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Monthly Archives: August 2010

A HOW TO INFLUENCE THE INFLUENTIAL

The competition for attention is focused on social networks as brands vie for awareness and consideration. Establishing a presence in Facebook and Twitter is as necessary as it is trivial. In the great social land grab, many organizations are missing true opportunities to connect with the fifth P of the marketing mix, people. It’s less about communicating with those individuals who are already following you online and more about those who aren’t.

To excel in social media, engagement has its rewards but it is through the acts of recognition, empowerment and reward that advocacy extends a brand’s reach across social graphs and social networks, online and in the real world.

Competing for the Moment: The New Influencer

Transcending visibility into presence and presence into community is the critical path for companies to earn a place in the hearts, minds, words and actions of the very people who define its markets.

In the real-time attention economy that is social media, branding gives way to resonance as recognition is not nearly enough to compete for the moment. Many businesses are focusing time and resources on engagement while others are experimenting with advertising and promotions. What’s clear, is that in social networks, information is not only democratized, it is deafening. For brands hoping to connect value with demand, rising above the noise is critical, but in order to see the effects of a rising tide, it must have a fleet of boats in the water.

Connecting with traditional intermediaries who maintain desirable audiences is one way to stay visible and relevant. Connecting with authorities and tastemakers directly in social networks represents a complementary opportunity to spread the word and apply a sense of endorsement and credibility to the marketing mix.

While the ideas of recruiting respected and connected individuals as brand ambassadors or creating digital street teams isn’t new in social media, it is still highly effective. As social media becomes pervasive, individuals are increasing their digital footprint through every connection they forge. Everyday people are gaining prominence in social networks and as such, a new genre of both audience and spokespersons are rapidly gaining traction.

In June 2007, I joined Chris Heuer, Tom Foremski, JD Lasica, Cathy Brooks, iJustine, Frank Gruber and others as part of the Intel Insider program. Our mission was to learn about new Intel initiatives and share its impact on the technology landscape and our lives in general.

In 2008, Graco launched the Graco Nation Ambassador program for online influencers looking to build a deeper relationship with the Graco brand and participate in unique opportunities.

Also in 2008, Walmart established the ElevenMoms program to humanize the Walmart story with those customers seeking advice from respected peers rather than solely relying on company messages and value propositions to help may common household decisions.

In April 2010, I joined a powerful Social Media Envoy along with some truly incredible people on behalf of the United Nations to raise awareness and the donation of bed nets to help #endmalaria.

Over time, many companies enlisted influential voices to help brands directly connect with existing and new audiences through social networks and blogs. In the last year alone, we witnessed an explosion of social media advertorials that created a new classification of sponsored media where influential individuals were paid or rewarded for their commercial support through Tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos and status updates. Companies such as Izea, MyLikes, and Ad.ly led the way, eventually catching the attention of the FTC and prompting new guidelines for companies to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act. The amendment marked the first update since 1980.

Recently, Ann Taylor was the subject of the first FTC investigation as a result of the new guidelines. The FTC’s Associate Director of Advertising Practices Mary Engle stated in a letter to Ann Taylor’s legal team, “We were concerned that bloggers who attended a preview on January 26, 2010 failed to disclose that they received gifts for posting blog content about that event.” The investigation was later closed without any fines or penalties imposed, but it did serve as a very public reminder that individuals who possess reach are not pawns for corporate marketing messages. The FTC believes that consumers deserve the ability to delineate between paid or leveraged information in order to make informed decisions and judgments.

The Influence Factor

Many social services are verticalizing the horizontal nature of peer-to-peer networks creating a defacto digital hierarchy. Klout, Edelmen’s TweetLevel, and PeerIndex, for instance, introduce a level of prominence into online connections measured by complex human algorithms.  From tastemakers to bloggers to mommy bloggers to you, a new trend in influencer relations is emerging, one that fuses recognition, reward, reach, and disclosure with those individuals who turn social networking into a verb.

When we look at what defines influence online, the definitions are as varied as they are debated. I believe influence is the ability to cause measurable action. Working with this interpretation allows us to examine an interesting approach by Klout, a SF-based startup that employs a rather sophisticated human algorithm that measures activities and relationships fostered by individuals on Twitter (and soon Facebook) to calculate social capital. Social capital represents the balance of your stature as dictated by the social currency exchanged with others via public and backchannel conversations, recognition, reciprocity, and the relationships that form as a result.

Klout is much more than a credit score provider for the social Web; it is a database of influencers that sorts through the massive cloud of collective consciousness to assign weight and authority to individuals based on themes and topics. One could only imagine the possibilities to connect with the long tail individuals that cause significant and measurable actions online around any topic, brand, cause, or movement.

