Archive for January, 2010

PostHeaderIcon How To Ease the Pressure of Blogging

A Guest Post by David Turnbull of Adventures of a Barefoot Geek

After the initial excitement of launching a new blog fades most bloggers are a few steps away from being overwhelmed with the pressure of blogging to the point that they quit, losing the momentum they were building up and all the progress they’d made. This is an unfortunately common occurence.

Writing. Guest posting. Commenting. Responding to emails. Continuous learning. It’s a lot to take in and if you’re not adequately prepared to face challenges as they appear there’s a likelihood that one day you’ll choose not to publish another post and then you’re back to square one.

Recently, just a fornight ago in fact I became conscious of these feelings as my most recent blog was reaching the 6 month mark. I’d surpassed all the goals I’d set for myself but there was stilll that worry of being locked into my work instead of having control over it. I have no problem with hard work, but when it hits the point of dominating my life I prefer to step back and ask myself “How can I make this easier on myself?”

And that’s what I really want to share in this article. This is not about escaping the work of blogging (because I do honestly enjoy it, just not when it causes imbalance in my life) but to relieve yourself of the constant worry and uncertainty that blogging entails.

Set smaller goals

I’m an advocate of thinking big in most areas of life. If you’re dedicated and disciplined then ambition can often fuel creativity and drive. But blogging is different. There are so many interwoven components to blogging that a big goal often becomes an aimless goal, and an aimless goal is as bad as no goal.

Writing is the most important task for a blogger, so let’s use that as an example. One common belief held by many writers is that you should sit down in the morning at 9am and then not move until 5pm. The idea is that this forces you to write. Do this for 3 days in a row and you’ll lose whatever passion for blogging you ever had. The alternative is much more attractive.

When you sit down to write tell yourself this magical phrase: I’ll be satisified when I’ve written X words. Replace X with the smallest amount of words you can be realistically satisfied with. Once you’ve made this decision and are no longer constricted by outrageous word counts or time frames there’s no anxiety as you work and I expect you’ll find yourself greatly surpassing the “satisfactory metrics” you set for yourself.

Clarify and simplify

What do you want to get out of blogging? Answer that question at least once a month for as long as you own or write for a blog. I imagine most people will respond “to make money” and that’s fine, but there has to be a motivation higher than that, because blogging isn’t exactly the most effective approach to generating an income.

Once you understand with crystal clear clarity why you’re blogging you can eliminate a ton of the garbage that leads to blogging-based stress.

When I first started blogging I had the “make money” goal lodged in my brain, but over the past few weeks I’ve had a shift in my thinking, in that what I truly love is writing and making exciting (and sometimes weird) changes in my life. After I had clarified this I realized that my actions were inconsistent with what I wanted. Instead of writing I was spending most of my time leaving comments on blogs, posting in forums, and using other standard blog promotion tactics. Most of this was unfullfilling.

Now my approach to writing and building a readership is far simpler. These days I do 2 things:

  • Write (for my own blog and guest posts such as this).
  • Care (responding to tweets, emails, blog comments etc).

This has been enormous, so don’t underestimate it. Clarify exactly what you want out of blogging and shape your actions to accomodate for that. Sure, if I were to leave 20+ comments on blogs per day, or become an active member in lots of communities my readership would probably climb faster. But at the same time the very essence of what I love about blogging would be lost, and that’d be setting myself up for eventual failure. Classic example of short term sacrifice (a small boost in traffic) for long term gain (endless fulfillment).

Become a “what matters” blogger

Conventional blogging advice indicates that you should write 3-5 times per week without fail. Yes, in the early days of blogging (at least the first 5-6 months) consistency is crucial. You need to prove that you’ve got the chops and that you’re not going to abandon your readership. But, aside from news blogs and blogs that have multiple contributors, I’d suggest you lower the frequency significantly.

This is something I lifted from Tina of ThinkSimpleNow.com who is well known for taking multiple months away from her blog. I doubt everyone could be met with success using that approach, but the lesson still holds true: to ease the pressure of writing and heighten the respect from your readership only write and publish content that truly matters.

