions?”.  That’s more than a little lame.  Don’t ask me how I’m going to simplify the discussion, because I’m still noodling that around in my head (ouch).

The reason, besides I was stupid enough to agree, that I’m talking about RSS metrics (and maybe blog metrics in general), is that as businesses get into blogs, bosses want to know what impact the blog is having.  Who is reading it, how often, when, what …  And while it might seem easy to dismiss these things, it really isn’t.  It is important.

If you are interested in biz blogging, BBS (as Dave said) is a great time to learn and network.  Pick the brains of folks already doing it.  Hang out with fun folks and just bask in the general blogginess.  I know that after BBS you will have a ton of new ideas and ways to start blogging or improve your blogging.   Now let me sweeten the pot a bit.  If you want to go I have a discount code for you worth $100 off any package.  When you register use code LCAS06 and the discount is yours.  There are deals to be had for hotel rooms (I use Hotwire myself) and I’ll be there Tuesday night and for the workshops and conferences.  Stop by and say hi.  I’m sure Dave and I will be hanging out somewhere chatting (look for the tall guy with the beard and the shorter geeky guy with glasses).

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Blogging For CIOs A Cautionary Tale

Posted by: of One By One Media on 09/13/06

Niall Cook yesterday posted about CIOs and their thoughts about corporate blogs in an article by Andy McCue at Silicon.com.  He and I both agree that perhaps CIOs are a little paranoid when referring to blogs, but in their defense, it is scary for companies to try something new.  Many businesses don’t want to be the leader in new and different ways of corporate communication.  They like to be copycat for the things that work.  Until companies begin to embrace blogs as an online marketing tool and a way to communicate with clients and customers, they will tread lightly, making sure that the water is warm before jumping in the pool.  The best example of the fear is exemplified in the comment by Rob Wharton, CIO of Colt Telecoms:

“Blogs are popular because they tend to represent personal opinions and personality rather than corporate messages. Therefore we need to take a great deal of care to ensure appropriate use so we don’t devalue the blog concept, whilst avoiding mayhem in what essentially needs to be a controlled message.”

The first part of the comment is spot on, that blogging is a personality of your company and what it represents, and that can be a frightful thought.  What Mr. Wharton needs to realize is consumers and customers want to see that personality and they don’t want the corporate speak of the controlled message.  The “mayhem” he discusses can be controlled if the personality is proper.  Until they see it in action blogs are still the boogey man of corporate communication.

Blogs, Podcasts, RSS and B2B: New Research Study Available

KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann have begun to release an emerging media series study into how blogs, podcasts and other RSS technologies affect technology purchasing decisions.

So far only the podcasting study has been released (free with registration), but they’ve released some teaser factoids:

  • 53% of respondants get business and technology information from blogs
  • 59% of business and IT professionals are somewhat or very familiar with RSS
  • 70% pass along content from blogs

Of course, they don’t go into detail (at least yet) on whether these people are making a buying decision on what they read at Engadget, or whether an RSS feed is helping them choose the right server or keeping them up with last night’s episode of Lost.

You can read the abstract and register for the free report here.

Thanks to Media Buyer Planner for the link.

Increasing Your Blog Traffic

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has graciously shared 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic, and there are some gems in there. I’d like to piggyback on a few of Rand’s points:

