A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

The Jungle Map, your guide through internet marketing

Ways to Make Money Blogging

October 14th, 2010

Now here is another topic that is close to my heart. Once again, I’m in the session by Darren Rowse of Problogger fame. This time he is talking about Monetization of a blog. He has a extensive mind map on the screen. Below are the options as he sees them.

(Virtual e-books and online courses seem to be the best right now.)

ADVERTISING
Ad Networks
Cost Per Impression
CPA – Lead Generation
CPC – Cost Per Click
Sponsorships – Fixed length
Text Links
Pay Per Post
Job Boards / Classifieds
Newsletter Advertising
RSS Advertising

AFFILIATE MARKETING
Networks
Individual Programs

SELLING / FLIPPING BLOGS

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS
Communities
Premium Content
Coaching

PRODUCTS (VIRTUAL)
Courses
eBooks
Software / Plugins / Apps
Audio
Video
Webinars
Reports

PRODUCTS (PHYSICAL)
Books
Merchandise
DVDs

OTHER INDIRECT METHODS
Growing Online Business
Syndication
Finding a Job

SERVICES
Freelancing
Coaching
Training
Consulting
Speaking
Events
Design
Donations

COMMENTS:

Each blogger will have a different spread of what works for them. Affiliate marketing works very well with Darren because of his high trust value with his readers. Genuine recommendations and personal endorsements within posts work very well for him.

He also creates “best seller” lists of what his readers are buying. He looks through Amazon reports to see what their readers are buying via affiliate links.

To promote an e-book, below is a sequence he used…

PROMOTION SEQUENCE
(Much of this was done in one day.)
Reader survey
Guest Posts
Launch Post – Overview of product, fast action special
Newsletter
Social Media Promotions
Interview with Product Creator
Newsletter Mention
End of Promotion Post

How do you get good advertisers? Build a good blog. Let them find you. Be contactable. Build an advertiser page and/or pdf media kit. Explain what type of readers you have. List other opportunities such as Twitter account & Facebook accounts. Offer a package deal. Know your metrics. Know how well your ads convert.

Start with small advertisers. When Darren was starting out, he contacted local camera stores and they paid $30 per month. Over time, larger advertisers and more money can be obtained.

Find other bloggers in your niche and offer advertising across all these sites. (More exposure and opportunity for the advertiser.)

Buildling Community on your Blog

October 14th, 2010

Interestingly, Darren used to work as a minister in Australia. He mentions that building a good online community is not that different than offline. It’s about caring, listening, and relationship skills. This session on how to make a good community is basically about being a good human being.

Adding community and user engagement makes your site more useful and provides social proof. It also creates increased page views, which can assist with advertising income. When you have a community, your readers become advocates. Your users generate content, which adds value.

When you begin, you have a very small community. You should email them directly and try to stay engaged with them individually. The next stage is that your readers become advocates that start bringing in other readers. At this point, the community become self-sustaining. You can actually take a step back.

Early on, it’s important to BE the community. People will follow your lead. If you are positive, people will be positive. If you are snarky, they will follow your lead. Ask questions, invite interaction. Early on, ask questions to people in person. Ask them to comment on your posts.

To help build community, Darren often asks readers if they have a blog. He will create a post that asks them to leave a link to their blog in the comments. He asks readers to give advice or tips on subjects. This gets readers involved. Recently, on his photo blog, he had someone ask if they should take pictures of a person that is about to die or at a funeral if asked. He turned it around and asked his community. Many people had similar experiences and offered their advice.

Start offsite community areas. Darren started a Flickr community, which led to a forum. He got regular commenters to start the forum before launching it to everyone else. He also uses Twitter and Facebook and sends traffic to those areas and back again. He keeps people moving between them. This builds social proof.

Write in a personal and engaging tone, yet relative to your audience. He has had guest bloggers talk about personal things as it relates to his audience. He has also created videos that show him with his newborn child, for example. He often talks to his blog readers as “you”. Yet, in his newsletters, he uses the word “us” and “we”.

He encourages creating a page that explains how to “join” the community. He uses RSS, RSS to email, email newsletter, Facebook, & Twitter. List all these methods on one page so they can choose the one they like best.

Darren has asked his readers to create educational YouTube videos. Those that did had their videos posted on the blog. He occasionally gives them homework like this. He also involves readers before making changes to the site. He also asks advanced readers that are not happy with beginner posts to help others by guest posting.

Darren uses Ustream to answer questions live on a weekly basis. This limits questions from being asked so frequently via email.

Don’t respond to trolls and haters. (This seems to be a common theme today.) To the contrary, be sure to reward good behavior. If someone leaves a really good comment, email them directly. You can also turn a good comment into it’s own post.

