I’ve been hunting for ages for a decent developer that can make me a good customized WordPress theme. I even put an ad on Craigslist. I think I finally found what I am looking for.
I’m going to give the guys at Unique Blog Designs a call when I get home. In fact, they have several people here at the conference so I may try to spend some time with them tomorrow while I can.
POSTSCRIPT: I had a nice long talk with Matt (one of their designers) and he gave some great advice on what to do with my sites and blogs. I’m definitely calling them when I get back regarding this blog.
Another interesting vendor at Blog World Expo today is TalkShoe.
If you want to have an automatic method for creating a podcast with participants, this seems to be a very easy way to do so. You host the event and people can call in. You decide who is allowed to talk. When done, you can post it to your site. Very cool.
Of course, for a high-quality podcast, everyone admits that you should use a professional mic. That’s the key. So that may be tricky. TalkShoe is all done over the phone, so the quality may not be ideal. They do have a way of handling that, but it would be a little complicated.
In fact, I’m finding out while at this conference that creating a decent quality sounding podcast is not easy. I may just start with TalkShoe.com and start a more “official” podcast later. The nice thing about TalkShoe is that I can involve others. In fact, as many as I want. Perhaps I can start an online conversation among local Charlotte Web developers.
I’m taking some time to go through the various information I picked up from vendors today at the Blog World Expo. If you are interested in blogging from your mobile phone, Utterz looks pretty cool.
They allow you to txt information from your phone directly to your blog. There are obvious other ways of doing this, but Utterz allows you to also send pictures, video, and even audio. They will mix it all together and send it to your blog within ten minutes.
Next session is about managing your online reputation.
I first heard of Steven Van Yoder when I read his free ebook in 2003 called “Get Slightly Famous”. It is a fantastic explanation of how to gain reputation in a specific niche. He has since published it.
He explains that he used to be a working freelance journalist. He noticed that most journalists are generalists. So like other journalists, when needing to write on a specific topic, he would look for people that were famous in the industry. He would listen to “experts” and write about them. He knew he was helping their business. They work speaking at conferences, writing books, and getting themselves out there. That is how they got “slightly famous”.
There is a formula here. He has since been writing about it.
Target the best prospects
Develop a unique market niche
Position Your business as the best solution
Maintain your visibility
Enhance your credibility
Establish your brand and reputation
He is now encouraging trying to reach both traditional media and online media
1. Determine who your target media is
2. Build a media list
3. Study the publications you want to get into
4. Pitch editors
Try to get articles into print. When you have an article that has been printed, it’s instant credibility when you show it to someone. Get into print magazines.
Regarding public speaking, look into personal opportunities at conferences. But also look into tele-seminars.
Syndicate articles online. Create articles about 750 words long that showcase your expertise. Recommend them to websites that have your target audience looking. (duh!)
uh… So far, this guy is not giving a lot of methods, just concepts. It’s kind of like telling someone they need to eat. It’s a no-brainer. I’d rather know where the good restaurants are.
He ends with: “Publish a book. Aim and shoot high. You can do it.” (Nice encouragement. Whatever.)
Now he’s taking Q&A. Let’s see…
Some guy asked a dumb question, I don’t even remember it. But in his answer, Steven recommended that he spends time talking to his target audience and perhaps competitors. Conversations can lead to ideas. It will also help you determine what makes you different from your competitors so that you can brand yourself correctly.
I really enjoyed Steven Van Yoder’s book several years ago, but I think it was because it was the first I had ever heard of making an individual “famous” in his small niche. But more recently, I actually enjoyed this book more.
Someone else in the audience just made a great point!
I hear this a lot. Marketing people will say that podcasts and blogs are not that important if your audience is not the type to read or listen to them. However, someone just mentioned that even if your audience does not read blogs and listen to podcasts, many editors do. Great point! If you want to get more famous, it’s a great idea to have an ongoing podcast/blog that editors may find.