Relevance. Resonance. Significance.

As I wrote recently in a post for the Harvard Business Review

How can businesses, which, one could argue, typically represent a “pay it backward” approach (ie, pay me for my goods and services), thrive in this environment? In my experience as a longtime social media observer who advises companies on how to successfully navigate the new media landscape, the key lies in embracing the linear concept of Relevance, Resonance, and Significance (R.R.S.).

Starbucks was among the first companies to experiment with a formal Klout influence partnership. In fact, it was the first such program for Klout as well. Essentially, Starbucks sought to connect with influential coffee socialites or more accurately stated, individuals with authority who tweet about coffee. In recognition for their prominence, these “coffee influencers” were offered a cup of Pike Place Roast on the house.

What was previously available to communications teams via media databases is now completely reimagined through the long tail of conventional clout.

Starbucks isn’t alone in its exploration of new influencers to help awaken new possibilities. Virgin America recently partnered with Klout to reward notable personalities on Twitter with free flights to Toronto. What might appear as a clear violation of the renewed FTC guidelines is actually an example of how to do it right. The flights are not an exchange for coverage, it’s simply an “opt in” reward for those who willfully submit their email address to see if they qualify for the free ticket. And, the disclosure to enjoy the flight without any obligation to publish is front and center.

I’m a true fan of Virgin America and their work in new and social media having covered their creative campaigns over the years. So, I reached out to the team to get insight into the program and the inspiration that brought it to life.

Klout and Virgin America hand-picked influencers based on Klout scores in the Toronto and California markets who fit the Virgin lifestyle.  The goal was simple: explore new, innovative, and authentic ways to engage with guests and prospects while also amplifying awareness in new and existing markets. The key is here is that budget wasn’t infinite and therefore any dollars spent had to focus on the right people with the ability to connect for less than other traditional means.

To help inspire creativity for those who may read this, I asked the very question that you are actually asking right now, how do you view the balance between recognition and reward…even though you are not requiring any form of media in exchange, the gesture naturally begets a response.

Jill Fletcher of the Virgin America new media team offered a genuine and inspiriting perspective, “We really view this program as a way to engage influencers and induce trial of our service, which we believe is unique in the skies (and a great fit for tech-forward flyers in particular). All participants are subject to the Klout Influencer Code of Ethics, which means that they are free to Tweet whatever they like about the experience – be that negative or positive – or Tweet nothing at all. Our hope is that their experience is positive, but if it isn’t, we hope that they provide us with valuable feedback on ways we can improve our service.”

Naturally, Klout is a hot ticket for brands looking to connect with these authoritative audience who each possess audiences of their own. For those looking to experiment outside of a formal program, Klout offers the ability to search for influencers on any given topic. In fact, many services such as Radian6, CitizenNet, Flowtown, mBlast, and PeopleBrowsr’s analytic.ly also offer the ability to surface influential voices on key topics and themes across multiple platforms.

The future of brand prominence and resonance starts with the recognition of the people who have earned stature in your markets. Recognition is a start. Reward is a gesture. Engagement and reciprocity is how we christen relationships. As the idea of influencers continues to diversify, embracing eminence is just the beginning.

The true promise of influencing the influencer lies in the power to become the very influencers we rely upon to tell our story. The same tools, services, and techniques that propel socializers atop these emerging social hierarchies also works for us. This is our time to not only connect with new influencers, but also establish influence and influential relationships through our intentions and actions.

#ThisisYourTime

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook

I invite you to take a look at Engage!: It was written to help you find answers…


Get Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and The Conversation Prism:

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Posted by on August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Making Money Online – Three things that have worked

There is much discussion about making money online and the internet is chock-a-block full of “guaranteed returns,” and “amazing opportunities,” to make money easily. I laugh at some of the ridiculous claims made. I am not going to make any such claims – in fact – It is hard work making money online. I have chosen hubpages as one of the income streams I currently enjoy, and as I am unlikely to ever get this page found in the search engines, thanks to the promotional efforts of the numerous spammers, scammers and occasional honest Joes, targeting “making money online,” I will stick to discussing making money here on hubpages and talk about how I make the most of the various affiliates offered here, in the hope it will be of some use to the community. I will not discuss Kontera – I personally think it is a scam and a waste of time.

