November 04, 2011
Technorati's Shani Higgins on the State of the Blogosphere
Technorati CEO Shani Higgins presented the annual State-of-the-Blogosphere at BlogWorldExpo this morning. Below are some of the more interesting stats Higgins released in a shotgun array of slides after slides with stats after stats.
When Mitch Joel, who has been blogging for about as long as I have, asked "what defines a blog today? Is Huffington Post a blog? Is an economist who presents an opinion on a site that looks like a blog a blog? Says Higgins, "the independent web is what blogs are...." In other words, not necessarily controlled by a brand or a publisher.
Of bloggers today, 61% are hobbyists. Professional part-timers make up 13%, corporate bloggers make up 8% and entrepreneurs, which is a new category this year is roughly around 13%.
Of bloggers geographically, 50% of bloggers still comes from the US, which apparently hasn't changed much from last year. 65% are aged between 18-44 years old and 59% are male, which is down by 5%, meaning more women are blogging than last year this time.
An oustanding stat is that on average, bloggers have 3 blogs, 50% have been blogging 4+ years, 80% have been blogging 2 or more years, 44% blog 2-3 times per week or more, with pro segments blogging daily. One third of bloggers work in the mainstream media as a writer, reporter, producer or on-air personality.
Reasons Why People Are Blogging:
- To share their expertise and experiences with others – 70%
- To become more involved with their passion areas – 58%
- To meet and connect with like-minded people – 50%
- To gain professional recognition – 42%
Success Metrics - how bloggers measure their success in order of importance:
- Personal satisfaction
- Number of unique visitors
- Number of comments
- Backlinks from other bloggers
Social Media Use:
- Google+ = 66% of probloggers (58% of all bloggers are on Google+)
- Facebook – 92% of probloggers
- Twitter is used to promote their blogs: 71% of all bloggers agree, and 90% of all probloggers agree.
- Facebook – 50% of all bloggers have a separate account for their blogs, 75% of all probloggers. Of this group, bloggers are primarily using Facebook to promote their blogs. 37% of all bloggers say they link their Twitter & Facebook accounts.
- Google+ users, 10% of all bloggers have a separate account for their blog, 27% for probloggers. Bloggers who primarily use Google+ to promote their blogs is 27% of all bloggers, 45% of probloggers. Only 13% of this group syndicate their content.
LinkedIn comes in after Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and Digg fell below Tumblr and Foursquare.
Social Media Drivers - in order of driving traffic:
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Stumble Upon, Google+, Tumbler, Flickr, Yelp, Vimeo, Plaxo, Picasa, Orkut, MySpace, Friendsster, Foursquare, and Delicious, with Digg coming in last.
The number one influence for bloggers is other bloggers. In other words, 68% of bloggers look to other bloggers which determine things more than anything else aka "the influencers influence the influencers" says Higgins.
Brand behavior is important, but just how important is the perception of the brand to a blogger? And, what is a blogger prepared to accept on their blog? Compared to last year, bloggers have increased their criteria for the kind of brand they're willing to accept on their blog. Whether bloggers are influenced by a brand or company’s behavior:
- 25% encouraged other bloggers to discourage other bloggers from using a brand.
- Bloggers still boycott products and write about the fact that they boycott products and companies.
The biggest complaint is that 60% of bloggers feel they are treated less professionally by brand representatives than traditional media, down from 64% in 2010, which isn’t significant.
- 15% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as very favorable.
- 34% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as favorable.
- 51% want to work with brands directly
- 49% want to work through an intermediary.
There are mixed reviews on brand interactions: less than 25% say brands provide value, or are knowledgeable about their blogs. In describing the communications bloggers receive from brands, bloggers felt that brands are not very knowledgeable about their blog, their content and blogging style, nor are they genuinely interested in learning about their content and what they cover. In other words, brands have to work much harder and get more personal. And, I'd add, listen.
86% of bloggers disclosed that a post was sponsored or paid.
58% disclosed they had received a product they reviewed.