What “matters” is a subjective gauge of course, but at its core it’s your own highest inner standard that you must hold yourself too. Through this approach you will end up spending more time writing individual posts, but:

  • Each post will provide you and your readers with lasting fulfillment.
  • There’ll be less of a frantic rush to publish content.
  • Freeing yourself from a strict deadline and schedule is incredibly liberating.

As a poll here on Problogger indicated, lowering your frequency is not what causes people to unsubscribe from your blog, it’s posting too much that readers dislike. Here’s a quote from Darren himself:

I’ve lost count of the number of bloggers who tell me that scaling back their posting frequency a little brings a new life to their blog…scaling back a little means that they are able to develop better quality posts, that they get more comments per post (the posts remain on the front page of the blog longer) and readers say that they appreciate it.

People don’t unsubscribe from blogs when every piece of content provides them with genuine value.

Successful blogging requires sustained effort over a long period of time. I don’t want to make it seem like you can eliminate hard work and the anxiety that comes with the process. But you can make it easier on yourself. Take action to ease the pressure of blogging and refocus on what you truly care about.

What strategies do you use to ease the pressure of blogging?

David Turnbull is a life-long geek who loves to write about life hacking, simplicity and technology at his blog Adventures of a Barefoot Geek.

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

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How To Ease the Pressure of Blogging

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PostHeaderIcon This Week in the ShoeMoney Marketplace

New listings placed this week in the ShoeMoney Marketplace:

Want to get your job, product, or announcement out to hundreds of thousands of very targeted ShoeMoney readers? Create a marketplace listing today!


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PostHeaderIcon Dot Com Pho – Michael Kwan 2.0 Edition


Dot Com Pho headed back to Happy Pho for the Michael Kwan 2.0 edition. We were joined by two local Vancouver foodies, Kim-Kiu Ho of I’m Only Here For The Food and Mijune Pak for Follow Me Foodie. Another new attendee was Ariane Colenbrander of ArianecDesign.com. All attendees got a free copy of Sociable! by Shane Gibson and Stephen Jagger. Anyone is welcome to join us at Dot Com Pho. Sometimes we give away free stuff, sometimes we don’t. Follow me on Twitter to find the time and location of the next one.

For this edition of Dot Com Pho, we have the new mayor of Happy Pho, the new and improved Michael Kwan 2.0, foodies who use Blogspot, Stephen Fung book signing, my new Make Money Online book and debating whether or not to buy an Apple iPad. Enjoy and we’ll see you next week for another Dot Com episode.

Discover the SECRETS I’ve Learned to go from zero a month to over $40,000 a month from blogging. Download Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com for FREE!



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PostHeaderIcon 44% of Bloggers Sell a Product or Service Of Their Own From Their Blog

The last poll here on ProBlogger examined a growing trend among bloggers trying to monetize their sites – to sell their own products from their blogs rather than just relying upon advertising and affiliate revenue.

Whether it be by selling an E-Book, training program or some other kind of learning program or whether it is selling one self as a consultant or promoting a product from a business that the blogger owns – more and more bloggers do seem to be exploring this as a way to make money.

The poll results were as follows:

sell-products-blog.png

I’ve not run this poll previously so have nothing to compare it to – however my gut feeling on this one is that if conducted even just a year ago the percentages would have been further apart. I suspect in the year ahead we’ll see them grow even closer.

Out of interest I thought I’d compile a list of the types of products and services that people said that they sell in the comments of the poll post. You can see that there’s a lot of variation (it’s actually a really inspiring list to me that illustrates a little of what can be done with a blog!

  • Design work
  • Web/Plugin Development
  • Membership Site
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • E-Books
  • Reports
  • Legal Services
  • Book (hard cover)
  • Software
  • Speaking/Training Services
  • Music Lessons
  • Copy Writing Services
  • SEO services
  • Tutoring
  • Screencast/Video Content
  • Scrapbook Supplies
  • Sewing Patterns
  • Photographic Prints
  • Excel Templates
  • Music/CD
  • Craft
  • Flowers/Florist
  • Bag Patterns
  • Marketing Services
  • Skincare products
  • Handmade Soap
  • Makeup Artist Services
  • Craft Kits
  • Calendars
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Gourmet Food Items
  • Toys
  • Website Templates
  • Paintings/Art
  • Diet Products
  • Real Estate Brokerage
  • Fitness Program
  • Scuba Diving Education Business
  • Personalised Spoof Newspaper Front Pages
  • T-Shirts
  • Jewellery

There are sure to be many many other examples of what can be sold off the back of a blog – feel free to add more of your experience in this in comments below.