  • 1. Choose the Right Blog Software (or Custom Build) — I’d say that over 95% of the time, WordPress will do the job and will be scalable for future needs. I have yet to come across a client blog project that necessitated a custom-built blog software.
  • 2. Host Your Blog Directly on Your Domain — Rand makes a bold statement: “Hosting your blog on a different domain from your primary site is one of the worst mistakes you can make.” I disagree. I can think of numerous examples where the blog is more trusted, more buzzworthy, and/or more linkworthy because it’s at an arms length from the company’s site. Consider the hypothetical example of an insurance conglomerate authoring a blog about getting a healthier lifestyle, in order to attract prospects to sell insurance to. Such a blog at Gettinghealthy.com sounds helpful and unbiased, whereas having it at metlife.com/gettinghealthyblog (remember, hypothetical example… metlife is just used here to illustrate the point) comes off as salesy and self-serving.
  • 4. Participate at Related Forums & Blogs — I’d just like to make it clear that you’re not doing this for link juice (most links in blog comments and forum posts have “link condoms” (rel=nofollow tags) automatically added). Instead, you’re doing this to increase your visibility to, and credibility with, bloggers who read those blogs and forums.
  • 9. Invite Guest Bloggers — I really like this idea, and I’d like to add my suggestion that you also do phone or Skype interviews of guests and podcast those on your blog.
  • 15. Archive Effectively — Rand highlights a tough balancing act: “For search traffic (particularly long tail terms), it can be best to offer the full content of every post in a category on the archive pages, but from a usability standpoint, just linking to each post is far better (possibly with a very short snippet). ” I find the “Optional Excerpt” in WordPress to be invaluable for achieving this balance. The Optional Excerpt is one of the fields in the Write Post form that most bloggers ignore, but if you use it, you can code your non-permalink pages (like your category pages) to display the excerpt instead of the full post or instead of the paragraphs proceeding a “more” tag in your post copy. That’s exactly what we’ve done on my company’s corporate site, which runs on WordPress — for example, all the testimonials listed on our Testimonials tag page display excerpts. That gives you more flexibility to summarize and highlight particular sections or keywords from the full post.
  • 16. Implement Smart URLs — Rand says that “just re-writing a ?ID=450 to /450 has improved search traffic considerably on several blogs we’ve worked with.” I would definitely agree with that. We too have evidence that a blog or site with rewritten URLs flows PageRank more efficiently throughout the site. So don’t rest on your laurels if you have a blog with dynamic URLs, even if your blog is fully indexed by the engines. Your pages will rank better if you rewrite the URLs.
  • 19. Make Effective Use of High Traffic Days — What a great idea, to watch your traffic and increase your posting frequency and posting quality on days where your traffic is highest! It makes the best use of the traffic spikes. In fact, you might even want to hold back on publishing your very best posts and instead save them for high-traffic days.

Business 2.0′s Blogging for Dollars Article

Business 2.0′s September issue (coming soon to the Web) features a cover story called Blogging for Dollars.

Most of the people featured in the story, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing and Drew Curtis of Fark, are all A-list bloggers.

In fact, the focus of the story is on how individuals or a few people together can generate significant revenue through blog ads by targeting a niche. (Hmmm…kind of like what’s going on here.)

While this makes for a good cover story, it doesn’t help those of us who are blogging for our business, as opposed to making blogging our only business.

I can only imagine the number of people who now think that quitting your job and starting a blog is a viable career option. For every Dooce there a hundred thousand million or more bloggers typing away in obscurity who don’t have the talent for turning a phrase the way she does.

How many more snarky blogs do we need that target celebrity blunders? (I can only imagine the number of ones and zeroes that were sacrificed this morning to tell and retell, examine and reexamine Paramount’s booting of Tom Cruise.

How many tech/gizmo/blogs can survive before we’re oversaturated? I mean, I can’t believe there are even that many new toys to talk about.

While the article gives some lip service to the possibility that a downturn in the ad market would hurt these bloggers, it doesn’t really spend too much time dwelling on it. Of course there will be a downturn in the ad market…there always is. Often followed by a upturn. Then another downturn. Then….

Also, because of the low cost of entry,  most individual bloggers will always have to be watching their back, because it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower for someone else to start writing in your niche and steal some of your thunder.

If you’re planning on quitting your day job to blog in your niche, this article’s probably required reading. If not, reading about people who make millions do exactly what you do can either be inspirational or infuriating.

But, if you blog to market your business, tips like blog “at least half a dozen posts every weekday before lunchtime” probably won’t do you much good.

Content: The Gold Standard For Your Business Website

Posted by: of One By One Media on 08/22/06

Good quality content is like the gold standard to companies wanting to be found through organic search. Many SEO experts will all agree, after you have a website optimized for search there is nothing better than good quality, relevant content to make you successful. This is what drives the robots and spiders used by search engines to find information about you and your company and eventually to your site. If you don’t have constantly updated and quality content on your site, the spiders and robots will stop visiting and stop telling the world about your business.