Now for the best illustration I’ve ever heard regarding blogs…
It’s like the difference between farming and hunting. Don’t go out and hunt down editors. Rather, grow your crops and the people and editors will find you and request your expertise, making you an expert.
Awesome! Great point!
(That alone was worth sitting through Steven Van Yoder’s vague presentation. He seems a little cocky, too. Then again, I’m quite sure he knows what he’s talking about and has great clients.)
Interesting. I just sat down to eat my salad and when I looked across the table, I realized I was eating lunch with Jeremy Shoemaker. This is funny because I’ve been reading his blog and listening to his podcast for almost a year now.
It was interesting. He was telling the two people that were sitting with us how to get good advertising on other websites and blogs.
More interesting was that he is almost done with a book that will be available soon. It will show the process of how he has been successful on the web. I look forward to that.
This is the first actual session that I attended. It was right after the opening keynote interview.
I’ve been very tempted to start adding little video clips to my blog from time to time and don’t want them to look too cheesy. I’d also like to someday start my own podcast, but it probably won’t happen until 2008. So I could use this information.
The panelists recommending referring to http://www.podcastgearguy.com/index.php/podcast-kits to see the basics of what a person could use.
Picking a mic is the most important factor when creating your studio, not the camera. Camera technology changes constantly. A good mic is a good mic. It will last a long time and not go out of date.
If you are only using the mic on your computer, start out for podcasting with a USB mic. There are a wide variety of USB mics. Try the Road Podcaster (from Australia). It sounds as good as more expensive microphones. It will cost about $200 for a decent one.
If you are hoping to use your mic away from your computer, try using a SM58 (http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=SM58LC). To use this on your computer, use a Centrance MICPORTPRO (http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=MICPORTPRO).
For a more expensive mic, a lot of high end radio guys use the Shure SM7B (see http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=SM7B). These are directional mics. (Too expensive for me.)
For video, the panel recommends the Panassonic HDC-SD1 ACHD 3CCD Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder with stabilized zoom. ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LO92EK/ref=nosim/?tag=dealtime-ce-feed-20&creative=380333&creativeASIN=B000LO92EK&linkCode=asn) It costs about $1,000
It records to a SDHC card. 4 gig gets you about 45 minutes. It will record at 1080i and bring it into iMovie into 960 x 540 progressive. When using these cameras, be sure to use a professional mic (like the SM58 listed above). When doing so outside the office, use XLF-BP Basic which is a $150 mixer (which is portable).
IMovie08 is great for putting together a quick videocast. (Free with MAC.)
For lighting, try lights from wwww.lowelego.com. These are inexpensive and can be very effective for a simple setup.
OK, so the bottom line on this session was that these guys really know their stuff. They are very intelligent in their fields. Unfortunately, most everyone in the room was very amateur and we were hoping for some inexpensive and low-tech discussion. The guys went WAY, WAY, too deep. Most everyone in the room (except for the few guys in the room that know this stuff) was totally confused and lost.
I think I’ll just review that link that was listed at the beginning of this post. Unfortunately, this was a session I was really looking forward to and it fell very short of what most of us in the room were wanting.
The first session at the Blog World Expo was an interview with Matt Mullenweg (founding developer of WordPress). Ed Sussman of Fast Company magazine interviewed him.
To start with, you have to imagine this place. There are probably almost 500 people in this opening keynote. There are long rows of tables with chairs at them where we are all sitting. Probably about 80% of us are blogging while we listen (live-blogging).
They started by asking for a show of hands…
About 90% of attendees are bloggers.
About 75% use WordPress.
About 30% blog for their organization.
About 75% have a personal blog.
Matt has about 350 servers which run the hosted version of WordPress.
He also has an anti-spam program that works with WordPress called akismet.
These two things bring in the money to run the company.
The WordPress platform (non-hosted) is open source.
WordPress got 100 million unique visitors in the last 30 days.
18 people support it. One admin runs the servers.
There are 1.7 million users and one person handles the customer service.
What makes a compelling blog?