The learning curve was steep, and I was singularly un-successful at first. Partly because I was unable to pick the wheat from the chaff as far as advice goes and partly because I am naturally cynical. I automatically disbelieve most things I am told – especially if they make no sense. I will give you an example:

Making Money Online
Making Money Online
I was told “Submit your hubs to social bookmarking sites to generate huge traffic, “ and I was told this by every would-be internet marketing guru on the ‘net, so I diligently signed up for every social bookmarking site I could find and began submitting my hubs to them. What an incredible waste of time that turned out to be. It turns out that stumbleupon users are not interested in where to find the best foreign exchange broker. They are more interested in pictures of half-naked Indian chicks, but I don’t do hubs full of stolen photos of half-naked Indian chicks, so I was shit out of luck.

I have since found better ways of promoting my work, but it would be a waste of time to go into specifics, because what works for me is unlikely to work for you unless you know the same people I do and write the same stuff as me. Plus the link exchange programs do not work here, and I have a feeling they will be going the way of the dinosaur once google get on top of them. What I will say is – if you can develop a relationship with any high traffic site, do so, and if you can take the time to create funny, useful content – do that also.

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Google Adsense

I saw the recent hubchallenge as an opportunity to increase my adsense income. The community publishing aspect naturally generates more traffic to hubs created in this way. I do not usually go seeking internal hubpages’ traffic because it does not convert very well but hubs that attract outside traffic are usually ranked higher and google is a strange beast.
Google will rank you based on the traffic you have and therefore place you higher up the search engine rankings which will increase your traffic, so the benefit of hubpages internal traffic is to boost your authority with very little work on your part. I suggest taking part in the hubmob and other devices that are run. You will see increased activity and therefore increased rankings with the search engines.
I did not finish the 100 hubs target – I managed 51, but I wrote them all myself in between arguing on the forums and real work. 🙂 I wrote them all to a standard format – 400 words, one photograph; specific high paying keywords targeted with each one, using the keyword I was targeting in the url, the tags, in the content and as the photo description and with no more than one outgoing link, mostly to other hubs using the keyword in that hub I am after. My daily page views have gone up by around 50% since doing the hubchallenge and my adsense has gone up by around 20% – I expect to make at least $500 this month and when the hubchallenge hubs are properly “aged,” I expect that to continue to increase. My goal is $1,000 a month within the next three months.

Ebay

A lot of people seem to have trouble using ebay correctly, as I did for quite a long time. There are several hurdles to over come, but I did finally work out what to do. Some time ago, I wrote a set of hubs around 2008 motorcyles. I wrote them knowing full well that I was unlikely to make much adsense income from them. Although I came in for a lot of flack at the time when I described how little I promoted them and several people kept telling me how useless the titles were as far as making money and attracting traffic, I did not write them for huge volumes of poorly-targeted traffic in the hope of generating a few adsense pennies.

I wrote them with the intention of making money from ebay when the 2008 motorcycles started being offered for sale as used bikes and spare parts. In the year or so since I wrote them, they have had almost 200,000 page views and rank pretty well for exactly the terms I wanted.  Do a google search for “2008 gsxr 1000” and you are going to find one of my hubs. The others get found pretty well for similar searches and I am now making about $90 a month from ebay sales.  I expect that to continue for at least five years and eventually drop off as they become more spare part sales rather than bike sales.

Amazon

In my not-so-humble opinion, there is only one way to make money from Amazon in any quantity – product reviews. I certainly wasted an awful lot of time adding an Amazon capsule to a lot of my hubs thinking that if some one was looking for a recipe, they might also be needing a skillet or a chef’s knife. And occasionally, they do, but nowhere near enough times to bother with.

So, I targeted specific ranges of products and wrote reviews. Some worked better than others. The two I targeted were iPhone accessories and Digital cameras. They balance each other well, because although people rarely seem to spend $3000 on a camera within Amazon’s short cookie life span, they are quite happy to spend sixty bucks on an iPhone Bluetooth headset so I usually get 7% commission on the few camera sales and occasionally 7.5%. These two groups of hubs earn me between $200-$600 a month and traffic continues to grow. Once again, my target is $1,000 per month and I have no reason to think I will not achieve that within the next three months.
I hope that helps any aspiring money-makers out there. You can make money with hubpages, but sometimes you need to think sideways to do so and be pretty focused to make it work. It is a waste of time adding capsules on the off-chance, and this is where most people become disheartened I think. Yes, once in a while some one will buy a skillet from my “how to make hamburgers” hub, but not nearly often enough for me to consider that a success. If you are a regular hubber, I hope this is useful information, but if you are new visitor and would be interested in making money on hubpages, you can sign up here. If you a are also interested in other ways of making money online, I have also written a guide on making money blogging. Combining the two approaches, i.e. hubpages and blogs has worked very well for me. I have also written a more comprehensive guide to making money online here. With more detailed explanations of how I go about using both hubpages and my blogs.
The other key to making money blogging – either here or on your own blogs is getting a large amount of links pointing at your pages. There is an art to this, which I describe in more detail here – Making money online ? Not without some incoming links you aren’t.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

