Afternoon Discussion Group: Your Blog as a Business
10 Guiding Principles for Successful Blogging
1. Begin with the End
2. Why do you blog?
3. The Dreaded elevator pitch
4. Paths to monetization
5. See and be seen
6. Credentials AEA What have you done for me today?
7. SEO vs Content
8. Business basics when getting pro
9. Functioning within a community
10. Ethics, disclosure and other best practices
Begin with the End
When you start you want to identify what your objectives are. Identify tactics and how you are going to do. A plan is simple my goal is such as this, my action steps are these and my business strategies would be word of mouth, x y z. What is going to help us get into my goal.
Liz: @momoneohone There is more power to say no than to say Yes to everything. You want to focus on where you are going and how does it supports with your goals
When they started blogging they were offered to go to Disney and they turned it down because it seem wrong since it doesn't
Why do you blog?
Liz: Take a sticky note and write: I blog because of [blank]. Be clear why you are there. It will help you identify your action steps. All of the things are valid. It all depends on what you achieve.
Susan: For whom is the other side of the question. Who is your audience? Wrote her blog for her mom and that she can understand and relatable to her. Who is the person I am writing for. Think of the picture of who you are writing for?
Liz: Identify who is not your audience.
Question: I am a radio host and having a picture in front of me having the picture who are you writing for and it helps us identify the tone.
Susan: Her personal blog is written for her son.
Liz: Sign a birthday card is the worst thing she is asked to do despite being a professional writer. When she started to write her blog she didn't have a clear idea of the elevator pitch. Time Out NY provided her a good quick one.
She asked the audience:
Please describe Wizard of Oz in one line: A girl who finds herself in Oz and she finds herself growing
Please describe Star Wars: A Western set in space.
Liz: You can condense your blog into one sentence.
Susan: A good pitch incorporates what makes your blog unique. The name of your blog is really important because it allows you to identify which brands and sponsors you would like to work with.
Liz: How do these blogs described themselves
Inhabitat.com- Future and Design for a sustainable future.
Parenthats.com 4 heads smart tips to simplify your life
Liz: Positioning is the art of sacrifice. You can't be all for all people.
Exercise About your Blog:
Your Niche and Category
My blog is (what it is), which offers (unique perspective) for (specific audience).
Super Mom that offers funny parenting articles and program reviews for kids from 6- to 18-year-olds.
The more specific you can be is the most the more you have a closer niche.
There is a large engagement due to personal life. Her product reviews is based on a her life experience.
Winny Inky Fingers is a Craft blog that showcases her handmade greeting cards for her family and friends. She would like it to be for other peoples.
Liz: You want to broad the audience.
Marie Rocker Jones: My blog is raising great moms. Its about raising great boys.
I run in heels is a personal blog about finding adventure in your backyard. She writes about Oklahoma and California. They write about their experience in their cities.
Lauren: Adventure in the backyards it can be broad to her.
Liz: Mommy Poppins is about program reviews in NYC for kids. It's the non-pretentious kids guide for NYC. Helps identify what sponsorship opportunities.
Well Connected Mom: Makes technology easier for busy moms.
Lauren: Get an advisor board that would give you ideas about the blog
Who is on Twitter?
99% is on twitter. Social Media is getting more relevant. Think about your bio on twitter since its your first interaction with you.
Another example is Pinterest Bio? What do you think you put yourself forward.
If you are a funny writer, don't say you are funny. Don't use the terms that you won't put in your resume. You get a taste of how you say things, what to expect from their twitter.
Exercise: Think about your bio and what your tweets are all about. It has to fit within your brand. Twitter is not a private conversation between you and your friends. It is showing up to probably 100 people. Tweeting is part of your brand and it can impact your business.
Susan: We are all living our lives in public. You can google me and you can find me from years ago. It never goes away.
You can have personality, do it in a way that fits your brand. Depends what you want your brand to be.
Question: Tweet Chats/ Twitter Parties: Are all of your questions that you write, will get broadcast to your followers. The only thing they won't see something on their feeds if you "@someone" at the beginning in their feed. They won't see it in the twitter unless you have mutual friends. Otherwise it will be seen by all of your followers.
Answer: It's good to be authentic. You have to understand your boundaries.
Liz: It's about knowing who your audience is and who is not your audience.
Susan: You can set your own line of professional boundaries. This is a personal process and everyone's line is different. You have to know where that boundary line is going to be for you to move forward.
Liz: I do not look at services who are quitter, who unfollows you, etc. She just focuses on her stuff. She doesn't focus on the stats.
4. Paths to monetization
Liz: There are a lot of them and you don't have to do them all
Sponsored Content for Blog
Freelance Writing in other blogs or media outlets
Your social graph (Twitter, Pinterest) it's about influence. Your newsletters.
Liz: Collect email addresses as it is a value as an audience.
Susan: Should I do google ad ense, work with an ad network and they take on the job of selling the advertising. The ad network takes on 50%. Do I have the time and inclination to sell the ads. Another option is BlogAds is a simple way but you need to get yourself a referral.
Liz: Think what you want and what your result should be. How your content is going to fit into any of these. Think about where you are designing your blog.
Source of Revenue: Can I buy a link of a post that you written? They want to put a link into it for SEO purpose. it is unethical. You can get penalizing from Google.
AdNetworking: Understanding your criteria are for selection is going to be, what kinds of rules that they have for engagement, and where your ads are going to be in your site.