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

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44% of Bloggers Sell a Product or Service Of Their Own From Their Blog

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PostHeaderIcon Lost Fans – ARE YOU FRICKIN READY!!!!?!?!?

LostIts almost upon us. The final Season of LOST! I almost don’t want it to be over =(. LOST has been the best show I have ever seen on TV, full of twists and turns. Its also amazing to me how many people in the internet marketing space watch lost.

I feel sorry for those who have not watched it live. When you do see it it can’t possibly live up to the hype and plus everyone will have already spoiled it for you.

For you die hard LOSTies…. ARE YOU READY!


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Lost Fans – ARE YOU FRICKIN READY!!!!?!?!?


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PostHeaderIcon Welcome To Vancouver – Home of the 2010 Winter Olympic


In less than two weeks, my home city of Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Olympic. The city is ready for its biggest event since Expo 86. There is an excitement in the air that I haven’t felt in a long time. Vancouver has consistently won best city in the world to the live in titles from many organizations and the world is about to find out why.

For those coming to the games, Vancouver and I welcome you. Let me show you a little preview on what you can expect when you land in our fair city. The video below is an artistic collaboration between Innerlife Project and TimeLapseHD. It was filmed along the same time as when I filmed living above the clouds. Welcome to Vancouver!

Discover the SECRETS I’ve Learned to go from zero a month to over $40,000 a month from blogging. Download Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com for FREE!



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PostHeaderIcon Affiliate News – Free Shirt Friday

Affiliate News is a service that keeps track of the most popular Affiliate Marketing bloggers around the world and providing one central location to be updated of new blog postings. Affiliate News uses personalized history, and custom feeds to tailor the site to your preferences. You can also block feeds you are not interested in and save articles you find particularly helpful. So check out their site at www.affiliatenews.com.

Accompanied with the shirt was also 6 (SIX) bottles of Captain Morgan Premium Stock which would have been awesome except I quit drinking a month ago. I gave a bottle to our UPS driver, Tigh, my nanny Carly and we have a few left over.

If you would like to see your website or company featured on Free Shirt Friday click here. BTW even though I quit drinking sending free booze will always get you to the front of the line.


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PostHeaderIcon Azoogle Playboy Mansion Publisher Challenge 2010


For those of you who attended last year, the Azoogle party at the Playboy Mansion was THE party of 2009. Well, Azoogle is doing it again! Only this time, it’s going to be much bigger and even better. For those who didn’t attend last year, you certainly missed out. Here’s how to go make sure you’re on the list for 2010.

The Challenge

For publishers who drive the highest amount of incremental revenue through the AzoogleAds network during the period of February 1, 2010 at 12:01AM EST to July 31, 2010 Midnight EST versus the prior 6-month period (August 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010).

Example: Publisher A drives $15,000 in revenue from Feb. 1, 2010 to July 31, 2010. Publisher A had driven $5,000 in revenue from August 1, 2009 to Jan. 31, 2010. Publisher A, therefore, has $10,000 in incremental revenue for the purpose of the challenge.

The standings for the contest will be released on Monday, February 15, 2010 and will be updated every Monday thereafter. The Top 40 publishers win a party at the Playboy Mansion. In addition, the Top 5 publishers will get a donation made by Epic in their name to the charity of their choice.

The Prize

All expense paid trip to LA and a blow out party at the Playboy Mansion! Once on the ground in LA, you will check into Azoogle’s luxury hotel of choice. The first night, you will get to spend time with Epic Advertising staff, including wining, dining and fun. They have a very special night planned, but that is a secret for now. The daytime agenda is relatively open and will allow for free time during the day on Saturday, August 28. Then, around 8:30 PM on the 28th, the real fun starts.