The highest is product reviews, followed by sponsored posts, focus groups and spokesblogger or brand ambassador in that order. In terms of what their audience liked the best of this list, it was product reviews.
Tools that Brands Use:
Blogger outreach 12%
Majority of the above have only been using social media for only 1-2 years.
34% of them have their own blogs.
- 4% of all bloggers and 37% of full time pros say blogging is their primary income.
- 14% receive a salary for blogging with the average being around $24K, the highest report was $140K.
- Display ads represents 34%
- Affiliate ads: 31%
- Search ads: 27%
- Paid Posts: 34%
- Spokespeople: 5%
The following results came from bloggers when asked what was the fee they’ve been paid for a single instance of the following:
- Being a brand or product spokesman: $1,365
- Paid to give speeches: $1,560
- Paid to attend events: $1,018
- Paid for a broadcast media appearance: $796
- Received an item of high value to review or endorse: $409
- Print or other media contributor: $935
November 03, 2011
What is REAL Influence? Will Klout & Other Tools Define & Control You or Will You Define Them?
There's been so much buzz -- on and offline -- about Klout's decision to unveil a new formula which supposedly recalculates scores more accurately, the result of which brought most people's "popularity" scores down a few notches, including my own.
While I think what the guys over at Klout are trying to do is admirable and truth be told, we need really smart analytics and measurement tools to break through the noise, what we have today simply isn't accurate enough or "whole" enough to give us the real truth on who's influential and more importantly, in what circles and why.
Wouldn't it be more interesting to know who had a Klout score of 80 in food and wine, 80 in social media, 80 in fashion, 80 in politics and so on?
Wouldn't it also be more interesting if tools like this took into consideration a person's offline influence as well as other things they may have done, such as a bestselling book or created a program that made an African village sustain itself?
Part of the issue is that we're early and all of the vendors trying to innovate in this area are trying to figure it out. I spent time talking to Klout's CEO and founder Joe Fernandez in Dublin recently at a web conference and I think he's a great guy who's trying to do the right thing.
I jokingly complained that I've seen 21 year olds who are new to social media, new to Twitter and new to business whose Klout scores have been higher than mine on some days. There are many things they take into account when dishing out a Klout score, including the level of engagement. Crikey, if you're my niece's age and have thousands of Facebook friends who have a ton of time on their hands and can chat away all day with their friends, regardless of how big the circle is, then no doubt, that online "activity" gets engagement brownie points which goes into the Klout analysis.
While engagement could be high in this 'circle', it is its own ecosystem and the real question is: will this voice influence a certain number of people to buy a certain product or take a certain that builds brand awareness?
I have 3 Facebook pages attached to my name, all of which are mine, but I don't get credit in the Kloutsphere for any of them because they can only give you points for one Facebook account - your personal one. When I asked Joe about this, he had a logical explanation. There are far too many people managing a celebrity or brand's Facebook fan page and they shouldn't get credit for that level of influence when the page is about someone else. Fair enough. But what about those whose Facebook pages are legitimately connected to themselves? Small business owners would also fall into that category.
Yet, despite the fact that the numbers aren't accurate or "whole," tons of vendors and brands are jumping into the lions den and testing things out. Frankly, there's nothing wrong with that. With every evolution and revolution, you need to learn by trial and error just like we did with email after fax, blogging after websites and Twitter after AOL IM.
One of my issues is how much credence we (as an industry) give these early tools and how much of a time waste they are for so many I know including me at times before I kick myself back into perspective, nevermind the cultural impact which has quite honestly turned into a popularity contest. I feel as if everyone is competing to be Ken or Barbie and we're back to high school behavior in a way that's not healthy.
Scores are one way for brand marketers and PR folks to create a list of targeted bloggers and tweeters they can go after, aka a list of the most influential voices who must hear about their product or service. I get it as I've been on the pitching line - both in front of it and in recent years, on the receiving end with We Blog the World.
