Hey, hey! If you’re looking for comprehensive coverage of Day 3 at BlogWorld New Media Expo, then you’ve come to the right place. Can you believe the conference is already over? I can’t. But have no fear, there will be another BlogWorld show happening in Los Angeles come November. If you missed this one or if you live on the wrong West Coast, I’d recommend checking that one out.
So what happened today? What tricks were revealed for bloggers and marketers? Well, hang on because I’m about to tell you.
Tapping Technology to Build A Digital Enterprise
When Jonathan Fields is in town to tell you how to build a digital enterprise, you best show up and learn something. And while his talk was centered on how to grow your empire as an author, it’s pretty easy to translate his to social marketing in general.
Jonathan noted that traditionally there have been two types of authors – fiction and non-fiction. Today, there are still two kinds of authors, but the classifications have changed. Now we have the Purists who only want to do the part they love (the writing) and we have the Enterpisers who build a business. They write, they market and they understand that to be successful you need to steer the ship. These are more often than not the people that publishers want to deal with.
Writing a book means first understanding what model you’re using. Essentially, what are you trying to do? Are you writing a book for the sales or is that book a small piece of a larger puzzle? He noted how Chris Guillebeau is an author, but it’s not the only channel he uses. Same with John Jantsch. He has a blog, a podcast, other products, etc. The books they write are just part of a larger enterprise that they’re building.
If you’re going to build an enterprise, you need to create the right pieces. Build up attention assets, engagement vehicles and communication channels to help you create that platform. Your blog will be a key component of this because it’s where you’ll establish credibility and build thought leadership. It’s also where you build relevance around a topic area and you’ll be able to figure out your storylines for where your book will go.
But use other mediums as well: Twitter isn’t a great place to build thought leadership, but it is a great way to help other people, have conversations, and to increase distribution. Facebook is a great place to have conversations because they’re threaded and easier for people to follow. If you don’t have time to build up a following, use ninja tactics to help you do it faster, thinks like webinars, affiliate products, and manifestos.
Once you have that platform, tap it. Use your tribe to build buzz around what you’re doing and let the book be the extension of your idea. It’s the idea you’re selling, not the book. I like that.
Do More With Less – How Journalists Can Overcome Information Overload 36 Tools, Tips & Sites for Digital Efficiency”
Okay, so I know the title of this session makes you think it was strictly for journalist, but really, Jeremy Caplan shared information we can all benefit from. Whether you’re in marketing, a writer, a journalist, or a small business owner, we’re managing a lot more in our day than we used to. Social media is now part of our jobs and we have to account for that. Most of use an ad hoc approach, collecting Word docs like children collected Pogs. It’s what we’ve “always done” but it’s not exactly helpful. It’s time to set up some better systems to help us manage information overload in the digital era.
Taming information overload means establishing rituals, habits, and best practices. A lot people think it’s all about will power to avoid getting distracted, but we all have a fixed amount of will power. We can’t just grow it. You can, however, create a process to help you use your time better.
- Track your Time: Gain awareness with time maps and timers [Get. An. Egg Timer.]. As kids we relied on our parents to tell us when we watched too much TV. Now we can have digital nannies that remind us what we want to do. Your smart brain is telling you spending two hours on Facebook probably isn’t the best use of your time. Some timer apps you want be interested in:
- Resue Time
- StayFocused (Chrome extension)
- Time Out
- Establish a weekly review: Check in with yourself and take note of what’s important. Track your goals, your areas of responsibility, projects you have to do, personal responsibilities, etc. Review it once a week.
- Streamline your system: Pick one set of tools you like and then STICK TO THEM. Stop changing your tools around each time someone new comes out. You end up spending more time picking your coffee cup than drinking your coffee. [Best line ever. Agreed?]
- Bucket tasks into the 9 main bucks: Email, Calendar, Tasks, Docs, InfoScraps (little notes of random things), Feeds, Links, Contacts and Voicemail. Once you have them there, pick and stick to a capture tool for all of those things. He likes the Google universe of tool because they’re free and they all work together. Keep it simple by using basic tools that are good enough. To make your life easier, Jeremy offered up his suggested tool for each bucket.
- Break projects into Pieces
- Hunts for System Gaps: Find the leaks, identify your weaknesses, specify you’re adjustments.
To make your life easier, Jeremy offered up his suggested tool for each aspect of your digital life
- Calendar: Google Calendar
- Tasks – Toodledo
- Docs: Google Docs
- InfoScrap: Evernote
- Feeds: Google Reader
- Links: Trunk.ly, Delicious
- Contacts: Google Contact
- Voicemail: Google Voice
- Financial Info: Mint
There. Now go be more productive. :)
How to Build, Grow and Monetize Your Own Branded Affiliate Blog
I ended my day by sitting in on my friend Shane Ketterman’s talk on how to grow an affiliate-branded blog. Shane spoke about how he started, grew, and sold his blog iPad blog TCGeeks.com in just a span of seven months.
Some tips offered by Shane on how to grow an affiliate-branded blog:
- Just Do It: When you’re building an affiliate site, don’t waste a lot of time on design, creating widgets, etc. Just start it. It doesn’t matter what your site looks like at first, it’s the content that matters. Just do something. You can refine it later.
- Have a Point Of Difference: Figure out how you can make it different. What’s your point of difference? To find his, Shane spent three hours going through every site he could find in his niche and asked himself, “what are they all doing”? He found they were all reporting the news. It was the same stories all over again. He didn’t want that. He decided to do tips/information.
- Invest in your Community : Shane made his community a priority. He created the No Comment Left Behind policy where no single comment went unanswered. When he found out he had a lot of UK readers, he woke up at 2am so that he could respond to their comments in real time. They were so impressed by that, they all told five friends. That’s how his community began to take life. He would also help his readers. When a school teacher mentioned in his comments she couldn’t afford an app for her class, he bought the app for her. When someone from the military commented about how excited he was to get his first iPad, Shane set up a video chat with him to show him how to use it. It was those little touches that helped him to build a brand people wanted to interact with.
- Be Smart About AdSense: When it came time to put ads on his site, Shane didn’t just put them where conventional wisdom told him to. He used a feature in his Google Analytics called In Page Analytics which showed where people were clicking on the site. That’s where he put his ads and doing that increased his AdSense fourfold in just two days.
- Do Event Blogging: Pick an event that you know is coming up and cover it. Have posts ready to go ahead of time that talk about what was discussed. Shane did for two Apple events and it exploded his traffic and user base.
- Create Content People Want: Create contests to get people excited. Use the Keyword Questions Wordtracker tool to find the actual questions people are asking related to your keywords and then write content around it.
One big thing Shane advised NOT doing? Relying on Google for all your traffic! Shane’s iPad site was one of many hit by Panda. This taught him how important it is to create multiple traffic sources for your site. Relying too much on Google can devastate your business is an algorithm change goes against you.
Props to Shane for growing and selling a site so successfully in just over six months. Pretty cool when people come with case studies of success.
And that’s for me at BlogWorld. I hope you guys enjoyed the coverage and I’ll see you back in Troy. ;)