You will be picked up via shuttle right at the hotel and transported onto the Playboy Mansion property. As you make your way up the driveway, you’ll see the “Playmates at Play” street sign and wind your way past the famous front lawn. Upon exiting the shuttle, you will walk through the Mansion gates and into the expansive backyard, which has hosted the most legendary parties in the world. You will walk on the very same ground as the most famous people on the planet. Imagine, the huge pool, the “Grotto”, live petting zoo, multiple food and drink stations…all for you to enjoy. After the party is over, you will be shuttled back to the hotel, a stress-free end to the perfect evening.

But I’m Not A Super Affiliate!

OK, you’re thinking this is the best contest in the world and you would give ANYTHING to go but you’re not a Super Affiliate and the chances of beating the likes of Shoemoney in an affiliate challenge is zero (less than zero even). Have no fear because there will be opportunities to win tickets to the party over the next six months. As a matter of fact, Azoogle had promised me there will be a contest just for John Chow dot Com readers!

However, you can’t win unless you are an AzoogleAds publisher, so head on over and sign up! If you’re already an Azoogle publisher then you’re good to go. See you at the Playboy Mansion!

The 2010 AzoogleAds Playboy Mansion Publishers Challenge

Discover the SECRETS I’ve Learned to go from zero a month to over $40,000 a month from blogging. Download Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com for FREE!



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PostHeaderIcon HubSpot TV – How to Fail at Social Media


HubSpot TV is LIVE every Friday at 4:00pm EST. Watch the show in real-time at www.hubspot.tv and chat with us via Twitter.

Episode #76 – January 22, 2010
(Episode Length: 24 minutes, 3 seconds)

Intro

Doing it Right

Headlines

Twitter User Growth Slowing

  • Twitter User Growth Slowed From Peak of 13% in March 2009 to 3-5% in October
  • In October 2009 the Twitter user base grew 3.5% – robust growth for most web applications, but far below the 13% growth in users Twitter experienced in March 2009.*
  • Today the average Twitter account has 300 followers; in July, it had 70
  • The average account now follows 173 accounts; in July it was only following 47
  • The average account today has posted 420 updates; in July that number was 119
  • Marketing Takeaway: Twitter is just one of many social media channels.  Diversify!

How to Fail at Social Media

  • How to Fail at B2B Social Media
  • Siloed Social Media Practitioners – No matter if you work internal for the company or are providing social media services through an agency or as a consultant, you must be connected to the rest of the marketing or communications team.
  • Lack of Engagement – After establishing accounts on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, you only tweet out your own content. You set up automated tools to gradually grow your followers, but you do not engage with them.
  • Rely Only on Social Media – Continue to invest in traditional communications, but always include links to social sites to build those communities. A customer who is a heavy Facebook user will notice a Facebook logo on your printed catalog and become a fan.
  • Don’t Give It Enough Time – Building a community takes time and making drastic, knee-jerk changes too quickly without allowing natural growth will ensure your failure.
  • Marketing Takeaway – Social media is a PART of your inbound marketing strategy. Create good content and use social media to help you promote it.

Marketers Shifting Budget from Outbound to Inbound

  • 84% of Marketers to Shift Portion of Direct Marketing Budgets to Social Media
  • 66% of marketers plan to invest in social media over the next 12 months, but only 36% plan to monitor and analyze the success-or failure-of their efforts
  • 84% of Marketers are shifitng a portion of thier direct marketing (outbound) budgets to social media (inbound)
  • Marketing Takeaway: Make sure you are re-allocating your budget and efforts regularly, based on results.

Forum Fodder

  • From Cynthie at www.Inbound.orgHow can I get my baby boomer clients to interact with us more through Twitter or Facebook?
    We do a lot of work with what we call “Active Adults”, “Active Seniors”, or “Super Seniors”. Ages ranging from 55-95. Most are okay with email now, which has improved in the last 5 years. Some are starting to look at FB.
  • Community answers: Add links to your different social media profiles to make it easy for them to find you
  • Why do you want to make them do this?
  • Maybe try educating them in a seminar, video or article?

Marketing Tip of the Week: Don’t put your eggs all in one basket. Make sure you have a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy.

Closing

Video: How to Use Social Media to Manage Your Company Brand Online

social-media-brand-presense Learn how to use social media to manage your company brand.