13 NOT TO DO IN FACEBOOK FOR PRIVACY AND AVOID YOUR ACCOUNT BIENG HACKED!!

After the updating of new privacy settings, Facebook users are in big dilemma to continue their account or no. Some of them fear that they have lost the control of their account.Privacy setting have become a nightmare to many social networking people. They are really confused how to setup the privacy settings of their social networking account and to stay away from identity thieves. Here in this post we will explain some tips for Facebook, but may be useful for all social networking sites
DON’T DO THESE WHILE SETTING UP YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE
FACEBOOK PRIVACY
Show your Geo location
Most of the Social networking sites have this option or similar options. Kindly avoid this if you feel that it is not necessary for others to know your location of social networking.
Using a Weak Password
Always use complex passwords such as pU012txEs which contain at least eight characters, with symbols, numbers and alphabets. Now a days there are many software being used by account hackers to generate passwords with numerical or alphabets or mixed.
Let Search Engines Find You
Never let search engines find your profile and actions.Change your privacy controls so that only your friends can find you in search engines.
Keeping Your Full Birth Date in Your Profile
Whenever you keep full birth date in your profile, then it gives a chance for hackers to find the recovery password of your profiles. If it is not necessary, please keep a unique birthday for almost all public accounts .
Providing access to everyone in internet
Never provide access to your profile for everyone in internet.Limit access to only your friends, friends of friends, or yourself. Restrict access to photos, birth date, religious views, and family information etc
Allowing kids to use Facebook or other Social networking accounts
Always monitor how your kids are handling social networking sites. Never let their accounts unmonitored. Always check who is online with them. Also warn your kids not to handover any personal details like telephone number, location etc to any unknown persons.
Posting through your profile that you’ll Be Away From Home
If you post that you are away from home in your profile, then it is quite easier for geo locating hackers to attack even your private properties. Beware of any attacks when you are away from your home.
Posting details of club you visited last week
Please do not post certain details like the club you are visiting weekly, night parties you attended. Such details will help criminals to track your daily movements.
Allowing all applications to be active in your profile
Allow only selected applications in your profile. Activating more profiles will increase the chance of hacking of your account.
Accepting friendship requests from all
Privacy hackers usually submit a friendship request, before they start hacking. So review all friendship requests before approving them.
Providing friendship requests to all
Some social networkers believe that the number of friends decides the popularity of their profile. This is absolutely wrong and always select the correct person as your friend. Also, if you have too many friends, then new persons cannot add you in their list.

Flirting in Social networking sites

Chatting and phone enjoyment is now very popular among teenagers. Boys and girls find pleasure online when they are alone at home. Certain social networking allows users to post chat history. Also joining in groups offers phone pleasure and sharing your mobile number with them may invite more trouble for you. Use traditional messengers to chat with others.
Direct bank account transfer to charity services

Never transfer money directly to charity services in social networking sites from your bank account. Instead of this, use parallel money transfer services like PayPal or western union.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

WHY SHOULD FACEBOOK BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, and Kyle Lacy popularized the idea that companies in social media need a home base (Web site or blog), outposts (major customer engagement platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) and frontiers (lesser, experimental options like UStream, 12 Seconds).

But now, companies are starting to experiment with using Facebook as their social media home base, instead of as an outpost.

And why not? It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, your customers are on Facebook. Now rocketing past 200 million members (making it the 6th largest country in the world if it were a nation), Facebook offers online reach previously available only in Google and Yahoo flavors.

Come Home to Facebook

Vitamin Water tagged its NCAA basketball television spots with www.facebook.com/vitaminwater producing significant Twitter chatter in the moments following the commercial’s first airing.

Before the commercials, Vitamin Water has approximately 40,000 fans on Facebook, and now has 259,663. Not bad, but the real ROI will come from Vitamin Water activating their fans, not just collecting them.

Retail clothing darling H&M is doing just that with a spiffy new Web site to Facebook integration that displays their Spring collection with engaging Flash animations on the corporate site, but asks visitors to click through to Facebook to comment on each item. Terrific synergy, and solid participation, with more than 100 votes and comments on each garment.

7 Reasons Facebook Could Dominate Your Social Media Strategy

I see 7 advantages to using Facebook as your social media home base.

1. Reach
One of the great axioms of marketing is “Fish Where the Fish Are.” Increasingly, fish of all shapes and sizes are on Facebook.