Finding Readers for your Blog – Darren Rowse

October 14th, 2010

After the keynote address, I went into a couple different sessions and walked out. It seems as if today is mostly about social media as opposed to creating content. Both sessions were pretty weak.

HOWEVER, I eventually ended up in the Problogger series that Darren Rowse is taking the lead in. His content has been fantastic.

He stated early on that a successful blog basically tends to find the sweet spot between four areas – Content, Finding Readers, Building Community, and Monetization.

Here are some quick notes from the session on FINDING READERS…

Take the time to identify who your target audience is. Create a reader profile with picture and include demographics, needs/challenges, how they use the web, motivations for reading, experience level, dreams, and financial situation. Improve these profiles (personnas) by surveying your new subscribers. Set an auto-responder that will ask subscribers three months after subscribing “what have you not found that you wanted”?

Give your readers a reason to subscribe. Anticipation works very well. One of the best things he has done is letting people know that a series of posts is coming. They should subscribe to not miss any.

Darren encourages creating a page that links to the deeper content on your site. He calls this a “sneeze” page. He then puts this page as an option in the primary navigation.

Regarding increasing readership, Darren also discussed some of the primary drivers, including controversy, social proof, and event-based content.

Lastly, he encourages linking to specific posts in your email signature and even your link in your twitter profile. Speak specifically to those that came from there.

Scott Stratten says: Blog with passion!

October 14th, 2010

It is time for the opening keynote address at Blog World Expo 2010. I’ve already gotten to meet some very interesting people before it started.

Scott’s keynote is named “Stand up, Stand out, Stand together”. It is about the importance of blogging with passion and emotion.

Who is Scott Stratten? He is the author of the book “Unmarketing – Stop Marketing, Start Engaging”. He goes by the same name on Twitter. He is giving a opening keynote address with a T-shirt and sandals on. (That is the nature of Blog World Expo. It is fun.)

“Marketing is not a task.” It is not a department. It is every time anyone has a touch with you or your company. The individuals that are at your “front counter” are your marketing.

How do we get people to spread our blog posts? Make something awesome. People spread awesome. Don’t mistake frequency of blogging with quality. Blog when you have something to say. If you aren’t passionate about what you blog, don’t blog. When you don’t blog awesome, you stop people reading your blog. “People don’t spread meh”. If your post is just “meh”, it does not get spread.

The reason people spread things has not changed. People spread emotion. HOW they spread things changes. Some use Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. These things can get you traffic. Social bookmarking still works, for example.

People ask me what is the next big thing? I say that the things we do now suck. Let’s get better at what’s now. We have had great tools for years. Stop being so fancy pants and get better at what is available today. Social media is about talking. People talk about what’s awesome. It’s that easy.

“It is not my job to tell people how to consume my product, I just want them to consume it.” Stop pushing your RSS feed icon. People use email. Also, if you do not have your blog mobile-enabled, you are losing readers. (Over 150 of the 500 million facebook users use it via mobile regularly.) Pull your blog up on your phone, then pull it up on other phones you don’t own. Make sure that works.

He is now lecturing us on not to write just for SEO, not to use AdWords (it causes people to leave), don’t use difficult captha codes, and not to include popups when your visitors go to leave your site. (He is making people laugh and I guess most people here do need to hear this stuff.) No offense, but it’s a bit elementary to me.

“Social Media Success Doesn’t Exist.” Social media is just a vehicle. If your product sucks, social media makes it suck worse. If your stuff is great, it makes it better. It simply makes what you do louder. If you hate people, social media is a bad place to be. If you hate your target market, don’t talk to them. Social media is just conversations.

People do business with those they Know, Like, & Trust. (One of my favorite quotes.) So true.

Scott did about 7,000 tweets in one month a couple years ago. (That’s over 200 per day.) About 75% were replies. He ended up with thousands of followers. (No real surprise there, either. However, I personally think that worked better a year or two ago. Quantity does not work as well as quality, now.

He is now explaining how to handle trolls. For those that say mean things to you online, don’t reply to them. They have few followers and if you engage them, you are giving them attention they don’t deserve. Let them hate.

Blog with passion. Ignore the haters.

MY COMMENTS: Overall, it was a nice keynote. The content was a little elementary to me. But then again, there are probably a lot of newbies here. Scott seems to be a little cocky and extreme. Then again, that is what works well online.

What I love about Blog World Expo

October 13th, 2010

At the end of September, I had a great opportunity to speak at Charlotte events, namely ProNet (which helps professionals in career transition) and SCORE (which provides counseling for small businesses). For the SCORE event, I was one of two speakers and Charlotte’s Mayor Anthony Foxx opened the event with a keynote speech. (That was cool.)

Then, my wife and I spent the past 10 days visiting family and friends in New York and Massachusetts. I got back to NC on Sunday.

But now (Wednesday) I am off to Vegas for BLOG WORLD EXPO!!!