Why do I continue to mention quality content? This question is often asked by my clients that want to merely throw up some stuff on their website about their company without really having a voice or direction to the content. The first thing a business should recognize is that their website is often the first chance they will have at an audience for a potential customer. The content on their site should be relevant to the customer’s needs. A customer wanting to look for a replacement battery for their latest gadget doesn’t want to come to your site to learn about the history of your company and why you started business, they want that battery and they want it now. If your company is on the cutting edge of that technology you should be talking about that gadget and why your company is providing the best replacement batteries for the best cost and can have it to them when they want it. This is what the search engines can root out and find for their searching customer.

My good friend and colleague Dave Taylor has coined the term (and I wish I had done it first) “Findability.” This may seem to basic and it is beyond simple, but many companies don’t understand the concept. Taylor describes findability in his latest speech during the Affiliate Summit in Florida thus:

 

“…findability is the concept of how easily can people find you when they’re looking for your service or product.”

The yellow pages in my home is taking up wasted space. I simply do not use them to find a business or product. I use a search engine like Google, MNS or Yahoo to get me what I want when I want it. Recently, my wife and I needed a plumber to take a look at our water heater. Where did I go to find this plumber? I went to Google and stuck in the search phrase “water heater, maintenance and plumber and Longmont, Colorado”. Within minutes of that search, I had a plumber on the way to my home and he was gone in 4 hours (I’m definitely in the wrong career option). Now imagine if you were the hot water heater guru in Colorado and every day posted a little something about water heaters, maintenance and plumbing, you could guarantee you would probably be very high on the list in the natural search results. You didn’t have to out bid that other company that came up in the paid search results. Your company was front and center on the screen because you provided that search engine quality content that was updated constantly and robots and search spiders where there waiting in line to gobble up what you have to say about your industry. Taylor in another portion of his talk in the affiliate marketing conference made me chuckle with:

“I don’t care whether you’re a marketing and affiliate program, or you’re marketing products as an affiliate, either way, if I’m searching for your product or service, and I can’t find you, you really have a problem. And for most small businesses, I think it’s absolutely the case that they’re already dead, and they just haven’t noticed yet.”

Thanks Dave and those of you that are interested in the rest of what Dave has to say about “Findability” you can see his whole presentation at the Affiliate Summit 2006 East and at his own site at The Intuitive Life Business Blog. 

Content is the gold standard of blogging.  Keep it fresh, keep it relevant, and keep it contstant.  You won’t be one of those small businesses out their walking around with the walking dead.

Monitizing Blogs

Posted by: of Diva Marketing Blog on 08/17/06

One of the benefits of contributing to Business Blog Consulting is the opportunity to tap into the expertise of some of the best and brightest bloggers. The lively discussions that occur “off-blog”, on the contributing bloggers’ Yahoo list, are often as valuable as the BBC blog posts. With the permission of Rick, Dana, Jeremy and Dave here is a recap of a recent thread on monitzing blogs.
The Question

What kind of revenue return can one expect from a blog that gets an average of 12k unique visitors a day and whose readers are engaged to the extent that some posts pull over 600 comments? The blog focuses on the champion racing horse Barbaro. (Backstory is on Diva Marketing)

As you might expect there were a range of opinions and projections along with specific tactical advice.
Business Blog Consultants’ Responses

Rick Bruner
My $0.02: it’s going to be hard for a consumer blog site to command much over $1 CPM on average (maybe $3, as Dave states, but as I say, not much over). A few reasons: little perceived premium for those audiences. Even if they are focused, they’re not big, so they’re a pain in the ass to buy.

Also, BlogAds creates extra work for advertisers in making them recreate a different type of creative units for a small audience, compared to the leaderboards and skyscrapers and boxes their agency already created for the mass online ad audience, which BlogAds doesn’t support.