2. Clarity of Purpose
Facebook enables brands to interact with their fans via wall, discussions, events, photos, videos, etc. without a bunch of other corporate content getting in the way.

3. Analytics
Facebook provides substantial data on the affinity and demographics of your fans. In comparison to Web analytics, Facebook provides a much better sense of who your audience is in real life.

4. Ease of Use
Facebook pages can be established and maintained by everyone in your company that is not Amish. No fancy programming skills required.

5. Promotion
When consumers become fans of your company, that fact is shared with their friends via the real-time update component of Facebook. No public announcement is made when somebody visits your Web site.

6. Personal
The fact that Facebook users have to be real people (unlike MySpace and Twitter, no fakes allowed) and have to be authenticated before use, consumers can’t hide behind anonymous usernames. Plus, because the vast majority of Facebook members use authentic profile pictures, the “relationships” between consumer and brand have an out in the open characteristic that isn’t available on most Web sites.

7. Cost
Free. Totally free. Web developers, insert shudder

4 Reasons Facebook Shouldn’t be Your Social Media Home Base

I see a few drawbacks to pushing Facebook as your social media home base.

1. Brand presentation
Facebook does a terrible job of enabling brands to customize the look and layout of their pages. This is by design, and while it prevents Facebook from devolving into the visual mess that is MySpace, it’s tough to tell your highly paid branding agency that you can’t use the corporate font, colors, etc.

2. Ownership
Facebook is huge and getting bigger all the time. Based on recent reports of 600,000 new members per day, approximately 1,249 people have joined Facebook since you started reading this post. But, no matter how big it gets, you don’t own it. It could be bought, bastardized, ruined.

3. URL
This is perhaps a niggling point, but I’m told that Facebook charges $50,000 for requires a Facebook media buy to get a direct Facebook.com URL like http://www.vitaminwater.com/facebook. That’s a big ante for many brands. The non-custom Facebook URLs are ridiculous. I had a friend (@lisamloeffler) set up a Facebook page for a local theater company I help direct. The Facebook URL is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flagstaff-AZ/Theatrikos-Theatre-Company/61012197614 (thanks, Facebook. That’s super convenient) If I were you, I would set up internal redirects to Facebook. Something like http://facebook.exacttarget.com (insert your brand name in place of my friends/clients at ExactTarget).

4. Analytics
While the demographic data and interactions counting of Facebook’s analytics is great, you don’t get any information on referrers. It sure would be nice to know whether my email campaign, tweets, YouTube video, et al drove people to my Facebook page. Get on it, Facebook.

Facebook as home base. Brilliant, or crazy?

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Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

How to pick the right social media tool-facebook?twitter?…..

We have spent a lot of time working with various social media monitoring tools and I’ve whittled my list of favorites down to two or three. But we get a lot of questions about why one likes particular tools better than others and how we decide to use which, so here’s a summary of our thoughts process that we  hope will help you make a similar decision for your client or your organization.

First – What are the objectives? What questions are you trying to answer?
• Competitive analysis: How does your brand stack up to the competition?
• On-going monitoring: What are people saying about your brand and how can you use that information to either repair your reputation or identify opportunities?
• Research: How do people talk about your industry and who are the influencers? How can your brand participate in this space most effectively?

Second – Are there any special types of information you’ll need? That could be things like:
• Filtering by region: How specific will you need to be? County, region, state or city?
• Languages: Will you need to analyze foreign languages and do you have anyone in house to translate or will you need the tool to handle that?
• Demographics: Do you want to be able to filter by the demographics of the author?
• Sentiment: How much are you willing to automate verse check by hand? In other words, how accurate does it need to be?
*Note that although various tools might measure this data, it’s inclusion is dependent on the data being available on each mention so in most cases only a subset of the total mentions are counted in this type of analysis.

Third – how will you be handling the monitoring?
• Are you working with a team or collaborating with a client?
• How much control do you want to have to be able to make changes yourself?
• How frequently will you need to create reports or check the filters? How easy is it to pull a quick dashboard without a lot of work on your part?
• What’s the client/competitor/industry name(s)? How hard will it be to filter?

Fourth – what are the operational/resource concerns?
• What’s the budget? How much can you afford to spend on the tool?
• How much volume do you expect to get? You might want to test this.
• How much time will you be able to allocate to this project? (based on budget or schedule)

Once you’ve answered those questions you can compare major social media monitoring tools. I’ve started a comparison chart, based only on my own experience and opinion, for you to use and update as you see fit. To be fair, I’ve only included those I’ve actually used (Radian6, Sysomos, Spiral 16) or tested (Meltwater, SM2).