This has got to be my favorite event of the year! It is my third time going. (I missed last year, so I’m especially excited about attending tomorrow.)

Interestingly, my non-geek friends have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to attend a conference for bloggers. But for those of us that are in the industry of creating content online, this conference is amazing. Some of the best tips for blogging, podcasting, and creating video online can be found here.

Why do I personally love attending BLOG WORLD EXPO?

Unlike most heavy conference attendees, I don’t go just for the networking (aka drinking). I actually go to listen to the keynotes and sessions. I go to learn. I do enjoy meeting other bloggers and inevitably have very interesting conversations at lunch, etc. But my main goal is to learn something. I want to learn from the sessions and speakers.

When I get on the plane pretty soon, I’ll be trying to make a list of specific things I want to accomplish. But for now, I’m just excited to be attending again. One of my best clients will be there too, so that should make it especially interesting.

Are you attending?

If so, please say hello to me. I’ll be the one typically in one of the front rows with an iPad and wireless keyboard. (Probably not the only one, though.)

Reminder: The Yahoo & Bing search merge is happening

August 26th, 2010

As of this week, Yahoo is now starting to show Bing results.

The merger was in the news many months ago, but it didn’t actually happen until just this week.  Yahoo natural search is now “powered by Bing” which is exactly what it says at the bottom of it’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

The paid listings have not completely changed over, but they will soon.

Want to Learn more?  Check these out…

  1. Details from Search Engine Land
  2. Blog announcement from Bing
  3. Official Yahoo Transition Center

What should you do?

If you have a Yahoo Search Marketing account and do PPC marketing on Yahoo search, keep in mind that it will die soon.  If you use Microsoft AdCenter to do PPC marketing on Bing, keep in mind that those ads will soon be able to show on Yahoo search too.

(Chances are that you may not use either.  After all, the share of search for both Bing and Yahoo is still less than half of what Google offers.  Google is the major player in search, by far.  Individually, each of these did not have much to offer.)

However, with the merger happening it may be a good time to try something more than AdWords.  In fact, if you start a new Microsoft AdCenter account and already own an effective Google AdWords account, you might want to try importing it.

I imported an AdWords account into Microsoft AdCenter the other day and it worked fairly well.

Why do Google, Apple & Microsoft Race to be the SAME?

August 26th, 2010

Remember the good ole days?

  • Microsoft made software
  • Google was a search engine
  • Apple made computers

At one time, these 3 were barely competitors (especially Google).  But those days are over now.  All three seem to be wanting to do everything possible, especially if the other two are involved in it already.

Why do they race to be the same?

I’m sure you have your opinion.  So please leave a comment below. 

But first, check out the chart below for proof. 
(It’s just a matter of time before those blank boxes get filled in.)

MicrosoftGoogleApple

  • Could it be that the CEO’s just can’t resist the fight?  (That’s my first guess.) 
  • Is there money in each of these that the companies can’t resist? 
  • Is there some other reason?

I welcome your opinions.  Please leave a comment below.

Why I’m Stopping my Classes

August 26th, 2010

At the beginning of the month I announced to my subscribers that I am no longer going to teach classes after next month.  But I forgot to post it here. 

(Why?  Because I combined the announcement with a special discount that was primarily for my subscribers.)

So here are the details as I announced them earlier this month.  (For those of you that subscribe to my newsletter, none of this is new.)

The History of our classes…

In June 2007, my wife and I moved to Charlotte.  One of the main reasons I did so was to start teaching classes about Internet marketing.  We felt Charlotte was a bigger and better market to do so than Asheville, NC.

It proved true.  Starting in early 2008, I have taught about 30 classes.  It’s been a real pleasure for me to meet so many incredibly interesting people and to hear about their jobs and businesses.  I continue to keep in touch with many of them.

But now it’s time for a change.

I’m stopping my classes…

I’ll probably never stop teaching.  I enjoy it too much.  But I am stopping my classes.
(What will replace them?  You’ll have to watch for future newsletters to learn that.)

As of today, I’ve decided that I’m only teaching two more classes.

Thanks for your support…

The last three years or so have been a real thrill for me.  I love the atmosphere of a classroom filled with students that are eager to learn a subject (Internet marketing) that I love so much.

But the work I have to do on my own business is taking priority this year.  Next year, I’ll be announcing some newer, bigger, better initiatives. 

So stay tuned! 

Want to keep up on our new initiatives?

Be sure to signup for our newsletter.  We’ll be announcing them there.

Buy 1 Get 1 Free – Conference & Training!

August 3rd, 2010

NOTE:  This offer is now over.  For future offers, please signup for our newsletter.

Yesterday, Jason Keath and I announced that we are doing a special offer to anyone that wants to learn more about Social Media and Search Engine Optimization in Charlotte.

SocialFresh(You can read the press release here.)