As Geoff points out, the most influential people in any given sector aren’t necessarily on social media. They hire other people to serve as community managers. As one example, Klout only gives President Barack Obama an Influence Score of 48.
While we do need analytics and tools for measuring, they need to take offline influence into consideration as well as more complex elements and texture that can extracted from people's social graphs.
It's time to bring in the socialogists and anthropologists. One of the best talks I've heard in awhile on a Web-something stage was in October at Web 2.0 Summit by Intel's Genevieve Bell, an Australian born anthropologist and researcher. She is the director of Intel Corporation's Interaction and Experience Research and her talk was begging the question: what if we built data for humans rather than devices?
Looking at data from an anthropoligical and "human" perspective (bring on more women please), means that we can take the science out of the analytics just long enough to get the pieces that make up the multiple facets of what makes someone who they are into the "measurement" pool.
Christopher Poole (aka @moot69 on Twitter) also raised the point at the same conference that who we are online may not necessarily be who we are offline. In other words, my social graph online may be very different from who I am in my personal life or frankly want to be...the games we have to play with social media to be part of the conversation -- authentic voice or not -- in order to keep up with metrics and measurement are currently robotic and linear at best.
Relationships are what really matter and building them take time. I've been working on (yes, while I LOVE it, it's work and takes time), building relationships for over twenty years and yet, my Klout score is lower than someone who's barely been in business or is even old enough to have a relationship with someone longer than a few years of their adult life.
Geoff also refers to this in his post: "without a relationship, it would be extremely hard to get that high scoring influencer to invest energy into your effort. Instead you would have to focus on the magic middle and build your own influence from the ground up."
Gavin Heaten refers to Granovetter’s “strength of weak ties”. While the original post is now a few years old, his point is still relevant. "Social influence and its impact on action is determined by a large number of “weak ties”. So those blogs which are built around an identity which is well-known to its audience (strong ties) is less likely to carry social influence."
Yet, buzz agents, PR people, marketers and large brands are deciding who's influential or beyond that, who can move their brand or sell products inside that brand....all based on these scores.
I went to the Travel Blog Exchange (known among those in the biz as TBEX) in Vancouver for the first time this past year and it was loaded with travel vendors, resorts, hotel chains, restaurants, retailers and more vying for travel blogger's time and ultimately "ink."
While I spend a few hours a day nuturing a travel and culture blog, I also run a business. Many of these bloggers are doing this full time so are spending a lot of time gathering content from the world's most popular destinations and there is an inherent value in that. Yet, many of these 21-25 year old bloggers are enjoying free trips around the world on some brand's dime based on Klout scores and other things like it.
Fair enough, trust me, I wish blogging were around when I backpacked through SE Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe when I was 22. But I think some other form of value will be necessary in the future as online publishing is being rewritten.
I often wonder if I were blogging and tweeting at 22, whether I would have spent less time chatting with a villager next to a fire on some remote mountain had I been loaded down with technology? When I went on those adventures, I wore nothing but a mid-sized rucksack on my back and an old Fujica AX3. My main consideration was making sure my film didn't get roasted in the Southeast Asian sun or when I went through security lines at airports.
Today when I travel, Foursquare and Twitter (via Hootsuite) are close companions. I often tweet in real time as I'm walking down an escalator and see something interesting and at times, can get so wrapped up in following streams, that sometimes I forget to have a conversation with the guy from Chicago or Tokyo standing next to me.
It's far too easy to get caught up in check-ins, status updates and Klout scores and there's no one who can disagree, that its addictive. It's precisely what makes gamification a godsend to marketers today. And yet with all these distractions, what are we losing and are we forgetting what "real influence" and "real relationships" are in the process?
Refer to my Google+ blog post which talks about data overload and over consumption.
Two decades ago, I would have had a Klout score of zero in the travelsphere and yet by the age of 25, I had been to more places than many travel writers at magazines and newspapers I met along the way.
I didn't spend any time building relationships with influential 'travel sources,' but with the locals I met en route and here is where I captured magical stories, most of which were written down in an old fashioned diary every night by a fire or from a rickety bed.