Social Media Monitoring Matrix

The main pitfall to avoid is flashy graphics for the sake of flashy graphics. Something that I couldn’t translate into the table above is how comfortable you feel using the UI. You need something that’s easy for you to use and that will be practical for the application you have at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for demonstrations or trial accounts (even if you’ve already had a trial with that provider before.) They’ll often work with you to make sure you feel comfortable you’re making the right decision. You can also ask for training to make sure you’re using all the features to the best advantage. Another piece of advice I’d offer you is don’t get too caught up in budget. It’s much easier to pay a bit more to have the best tool for your needs than to start off with something that doesn’t have the power you need and have to upgrade later. You risk losing a lot of history and having to do a lot of work to get the program back on track.

And that’s how I pick the right social media monitoring tool for the job. What about you? Any factors you look for or service you use that I didn’t mention? Leave your additions, and any questions, in the comments!

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

ATTENTION GRABBING TACTICS FOR LAUNCHING A BUSINESS BLOG

Attention-Grabbing Tactics for Launching a New Business Blog

social media how toYou’ve created a blog for your business. Now what? You’re probably asking yourself, “How do people find out about my new blog?”

The simple answer is: You have to promote your blog and let people know it exists.

Optimizing your blog for search engines is critical, but just like any website, product, book or service you create, you have to promote the launch of a new blog.

ribbonThere are a lot of ways to promote a new blog and I’m sharing 14 tactics to help you get the word out about your new baby. Heck, you could use these tactics for an established blog as well if you want a boost in traffic and subscribers.

But before you tell the world your blog exists, make sure you have completed these essential tasks first:

  1. Does your masthead (banner) make it easy for new readers to know what your blog is about and if it’s right for them (target audience)?
  2. Is your name as author/publisher easy to find?
  3. Do you have an About/Contact page?
  4. Do you have subscription options (RSS and email)?
  5. Do you have a call to action to get more info (join your mailing list, get a free report, etc.)?
  6. Do you have social sharing buttons on your posts?
  7. Do you have links to your social networking profiles?
  8. Do you have comments enabled?
  9. Do you have 7 to 10 posts published?

Point #9 is important because you don’t want to send people to a blog with only one or two posts. New readers will want to get a sense of your style, content and expertise before they commit to subscribing. I strongly recommend having a minimum of seven posts published before you start promoting your new blog.

Implement the Obvious First

Before I get to the 14 creative ways to promote your blog, implement the obvious and see #12, 13 and 14 in this article.

  • Syndicate your blog content to your Twitter stream.
  • Link your blog to your Facebook business page.
  • Link your blog to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Submit your blog to the appropriate blog directories.
  • Write and post a media release.
  • Send an email announcement to your list.

The Not-So-Obvious

When I was thinking about this topic, I decided to “tap the wisdom of the crowd” to get the best of the best ideas. I posted the following question on LinkedIn Answers:

question on LinkedInQuestion posted on LinkedIn Answers.

There were 27 responses in 7 days. There were many similar recommendations and a few that stated the obvious (like using social media and writing engaging content). I’ve culled through them and offer you a selection of tips I feel are the most effective for launching your new business blog.

#1: Host a Live Streaming Video Event

When Mike Stelzner launched Social Media Examiner, he created buzz and a lot of traffic by hosting four back-to-back video chats with the initial contributors (me, Mari Smith, Jason Falls and Chris Garrett).

#2: Use Offline Marketing

Boris Mahovac recommends going offline and sending postcards to your existing clients, asking them to promote your new blog to their contacts. Using a unique URL will allow you to track new visitors/signups, and this can be a way for you to reward the one client who sends the most traffic to your new blog. You need to give your clients an incentive to promote your new blog—say a chance to win an iPad, or something more expensive, depending on the business (model).

#3: Create a Video to Promote Your Blog

Apryl Parcher suggested using Animoto.com to create a video about your blog. Post it on your YouTube channel and Facebook page. Send the video link to your email list as well. Several others also mentioned creating videos and with the popularity of video, I encourage you to include it in your launch plan.

#4: Use Remote Blogging Sites to Extend the Reach of Your Content

Brandon Uttley uses Posterous.com to post excerpts from blog posts with links back to his main blog and other social media sites. Remote blogging sites often have high traffic and this puts your content in front of potential new readers.

posterous exampleAn excerpt of the original blog post is published on a Posterous blog with a link back to the original post.