Think about your audience and content. It's about long term to build a consistent brand.
Question: For the Freelance Opportunities is there a certain pay range?
Liz: How much I would get paid? Are you a publisher or a writer? If you are freelance writer yes you can get paid for. If you are publisher, then it benefits your blog for free as it builds rank.
Susan: You should never do something for free for something that you want to get paid later. Because they won't pay you.
Liz: Celebrate. It all depends on the publication, length. You should always ask for money if they are asking for guest post how much you would pay for.
Question: If someone is asking for a guest blogger on beliefnet, then ask for money because she is getting paid. Just ask! Setting of your rate. You are worth it, Always ask for money.
Question: Ads is about the writing content, but the product line is through the site? She wants to run ads in part of your site or not. Google looks at your content not your ads. Make sure to check on the ad network contract to see what you can and can't have on your site.
Exercise Learn from Each Other: You can be a beta tester, create your own opportunities. Curating of the product to her audience. You can do events in local area.
Susan: It is ok for influencers to monetize for their social networkers and you will lose follow as well as gain follow. Just be aware. But don't apologize on wanting to monetize for your blog.
See and be seen: Be easy to find
Liz: On your blog and off your blog. Have easy to find information. How you can be reach. Allow them to know what it is that you wanted to do Make it visible and make it clear. Being explicit doesn't hurt. You have to get your blog in the right place. You don't have to do it everything. Google Plus profile should be the top search on your name on Google.
Liz: PRBreakfastclub.com August 1, 2012 post: What you can do to be seen through Stunts.
Being the expert. You can get into a tv show, subscribe to HARO and submit a quote.
You can create something viral such as a drunk cooking show.
You can share a story. Writing a letters to 20 year old self.
Think like a marketer. Do something that get's people's attention.
Susan: Be responsive. It's about responding what they communicate back to them. Really be participant. Make sure to reply back.
Liz: Make sure to develop relationships. The badge PR Friendly we would suggest not doing it. It is a code for I would review anything for free product. Just be accessible and friendly. You walk the talk. Just be PR friendly.
Credentials AKA What have you done for me lately?
Liz: Be unapologetic about your accomplishments. There is nothing wrong to say fall out what you have done. Get all of the stuff into your blog to show to your audience that you are legitimate.
Susan: You have to be open and authentic. Don't exaggerate.
Lauren: Picking the right photo for their bio. Its the one that you want the press to use.
Liz: Have a press or media tab into your blog. For mainstream media where you have been quoted. It can also be called Recognition page.
Think about what your credentials are going to be?
Answer: I got picked by Oprah to go to Australia because of her blog
Answer: Because of a post that she made on another BlogHer she is tapped to appear in Ricki Lake.
Answer: Wise Magazine Women Spirit Award
Answer: She is the voice of Duane Reade for Facebook and Twitter.
Question: What if you have done cool stuff but it doesn't related together?
Answer: You can include it in your bio.
Question: What if you have been successful in another area should she mentioned into the other area?
Answer: Yes you can list your impressive stuff in your bio. On the press and credentials you can highlight the things from your post.
Question: What if you have 2 identities online?
Answer: If you are separate identities, you can incorporate. We are in a world that we do multiple things.
SEO vS Content Cagematch
Liz: Google is in the process of making SEO obsolete. They are looking for content that is more relevant. They are using social media and social sharing that becomes relevant. The most important thing is to write well and be authentic. You can build a community and audience.
Susan: SEO is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Search is more relevant to me and my friends.
Your blog roll is a relevant thing. You can help identify as a part of the community of friends. It's about your peeps.
Liz: Community Building = Brand Building
8. Business Basics when going pro
Susan: Yes you should have a media kit that can pull all of the info about myself and what I can delivered for them.
Lauren: Read the contracts before you sign. Feel free to negotiate the contract. Who gets to control the content. Who owns those rights. You want derivative rights.
Question: How can I identify the fees?
Liz: There is not one right number. There are strategies in how you can make, you can ask friends
Blog Ads: you can see the ad networks and what they are paying based on traffic.
Susan: Work for hire. This is a negotiation.
Liz: You have to know about your stats: Google Analytics.
Susan: Know your value proposition and look at your broad influence.
Question: Guest Posting that can help you build your brand and translate into traffic?
Susan: No it will not translate into traffic. Just be realistic.
Lauren: Think about where you can get freelance and guest posting. Be selective,what places you want to pitch. Include it in your business plan who you are going to do guest posts.
Question: What are the industry standards about paying for guest bloggers?
Liz: No industry standards. It's a crazy free market.
Lauren: There are profit sharing practices.
9 Functioning within a community
Liz: It's like an ecosystem of people. It is not all about you! You have to pay it forward. You should participate in the community, you should not be a jerk. Think about how you interact in the community.
Susan: Do things because they matter. What can I do and give back to the community. Look for opportunities where you can help in your community. How you behave in the community is just as important about what you write.
Make yourself available and meet new people and see if there is somebody new to be part of your circle
Liz: People can get really stressed out about these conference Everybody is so nice.
Lauren: Big Deal Campaign saying I am a Big Deal. I write my story and its just enough
10. Ethics, disclosure and other best practices
Susan: We want to stress this area. You are blogging as an example of what blogging is all about. It is a shining example about this wonderful medium and why it matters.
Having a standard of ethics that exceeds in what you see in journalism.
Go forth and prosper!
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