I would argue that in a world where the lines between marketers and content creators and publishers are muddy, that large brands should ask for more than a little link love, or a certain number of tweets. How about strategic feedback based on years of valuable insights, experience and perhaps connections to people where both sides benefit in a mutually positive way? Airlines take note. It's not rocket science, it's called listening to your customers, and not just those with high Klout scores. Pay attention to what customers are saying -- on and offline -- and implement changes so they're singing your praises alongside your marketing department.
Another example of a missed opportunity for "influencer collaboration". This past summer, I was flown out to a conference with about six other bloggers and while I was given hashtag and Twitter data as well as the program in advance, I had no knowledge of who was attending the conference so I could connect with people who shared similar interests and passions in advance.
Imagine the power of my writing a story about the work of a few of the attendees as well as their speakers? Ammunition for selling tickets the following year, especially if a new initiative formed as a result.
At events where everyone is interesting and has a story to share, the magic of what can be discovered doesn't always happen on the stage. 90% of my best stories are gathered off the stage and compelling input is often found from those who are not asked to speak or haven't written a book.
And, did those speakers who authored books know the bloggers and journalists who were attending? They should have known in advance so they could have taken the opportunity to send us a copy of their book to read before their presentation. Insights would have been much deeper and after-the-talk conversations much more powerful.
Sure, we all could have done our own homework and sure, if we were interested in a particular speaker over another, we could have proactively ordered their book on our own. That's not my point. In a world of over data and over pitching, we need aggregators and curators, and human ones are often the most powerful ones.
Proactively faciliating those connections in a way that is more powerful and intimate increases the likelihood of more stories, especially ones may include more depth and texture.
I think that marketing and PR people have to not only become content creators on multiple channels but also strategic faciliators, aggregators and curators as well. I also think that asking bloggers, tweeters and other online influencers for input into their processes, products, services and ways of communicating will be critical to making this new ecosystem purr.
Events like TBEX for the travel industry, BlogWorldExpo for bloggers and social media addicts, TED for those who thrive on ideas and innovation, DAVOS for those who are participating in the global economy in some way, the national auto show for those who live and breathe cars and thousands of others were created for a reason. Sure, someone thought of an event that would draw people together including sponsors and they could profit from the outcome.
But the real draw for those who attend, even those who fork out the money to host, is the networking and the value of that "in-person" networking over the years. It was one of the reasons people were so upset when COMDEX died, the largest computer show of its kind in the U.S., an event that drew together anyone and everyone who mattered in the industry once a year in the ugly sprawling city of sin Las Vegas.
There, we built a community, and old timers still talk about memories they shared -- in the flesh, not online -- where stories, drinks, food, dancing, ideas, demos and deals were all shared. TED is a great example of a community which has been created both on and offline, and now extended through TEDx events throughout the world.
Relationships are built by investing time in people. In Dublin recently, a group of us were brought to the Irish President's residence and a day earlier, we all listened to the Trinity Orchestra at a college older than the U.S. - there's nothing in an online world, social influence or not, that can take away from those shared memories and moments, some of which may have showed a precious vulnerable side to someone you dare not share online for online is not where that "exchange" belongs.
A deeper dive into what really makes up influence, which includes trust, will improve the current ecosystem we now embrace. It may also change the cast of characters we currently hold in high esteem when honesty, real openness and "human influence" replaces old schoolXYZ networks that keeps things in status quo, maintaining the same dozen voices we hear from again and again, particularly in the online publishing world.
Here, Geoff is spot on when he says "when we focus on influence rankings — tools that quantify a media form’s participants like it was run by journalists — we walk away from the basic truth about these particular types of media. They are relational. They are SOCIAL media.
So, by focusing on lists and not dialoguing and adding value through relevant content and investment, a practitioner is not present. Their effort is bound to have fundamental weaknesses. Building relationships in real life at events, meetings, and through social media are the ways to cultivate better influence.