#5: Host a Live (In-person) Event for Your Announcement

As Barry Hurd says, “I think a lot of people forget the social part of the media. Launching a new blog is really about reaching through your relationships.” Host a private reception, dinner or cocktail party with industry leaders in your niche. Or, go big and host a meetup or tweetup and cross-promote with a charity. Live events are an opportunity to connect face-to-face, get to know the needs of your target audience and build a lot of goodwill.

#6: Repurpose Your Content

I could relate to Kathi Browne’s suggestion to submit blog posts on article sites like EzineArticles.com.  There’s more on repurposing your blog posts here.

#7: Feature Experts

It comes as no surprise that Liz Strauss , a master at building community, shares a tip about featuring other people on your blog. Start an interview series that features experts who folks want to know better. Invite a wide range of people to participate in short interviews that ask unusual and insightful questions. Include the expert’s name in the blog title.  Additionally, make heroes of other people who are just starting out. Point out their work as well.

#8: Comment on Other Blogs in Your Niche

This suggestion was offered by quite a few people, and with good reason. As Janet Fouts says, “Commenting on other blogs with useful (not promotional) information and insight can pique the interest of other readers and also build those treasured backlinks.”

#9: Do Some Guest Posting

This idea came up many times as well. There are two sides to this: inviting other bloggers to guest post on your blog and offering to guest post on complementary blogs. Both ways can generate visibility for your blog. The value is in creating connections with colleagues and creating win-win-win for you, other bloggers and your readers. The links and buzz will support your blog launch.

#10: Host a Webinar

Along the lines of a live video chat or an offline event, create a webinar or teleseminar to introduce your blog. Rather than simply announcing your blog, make it a learning experience by teaching or demonstrating an aspect of your expertise. Remind your audience they can continue getting the same great content by subscribing to and reading your blog.

#11: Run a Contest

Dawn Pigoni offered this excellent idea: Run a contest based on the content of the blog. Have an “answer hunt” where the answers to win the prize(s) are found within the blog posts. That will get people reading the quality, content-rich posts while attempting to win a prize. Then use Twitter to post questions and the winner(s).

#12: Host an Online Radio Show

BlogTalkRadio is a popular and free site that provides the tools and foundation for creating your own show. Because of high traffic and the syndication options on Blog Talk Radio, a show focused on your niche could generate an ongoing stream of visitors to your blog. If hosting isn’t for you, most radio hosts are always looking for guests to fill their time slots. No doubt you can find many shows that are in alignment with your blog’s niche.

#13: Create a Related Special Report

Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com shared his secret: Release a valuable piece of “extended content” such as a PDF report or video tutorial (without an opt-in) fairly early after the blog launches. While the content itself is valuable, it also acts as a “sales letter” for subscribing to the blog, due to the promise to keep expanding on the themes presented in the extended content in more detail. This allows you to create a “content event” early. And it’s a natural way to attract long-term subscribers if well done. Just be sure to have the opt-in call to action at the close of the extended content, because that’s the action you want people to take.

#14: Advertise Your Site

Clay Franklin recommends using Craigslist, eBay classifieds and Facebook ads to boost awareness of your new blog. This will depend on your budget. If you do want to spend some advertising dollars, you can test a Google Adwords campaign and see what kind of results you get.

If you were to implement just three or four of these ideas, you would see a boost in visibility, traffic and blog subscribers.  Pick the tactics that fit with your business model, style and intended audience and you’re sure to experience success.

Now it’s your turn. What creative tactics have you used or observed to launch a new blog? Share your ideas in the comments box below

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

MAKE MONEY ON-LINE-3 THINGS THAT HAVE WORKED!

There is much discussion about making money online and the internet is chock-a-block full of “guaranteed returns,” and “amazing opportunities,” to make money easily. I laugh at some of the ridiculous claims made. I am not going to make any such claims – in fact – It is hard work making money online. I have chosen hubpages as one of the income streams I currently enjoy, and as I am unlikely to ever get this page found in the search engines, thanks to the promotional efforts of the numerous spammers, scammers and occasional honest Joes, targeting “making money online,” I will stick to discussing making money here on hubpages and talk about how I make the most of the various affiliates offered here, in the hope it will be of some use to the community. I will not discuss Kontera – I personally think it is a scam and a waste of time.

The learning curve was steep, and I was singularly un-successful at first. Partly because I was unable to pick the wheat from the chaff as far as advice goes and partly because I am naturally cynical. I automatically disbelieve most things I am told – especially if they make no sense. I will give you an example:

Making Money Online
Making Money Online
I was told “Submit your hubs to social bookmarking sites to generate huge traffic, “ and I was told this by every would-be internet marketing guru on the ‘net, so I diligently signed up for every social bookmarking site I could find and began submitting my hubs to them. What an incredible waste of time that turned out to be. It turns out that stumbleupon users are not interested in where to find the best foreign exchange broker. They are more interested in pictures of half-naked Indian chicks, but I don’t do hubs full of stolen photos of half-naked Indian chicks, so I was shit out of luck.