If you’re like me, you love learning about this stuff and going to conferences.  But unfortunately, they tend to be expensive –  and far away.  So this is your chance!

Both opportunities are in Charlotte.  You don’t need to travel.  You don’t need a hotel.  And we’ve made the price unbeatable.

HippoJason is offering a one-day ticket to Social Fresh and I’m offering a two-day in person training program.  Each of these normally costs about $400.  But for a very limited time, we are offering both for $397.  I hope you jump on this.

Here’s the details…

Social Fresh Conference –  August 16 in Charlotte, NC.  Details here.
SEO Training by HIPPO –  September 23, 24 in Huntersville, NC.  Details here.

The rules…

Jason and I both wanted to do something a little extra special for Charlotte this year.  But it’s not fair to open it up to everyone.  So we decided to keep it very limited.

Therefore, the offer is available for only 48 hours or until supplies last.

You will be able to signup starting at noon on Wednesday, August 4, 2010.  I only have ten spots available for this class and two are already taken.  Once their gone, their gone!

How to get both…

Simply register at the address listed below.
http://www.hippoimt.com/Register?eventId=95103&EventViewMode=EventDetails

CoreyOnce you do, I will pass your contact info on to Social Fresh and you will get confirmation that you are registered to attend both events.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Corey Creed
HIPPO Internet Marketing Training

PS:  Registration will open on noon Wednesday, August 4, 2010.  If you’d like a reminder, please signup for our newsletter here.

Once again, here’s the signup page…
http://www.hippoimt.com/Register?eventId=95103&EventViewMode=EventDetails

Harris Teeter & iJustine in Charlotte, NC – The Story

June 23rd, 2010

Harris Teeter

HarrisTeeterAs some of you may know by now, Harris Teeter (headquartered in Charlotte) has hired me on contract to assist them in getting going with social media.  At this point, we’re just meeting together periodically to do the typical stuff, like building a social media policy and plan

To their credit, the main marketing guys at Harris Teeter are wanting to get more involved in social media and new media in general.  But like many companies, they are a bit hesitant and want to make sure they “do it right”.  That’s normal.  They have plans to get involved in Twitter, Facebook, etc soon.  (Stay tuned for more on that.)

iJustine

IJustine-TwitterFor those of you that are not familiar with iJustine, you can check out her site here or learn more about her on Wikipedia under Justine Ezarik.  But to say that she is a web celebrity is an understatement.  Her primary YouTube channel has over 600K subscribers and over 111 MILLION total views.

The iJustine & Harris Teeter History

As Justine stated in her most recent video

“ …every year, my family and I, we go on vacation to North Carolina and there’s this grocery store called Harris Teeter.  And since last year, I started doing music videos in the store.”

Apparently, this year’s video is not her favorite as per her recent tweet.  Yet, within 24 hours, it has gotten almost 90K views.  (Then again, some of her others have gotten over 500K within a few days.)  Also, last year’s video about Harris Teeter got around 275K.

iJustine’s Thoughts on Harris Teeter

IJustineObviously, iJustine likes Harris Teeter.  (At least she likes making fun videos there.)  Last year’s video ended with a screen that stated in part…

I don’t know why I love this store but I do..

No this isn’t an ad
No they did NOT pay me to make this!!!

This video is in no way
affiliated with Harris Teeter at all.

Harris Teeter’s Thoughts on iJustine

NOTE:  I am in no way a spokesman for Harris Teeter.  Nor, am I authorized to speak in behalf of the company. 

Yet, I can confirm her comments above that she is not associated with them in any way.

Also, I know that the top marketing people in Harris Teeter have enjoyed watching the videos.  In fact, they find them rather amusing.  Obviously, they are happy to get the extra attention to their company and the Harris Teeter brand. 

I also know that they have tried to reach out to her in the past.  They would still greatly appreciate an opportunity to talk with her to thank her.

What’s next?

Personally, I think it would be great for Harris Teeter to offer to sponsor her to come visit Harris Teeter HQ and/or a local Charlotte event of some sort.

(Hint: They seem willing.)

Are you reading this?

CharlotteSo here’s my message to iJustine:

If you are reading this, please let me know.  Catch me on Twitter (DM) or any other way.  I’d be honored to connect you with the good people at Harris Teeter HQ so they can express their thanks. 

Charlotte is a great city.  We’d love to have you visit us.

And here’s my message to Charlotte:

If you’d like to have iJustine come visit, please mention it to her on Twitter (@iJustine).  Maybe we’ll catch her attention.

And for all you social media gurus:

I’d love to get some ideas from you.  How would you recommend Harris Teeter reach out to iJustine and show their appreciation for the extra attention she is bringing to their 192 stores in the southeast? 

Drop your ideas in the comments below.  If we use your ideas, I’ll be sure to get you the credit you deserve.