And oh man, I love his ending: "what is the real reason to quantify big social media influencers? If relationships are your desired outcome, why waste time?"
We've paid so much attention to data for data sake and the last century has paid an unfair advantage to scientific knowledge and stats, that we need to rewrite the rules of what holds value in and out of the boardroom. Francis Cholle in his book The Intuitive Compass takes 223 pages to tell you why our intuition (the quadrant which is defined by relationships and creativity) is critical to succeeding in the next century. (book review coming on We Blog the World before the end of the year in the Books category).
A fundamental question to think about is this: will Klout & other measurement tools like it define and control you or will you define and control them? If we are to innovate, shouldn't we step up and tell the data what really matters? In a Genevieve Bell world, we'd start with humanity and relationships and build up and out from there.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Garagehangover, Obama shot unknown, John Ryan & Associates, a Facebook stream, Selfleadership.com.
November 3, 2011 in America The Free, Europe, Magic Sauce Media, On Blogging, On Branding, On Geo-Location, On Innovation, On Journalism, On People & Life, On Social CRM, On Technology, On the Future, PR & Marketing, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 08, 2011
ConAgra Bait & Switch PR Stunt: What Was Marketing & Ketchum Thinking?
Of course it's a bait and switch and not a good one. They're food bloggers and you serve them processed boxed food from a "brand" when they think they're getting a hand-made meal by a well known chef? Who wouldn't be pissed and rightfully so?
I kept thinking throughout - their marketing team should be canned for SO not getting how off color this is not to mention off target.
The article below is reposted from the New York Times and Peter Shankman is SPOT ON - Ketchum should have known better. This is ethics 101 folks...ethics 101. Bait and switch is uncool for any marketing campaign but with bloggers who are going to WRITE about their experience. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
In August, food bloggers and mom bloggers in New York were invited to dine at an underground restaurant in a West Village brownstone run, apparently, by George Duran, the chef who hosts the “Ultimate Cake Off” on TLC.
Sotto Terra, the invitation said, was “an intimate Italian restaurant” where attendees would enjoy a “delicious four-course meal,” Mr. Duran’s “one-of-a-kind sangria,” and learn about food trends from a food industry analyst, Phil Lempert. The invitation continued that upon confirming — for one of five evenings beginning Aug. 23 — bloggers would receive an extra pair of tickets as a prize for readers and that the dinner would include “an unexpected surprise.”
The surprise: rather than being prepared by the chef, the lasagna they were served was Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna by Marie Callender’s, a frozen line from ConAgra Foods. Hidden cameras at the dinners, which were orchestrated by the Ketchum public relations unit of the Omnicom Group, captured reactions to the lasagna and to the dessert, Razzleberry Pie, also from Marie Callender’s.
“Our intention was to really have a special evening in a special location with Chef George Duran,” said Stephanie Moritz, senior director of public relations and social media at ConAgra.
“The twist at the end was not dissimilar with what brands like Pizza Hut and Domino’s have done in the recent past with success,” she said, referring to hidden-camera advertising campaigns. ConAgra expected to use the footage for promotional videos on YouTube and its Web site, and for bloggers to generate buzz when they wrote about being pleasantly surprised.
But it was the marketers, not the diners, who were in for the biggest surprise.
The hidden camera is a staple in commercials, from Folger’s ads in the 1970s and 1980s where diners in upscale restaurants unknowingly enjoyed instant coffee instead of the house brew, to more recent Pizza Hut ads, where diners, again in upscale restaurants, unknowingly enjoyed pasta from Pizza Hut.
But while consumers tend to laugh along with the ruse, ConAgra was about to learn that bloggers, who often see themselves as truth-seeking journalists, find the switcheroo less amusing, especially when it entails them misleading their readers beforehand.
“Our entire meal was a SHAM!” wrote Suzanne Chan, founder of Mom Confessionals, in ablog post after the event. “We were unwilling participants in a bait-and-switch for Marie Callender’s new frozen three cheese lasagna and there were cameras watching our reactions.”