The biggest reason, however, most bloggers can’t make decent money from ads is this: they don’t sell. They expect the mountain to come to Muhammad. Their logic seems to be, “Hey, I spend a lot of hours on this thing, I get a few thousand people, advertisers should do the work to find me and give me money.” That ignores the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules. A few thousand visitors a day is small change compared to the big sites dominating the online ad space.

That’s where Tig and Rafat have stood apart. First, they’ve aggregated an audience (B2B) that commands a high CPM ($30+). Second and more importantly, they both personally broke their asses for hours a day actively selling ads, calling agencies, making a real business out of their sites. Now, they’ve both hired ad sales teams.

Dave Taylor
It can be all over the map. Let’s look at AdSense since it’s easy. AdSense effective CPM can range from under $1 to over $10, depending on placement, subject and the click thru rate. If this blog uses a typical placement they’ll see approx 2% CTR (ballpark). Racing will draw some good ads, but much of the gambling is prohibited by AdSense, so let’s just guess that these will be okay value ads and the overall effective CPM with that CTR will be about $3.

Now we can do the math: 12,000 visitors/day = 20,000 page views/day. At a 2% CTR that means that this 20,000 page views account for 400 clicks. If we stick with our resultant effective CPM based on this, that’s really $3 per thousand views, or 20,000/1000 * 3 = $60/day. That’s $0.15/click, not bad for AdSense. Multiply that out and we might be talking about approx $20k/year.

These are all out of thin air, of course. The ads could be more valuable, the CTR could be higher (or quite a bit lower), producing an effective CPM far different than my guess of $3. There are also lots of other advertising alternatives, including BlogAds, etc etc, and
they could just sell their own adverts so they could delve into gambling ads directly, which I imagine would be far more profitable for the site.

Jeremy Wright
Hard to say, BlogAds is its own little economy. We (b5media) have a few similar sites that get 100$/week for a BlogAds ad spot. They’re in the Entertainment space, though.

I’d probably get the blog included in one of the BlogAd Networks, price a unit at 100$/week and then raise it as it starts to fill up. Personally I think a unit’s worth about 250$/week on that site, but it’s always hard to tell with BA’s buyers.

Dana VanDen Heuvel
That would depend a lot on the advertiser and the category…horse racing…not sure what’s out there on that, in terms of advertisers… It’s not like B2B tech where they’re getting $50CPM…at least, not that I know of.

You’d have to find the right category advertisers to make a go at it…or do
Google AdSense.

BBC Readers
What advice would you give?

FUD about letting employees blog

Posted by: of Expansion Plus on 08/16/06

Recent studies indicate that 85 percent of workers in America with Internet access admit to spending an average of 2 hours per day on personal e-mails and Internet activity, while 80 percent of employers monitor that activity, according to a press release from Bracewell & Giuliani

B  & G is giving Human Resource Management Association members in Texas the low down on employee surfing and blogging in the workplace and the legal implications of corporate monitoring of employee online activity.  

Different companies obviously see blogging very differently.  Here’s what Sun Microsystems has on their site;

Welcome to Blogs.sun.com! This space is accessible to any Sun employee to write about anything.

Sun certainly is not too concerned about their employees blogging. When he spoke at the Syndicate Conference late last year Jonathan Schwartz said they attribute the revitlization of Sun’s brand to their blogging.

But employee blogging can be a minefield.  Last year’s upset over the image posted by Niall Kennedy speaks volumes on this subject.  The flap over the image aside, Niall’s point about fear and the availability of the ‘new printing press’ in the hands of everyman is very valid.

Technorati supported Niall 100%, but it did create some backlash.

“We do not censor people’s blogs, and we take the censorship allegation extremely seriously,” wrote Dave Sifty. “I actively encourage our employees to blog, and to express their opinions. However, many readers do not make as clear a distinction between personal and work lives as many experienced bloggers do, and will view a provocative image on a blog in the worst possible light, especially when presented by the company’s Community Manager.”

There may well be bumps in the road when you start blogging in your business.   It’s a given with a new form of expression that gives a voice to anyone and everyone.

It’s wise to set guidelines for your employees when they blog.  But don’t let the FUD get you – the benefits blogging offers far outweigh any fears you may have.

 

 

 

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