Matt: We host a lot of blogs. There are few rules on what works. The one rule is that you are unique and love what you are doing. Find something that “you can’t not blog about”. When you find that topic, it flows naturally.
The reason I blogs is that I get comments back on whatever he talks about. People seldom do that in person. It’s great feedback.
What are the tricks to get noticed?
I believe that passionate content naturally rises to the top. We are deluged with mediocrity. I often read the blogs of those that comment on mine. I see the comment on my blog and go to theirs to check them out. When people talk about me and my site on their own site, I tend to find it. Even if it is on their blog, I still tend to notice it.
Social media and social networking (Facebook, etc) is popular. How does that fit in with Blogging?
I have profiles on several networks. Most of mine are crappy. My best profile is my blog. I think that’s true for a lot of people. If I want to learn about someone I may read six months of articles. Blogs need to be a larger part of Social Networks. Each person’s blog tends to be his central and most complete information.
What is the future of WordPress?
There are millions using WordPress, with thousands of developers. WordPress (the hosted version) is being used for lots of things. The software is getting smaller and smaller. We are continuing to add add-ons which make it more powerful. What blogging looks like in five years will be very different, but the fundamentals will be the same. We are working to add some features that will continue to make it simple.
Have you seen video getting more popular in blogs?
There are some problems inherent with it. You cannot scan video or audio clips. The written word is easier to scan and search.
What is the future of your company?
A lot of websites and online companies are like bad dates. You spend time with them but they just keep talking. They tend to not listen. We want to listen. We also want to keep our company small. We believe in open source and always will.
Are you actively planning strategies to monetize?
We decided to be a profit company, not a non-profit. The most successful companies online continue to payout and enable others to profit. I think there are ways we can enable profit yet keep it tasteful. If I was in a desert or forest, I would not want big huge billboards, but I would not mind someone offering me a drink of water.
Questions from the audience…
What is your mission?
I think open source is the future. I want content on the web be open source. I want to create tools that the world can use and publish for free. My goal is to get more people publishing on platforms like this.
I landed in Vegas last night and today is my first day attending the Blog World Convention and Expo. This should be pretty amazing.
Speakers I look forward to
Here are some of the people I should be able to listen to and learn from:
Matt Mullenweg – founding developer of WordPress Andy Wibbels – Author of BlogWild (book) Jeremy Shoemaker (ShoeMoney) – popular affiliate marketer, blogger, and podcaster Sherman Hu – Creator of WordPress Tutorials and overall WordPress expert Steven Van Yoder – Author of Get Slightly Famous (book, website, etc) Richard Jalichandra – CEO of Technorati Leo Laporte Avinash Kaushik – Analytics expert Neil Patel
and of course…
Mark Cuban – Dallas Mavericks Owner, Founder of HDNet, and former contestant on Dancing with the Stars
That’s the short list of people I already know from reading and being in the industry. There are a bunch of other names that I am not as familiar with, yet excited to hear about their topics.
On the plane last night I made a list for myself of what my goals are in coming here. Here’s what I came up with…
1. Gain industry knowledge and information about the industry of blogs, podcasting, and video. This should assist me in my work for clients, for our own projects, and for the Marketing Agency I am associated with.
2. Increased motivation for improved blogging. It’s been my goal for 2007 (and will be for 2008) to blog more and better. Staying motivated is difficult – for me at least.
3. Gain and knowledge and tools in order to effectively start podcasting. I also want to start using video on my blog. These are both areas I’d like to start getting involved with but do not want to take the time to learn which tools are best. I’m hoping this conference will jump start me.
4. Find a good vendor that can create a great WordPress blog theme for me.
5. Get links. As a side benefit, I’d like to meet some bloggers that will link to my sites.
So that’s why I’m here.
Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to keep an eye out for you. I’ll be trying to live-blog as much as possible for most of the sessions.
(Right now I’m in the lobby of my hotel because the breakfast buffet hasn’t opened yet. (I woke up at 4:15 AM (7:15 back home) and am trying to stay busy.