On FoodMayhem.com, a blog by Lon Binder and Jessica Lee Binder, Mr. Binder wrotethat during a discussion led by Mr. Lempert before the meal, Mr. Binder spoke against artificial ingredients while Ms. Binder mentioned being allergic to food coloring. When the lasagna arrived, Ms. Binder was served a zucchini dish, while Mr. Binder was served lasagna.
“We discussed with the group the sad state of chemical-filled foods,” wrote Mr. Binder. “And yet, you still fed me the exact thing I said I did not want to eat.” (Among the ingredients in the lasagna: sodium nitrate, BHA, BHT, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.)
On the evening she attended, Cindy Zhou wrote on her blog, Chubby Chinese Girl, that during the pre-meal discussion, she “pointed out that the reason I ate organic, fresh and good food was because my calories are very precious to me, so I want to use them wisely.”
She continued, “Yet they were serving us a frozen meal, loaded with sodium.” (An 8-ounce serving of the lasagna contains 860 milligrams of sodium, 36 percent of the recommended daily allowance.)
“I’m NOT their target consumer and they were totally off by thinking I would buy or promote their highly processed frozen foods after tricking me to taste it,” Ms. Zhou wrote.
As negative comments on blogs, Twitter and Facebook grew, ConAgra canceled the fifth evening and vowed not to use the hidden-camera footage for promotional purposes.
“Once we sensed it was not meeting attendees’ expectations, that’s where we stopped, we listened and we adjusted,” said Ms. Moritz, of ConAgra.
For the rest of the article, click here.
June 24, 2011
Jamiroquai Digital Download SMILE Now Distributed Via Webdoc & Soundcloud
Jamiroquai's digital download SMILE is now being distributed via Webdoc and Soundcloud. Neil Cartwright, Head of Digital at Media Junction, says, "Webdoc makes it dead simple to distribute "Smile". Since we could embed Soundcloud it's very straightforward to create a player that can be posted on Jamiroquai.com and Facebook, and subsequently shared by fans with their friends".
The cover artwork, which accompanies the single, was user-generated by Jamiroquai fans, who were asked to submit their ideas to a Flickr Group. The winner was selected by Jay Kay and used as the key visual to promote the single.
Webdoc is a ground-breaking way to mix any kind of media directly in your browser to create interactive posts on the fly in a few button clicks. Without having any web design experience or knowledge of coding, Webdoc's free tool allows you to mix different kinds of web content through a simple intuitive interface.
Take a look at Jamiroquai's webdocs here and below is the Webdoc where you can download SMILE.
Disclosure: I provide some consulting to Webdoc.
June 23, 2011
Facebook Adsales Says Brands Are Over-Obsessed With Fans? Perhaps It's That They Don't Understand Their Fans
Facebook Adsales chief says brands are over-obsessed with fans. Hmmm, perhaps on the surface that may be true, but....
My thoughts? It's not that brands are over-obsessed with fans, it's that they don't understand their fans and suddenly social media is showing them a way to really BE connected to them in ways that frightens them.
It's almost like urban meets the rural village and both throw up their hands and say now what?
It's always been about the village and the community which makes up and gathers around that village. Brands NEED that village. They love you or they don't. Give them a reason to...
June 21, 2011
Dan Gillmor on Life & Ethics in New Media: #140ConfDan Gillmor spoke on life and ethics in new media at 140Conf in New York this past week. Below is a clip of his talk.
The below webdoc combines Dan's tweets, insights, his Twitter handle, a testimonial by Craig Newmark for his book and a video. Any kind of media or content can be added to this Webdoc to create a unique visual experience for your community.
Disclosure: I provide some consulting to Webdoc.
June 02, 2011
Social Media ROI and Measurement: Great Resources & Links
Social media ROI and measurement is an ongoing progress. We all use the tools and some of us even have budgets large enough for the increasingly expensive monthly fees to monitor and make sense of the social media landscape. In other words, is all the time we're investing in social media paying off? Will it bring us more paying customers? More traffic? A community around our brand that will last or be significant short and long term?