Download the free video and learn how to manage your company brand effectively using social media.







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PostHeaderIcon 5 Ingredients for a Perfect Twitter Marketing Recipe

After reading Lee’s post earlier this week on how to source content on Twitter, I started to think about the homemade guacamole I made for the football playoff games last weekend. Stick with me here.

With my guacamole, I carefully strategize on the right mix of each ingredient to achieve the perfect flavor and consistency.

Not enough lemon and lime juice, and the avocados brown too quickly.

Too much garlic salt, and the guacamole gets a pungent taste.

Twitter as a marketing tool is much the same way.

Too much product pushing and self-inflation, and your followers head for the hills in droves.

Too little interaction and communication, and your followers forget you exist altogether.

A successful Twitter marketing strategy must include a balance of different but complementary elements. Ensure the right mix with these 5 ingredients for the perfect Twitter Marketing recipe:

1. Relevant, informative content
You don’t always have to go out in search of new, interesting content to promote on Twitter. Your company likely already has produced a host of existing content that can be leveraged.

Twitter is the ideal medium for sharing and promoting:

  • Tips leveraged from a blog post
  • Information on upcoming events
  • Research from a recent whitepaper
  • Webinars with industry thought leaders
  • Interesting statistics from press releases

For example, TopRank implemented a Twitter marketing strategy to help promote blog content for a client that provides syndicated content to media outlets. Each day, TopRank crafts 3-4 tweets highlighting the most interesting and intriguing elements of new blog posts, with links to the posts. In just three months, the client has increased its followers by nearly 64% to more than 1,500. The tweets were responsible for more than 1,000 visits to the blog during the same timeframe.

2. Relevant, informative content … that’s not yours
In addition to sharing your own content from blogs, whitepapers, press releases and the like, leverage content from outside sources as well.

The good news: Staying up-to-date on the latest news from across an entire industry doesn’t necessarily have to consume a lot of extra time:

  • Subscribe to industry publications’ e-newsletters to receive the latest content in your inbox
  • Sign up for the RSS feeds of several prominent industry blogs to get notified of fresh content
  • Set up daily Google Alerts for a few relevant terms to receive the latest news articles and blog posts

It’s as simple as highlighting the most interesting part of the article or blog post – i.e., a surprising statistic, a quick tip – and offering a link to the original source.

3. Product offers and promotions
Twitter can be an effective marketing channel for sending promotional messages – when combined with other types of content.

Offer timely sales information and coupons, since the nature of Twitter allows followers to respond to promotions quickly. Provide exclusive offers to build a sense of ownership among followers, and give Twitter users an incentive to follow your brand.

Dell, for example, uses Twitter to post product coupons and new product information on a daily basis. Complementing these promotional tweets, Dell also uses Twitter to provide immediate service and elicit customer feedback. So far, the company attributes $3 million in revenue to Twitter efforts.

4. Customer service
Using Twitter to provide customer service and support empowers brands to address issues quickly, supplement formal call centers, and improve brand image. Offering customer support via Twitter involves two elements:

  • Monitoring and responding: Use a service like TweetBeep to be notified by email of any brand mention – positive or negative. Then respond accordingly, but quickly and transparently.
  • Eliciting feedback: Ask questions like: What features were missing from our latest software release? What subject would you like to learn more about in our next webinar? Don’t forget to acknowledge responses.

5. Retweets
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of the retweet, posting the same tweet of others that you think will be useful to your own following. Retweeting can help you:

  • Increase your following
  • Get your own content retweeted

Then again, don’t overestimate retweets either. If all the content you are providing can be found elsewhere, what’s the use of following?

Take some time this month to reassess how you and your company use Twitter. Is there too much of one ingredient and not enough of another? Where does Twitter use fit within your overall social media marketing strategy? Tweak the way you use Twitter until you’ve got the perfect recipe for brand engagement, interaction and awareness.

What ingredients do you include in your Twitter marketing strategy?

Be sure to connect with TopRank on Twitter!

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© Online Marketing Blog, 2010. |
5 Ingredients for a Perfect Twitter Marketing Recipe |
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