I have since found better ways of promoting my work, but it would be a waste of time to go into specifics, because what works for me is unlikely to work for you unless you know the same people I do and write the same stuff as me. Plus the link exchange programs do not work here, and I have a feeling they will be going the way of the dinosaur once google get on top of them. What I will say is – if you can develop a relationship with any high traffic site, do so, and if you can take the time to create funny, useful content – do that also.

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Google Adsense

I saw the recent hubchallenge as an opportunity to increase my adsense income. The community publishing aspect naturally generates more traffic to hubs created in this way. I do not usually go seeking internal hubpages’ traffic because it does not convert very well but hubs that attract outside traffic are usually ranked higher and google is a strange beast.
Google will rank you based on the traffic you have and therefore place you higher up the search engine rankings which will increase your traffic, so the benefit of hubpages internal traffic is to boost your authority with very little work on your part. I suggest taking part in the hubmob and other devices that are run. You will see increased activity and therefore increased rankings with the search engines.
I did not finish the 100 hubs target – I managed 51, but I wrote them all myself in between arguing on the forums and real work. 🙂 I wrote them all to a standard format – 400 words, one photograph; specific high paying keywords targeted with each one, using the keyword I was targeting in the url, the tags, in the content and as the photo description and with no more than one outgoing link, mostly to other hubs using the keyword in that hub I am after. My daily page views have gone up by around 50% since doing the hubchallenge and my adsense has gone up by around 20% – I expect to make at least $500 this month and when the hubchallenge hubs are properly “aged,” I expect that to continue to increase. My goal is $1,000 a month within the next three months.

Ebay

A lot of people seem to have trouble using ebay correctly, as I did for quite a long time. There are several hurdles to over come, but I did finally work out what to do. Some time ago, I wrote a set of hubs around 2008 motorcyles. I wrote them knowing full well that I was unlikely to make much adsense income from them. Although I came in for a lot of flack at the time when I described how little I promoted them and several people kept telling me how useless the titles were as far as making money and attracting traffic, I did not write them for huge volumes of poorly-targeted traffic in the hope of generating a few adsense pennies.

I wrote them with the intention of making money from ebay when the 2008 motorcycles started being offered for sale as used bikes and spare parts. In the year or so since I wrote them, they have had almost 200,000 page views and rank pretty well for exactly the terms I wanted.  Do a google search for “2008 gsxr 1000” and you are going to find one of my hubs. The others get found pretty well for similar searches and I am now making about $90 a month from ebay sales.  I expect that to continue for at least five years and eventually drop off as they become more spare part sales rather than bike sales.

Amazon

In my not-so-humble opinion, there is only one way to make money from Amazon in any quantity – product reviews. I certainly wasted an awful lot of time adding an Amazon capsule to a lot of my hubs thinking that if some one was looking for a recipe, they might also be needing a skillet or a chef’s knife. And occasionally, they do, but nowhere near enough times to bother with.

So, I targeted specific ranges of products and wrote reviews. Some worked better than others. The two I targeted were iPhone accessories and Digital cameras. They balance each other well, because although people rarely seem to spend $3000 on a camera within Amazon’s short cookie life span, they are quite happy to spend sixty bucks on an iPhone Bluetooth headset so I usually get 7% commission on the few camera sales and occasionally 7.5%. These two groups of hubs earn me between $200-$600 a month and traffic continues to grow. Once again, my target is $1,000 per month and I have no reason to think I will not achieve that within the next three months.
I hope that helps any aspiring money-makers out there. You can make money with hubpages, but sometimes you need to think sideways to do so and be pretty focused to make it work. It is a waste of time adding capsules on the off-chance, and this is where most people become disheartened I think. Yes, once in a while some one will buy a skillet from my “how to make hamburgers” hub, but not nearly often enough for me to consider that a success. If you are a regular hubber, I hope this is useful information, but if you are new visitor and would be interested in making money on hubpages, you can sign up here. If you a are also interested in other ways of making money online, I have also written a guide on making money blogging. Combining the two approaches, i.e. hubpages and blogs has worked very well for me. I have also written a more comprehensive guide to making money online here. With more detailed explanations of how I go about using both hubpages and my blogs.
The other key to making money blogging – either here or on your own blogs is getting a large amount of links pointing at your pages. There is an art to this, which I describe in more detail here – Making money online ? Not without some incoming links you aren’t.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2010 in Uncategorized