Natalie Petouhoff aka @drnatalie and Kathy Herrmann have talked a lot about social media ROI and recently, together with Salesforce.com, produced a white paper and several videos. Below are the links to the materials they created. Their goal is to help people:
- Believe that the ROI of social media can be calculated
- Gain a better understanding of how ROI can be calculated
- Use this information to start to create their own business cases and
- Stimulate a lot of discussion on the topic.
These resources will help you get a clearer understanding of the impact social media can have on businesses, education, government and other areas.
Snackable Insights Into ROI of Social Media
Episode 1: How to Build a Business Case for Social Customer Service
Episode 2: Calculating ROI for Social Customer Service
Episode 3: How Social Customer Service Benefits the Entire Company
White Paper: ROI Guide
May 31, 2011
On Blog Monetization at BlogWorldExpo 2011: It's Not Just About Google
Below are a few insights from the blog monetization panel at BlogWorldExpo this past week in New York. It's not just about Google SEO and affiliate marketing and blogging panelists say.
Find something you can promote in your industry and check out CJ's Link Share or Click Bank. Ask yourself, how do you turn your blog’s content into a premium item? If you’re doing a blog on fashion, you can easily link to products on Amazon or eBay. You can create a tab for special travel coupons or deals. You'd be amazed at how many places offer affiliate places.
They talked about Impact Radius, a fairly new program started by CJ (Commission Junction), which has really great tracking and analytics. You can get a coupon from Impact Radius which includes a tracking code.
Syed M. Balkhi says to be careful of contextual links, you know, the kind of request where some random marketing person posing as a contact for a site with respectable clients which are apparently so relevant to your site they won't tell you the name. They want to pay you some nominal amount for a link for the year. "You can't afford them," Syed says. "If you say $1,500 per link per month, then they’ll go away. If they ask you to review your product, then that's a different story." Also check out InfoLinks.com which sells affiliate links. If an advertiser is trying to rank higher for specific links to www.skincare.com but then sends you to Avon.com, Google may penalize you for it.
John Chow built up a list over time and focused on branding rather than relying on Google traffic. He says, "I do keywords but I don’t monitor the keyword ratio to content flow. I focus my time on really controversial posts, like why feminism is the cause of global warming, etc. It draws people in. I am also very consistent – I do two blog posts a day."
In other words, when readers go to to www.johnchow.com, they will get two blog posts per day. He encourages bloggers to think down the road and think what will be useful for long term customers and readers, reinforcing these two messages: Be consistent and make a commitment that you will blog X amount per week. He doesn't rely on Google and thinks there are far more important things you can do.
Zac Johnson said he did a lot of branding as well and that it also isn't just about Google. He says, "I focused on having a really great custom design as well as having a mascot. I also created a lot of really great content and using my mascot a lot since it was something visually compelling that people would remember in the future."
What about eBooks asks the audience? They can work if the content is great they all agree. You can easily turn any word document into a PDF file, which you can upload to your blog, create a sign up box for the free eBook along with an opt in. (AWeber is one service for example, which will send an email confirmation so people have to double opt in, i.e., before we can send you the book, we have to confirm that its your email and once you do, you can download the PDF for free for signing up).
John Chow photo from his blog.
Stanchak and Cohen Comb the #BWENY Floor
Below is a great shot of industry writers and thought leaders Jesse Stanchak and Heidi Cohen.
May 30, 2011
Snapshots from BlogWorldExpo New York: #BWENY
Below are a few random shots from BlogWorldExpo New York at Jacob Javitt's Center last week. Below Gary Vaynerchuk, Jeffrey Hayzlett, H.P. Mallory and Stephanie Agresta on the Social Media Game Changers.
Amanda Coolong interviews Webdoc's Vincent Borel on Techzulu
Below Webdoc's Olivier DeSimone and Oz Sultan