Here are my notes from Blog World Expo 2010. Please note that I mostly blog at events for my own reference later. I figure that if I am going to take notes, I might as well share them with my students and clients.
If you only read one post, please read the one at the bottom. Those are my insights from the event as a whole. (It’s the best post.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my blogging about Blog World Expo over the last few days. Attending a conference like this is a very unique experience.
I always pick up several tidbits of information that I can use to help my clients and students. But at the end of it all, I try to look back and think about the real important things I learned.
I usually just note them somewhere in my journal. But this year I’m sharing them with you. Perhaps you will benefit from them as well…
1. Social Media isn’t all that I’ve had a hunch about this personally for several months now. But this conference confirmed it. Social media is just talking on the Internet. It’s not something you can really control, nor is it all that important. Don’t ignore it, but let it happen naturally. What happens, happens.
Don’t get me wrong. Social media is amazing. It’s here to stay. But it’s just talking online. It’s faster, it’s constant. But it’s still just talking.
2. Content is still king Want to succeed online? Create quality content. Simple as that. Yet, it’s as hard as that. Creativity and serving others is the name of the game. Serving others goes a long way, too.
As I always say… (Create + Serve) x Community = Money
3. Video online is about to EXPLODE Mobile phones and tablets with apps are growing at an alarming rate. Watching online video on your TV is about to break loose too.
Seriously, folks. I sat on a couch and used Google TV for about a half-hour and it was ground-breaking. I’ve seen a glimpse of the future of TV and I loved it. It’s apps, it’s search, it’s on-demand, it’s the Internet and it’s awesome. Obviously, not everyone will replace their TV (or buy a Google TV box) in the next 12 months. But they will eventually.
Along these same lines, I asked a great question to three or four podcasters that have been at it for several years. I asked: What was the thing that grew your audience the most? They all said that it was not something they did, but an advance in technology. The growth of iPhones, a new distribution opportunity, etc.
Get it? You’ve just got to be there when the next big thing comes. Start now. Google TV, Apple TV, and just general increased access of video is coming and it’s coming quickly.
Blog World Expo was like the weather man to me. It’s coming! The dark clouds are overhead. It’s time to plant the seeds and watch the rain pour down to make your audience grow.
4. Online audio and video is not getting “downloaded” People are not “syncing” their iPod or iPhone. (I do. But apparently no one else does.)
They listen (or watch) it live on their computers in the background.
They listen to it in their car while it is streaming to their phone.
They listen on their tablet while doing laundry, cooking, etc.
5. Live broadcasting is not all that This one surprised me. In general, people are not all that interested in watching or listening to things that are live. They want good content. It typically does not matter if it is live.
6. Social Media can be done by a team For larger companies, a great illustration was used with regard to handling social media. One speaker used the example of a sports team. Every team has players, but also a coach and owner. The coach (or coaching staff) prepares, trains, and coordinates the players. But each player is responsible to play his role.
7. Monetizing content is still difficult Several presenters agreed. Unless you have gained huge numbers of followers, advertisers don’t jump on board. The best way to monetize your content is to sell your own content to your audience. E-books, premium content, and private paid communities all work best.
8. Apps are the next big thing I’ve heard this a lot, but never really understood why until now. Here are some of the great reasons I now understand.
They are easily available on phones
They are the primary tool of tablets
They are coming on television
They present content much better than HTML
They monetize easily
They integrate well with location-based activities
They are simple to create, change, and fix
9. Bloggers and Podcaster are friendly & helpful I am always amazed at how humble, kind, and friendly these people are, even when they are rich or famous. (Most aren’t.) They are true entrepreneurs at heart and want to help others in the same situation.
10. Social Media Consultants look clicky I hate to end this top ten list with a negative. But it does seem as if anyone that is a thought leader in the world of social media looks and talks a certain way. They all preach to just “be genuine” and “be passionate”. Most all of them are very interesting and intelligent. But they do seem to look alike, stick together, and use profanity freely.
Many individuals look up to them. But it’s not very appealing to some of the business people that I talked to. Then again, I think that’s all part of it.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Ok, so this post is a lot longer than I thought it would be. In fact, it’s now after midnight in Vegas (which is 3:20 AM EST). But I hope you find this interesting.
Blog World Expo is a very unique experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone that creates any form of content online.
Thank you to all the organizers, presenters, and attendees that made it so interesting for me personally.
Although we only had brief conversations, Mignon is clearly a friendly and humble person. She was a pleasure to speak with and we struck up a few brief conversations about podcasting and content after a couple of sessions.
She also was on a panel called “Expirable vs Evergreen Content”. She and Jeffrey Powers explained the benefits of creating podcast content that can last (evergreen) and not be date sensitive (expirable).
They both made some great points. The one fact I found most interesting is that after four years, Grammar Girl’s archived shows make for over 70% of incoming traffic. Creating and archiving content that is not date-dependant is something definitely worth thinking about.
As I continue to work out the details of my plans for content in 2011, I’m hoping I can talk Mignon into having a brief phone conversation with me to discuss them. She’s clearly an intelligent, yet humble person.
Oh, and just in case Mignon is reading this, I appologize in advance for any spelling or grammar mistakes on this post (and any others)!
I just finished enjoying his book “Get Seen” which was a fantastic run-down of the tips and tricks of online video. (It’s a great book if you’re thinking of getting involved in doing video and posting it online.)
During this year’s Blog World Expo, I happened to bump into him a few times and even got the chance to thank him for the hard work he must have put into writing the book.
He also gave a session entitled Video Blogging 101 that I attended.
Steve seems to have a pleasant personality and it comes through in his videos and his presentations in person. He talked positively about his mom’s blog and her “I can’t open it” video series.
Friday evening at the 2010 Blog World Expo included an interesting interview with the famous Brittish television producer Mark Burnett. Mark is known for creating and/or producing several popular shows such as Survivor, The Apprentice, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.
Mark talked about some interesting stuff. He explained why he feels Survivor has been such a huge hit since it began in 2000. He detailed how the basic concept of death and rebirth is renewed in each and every show. Interestingly, he also talked about the use of the color of fire and how it (along with cobalt blue) is used in the show to represent death and life.
Also, the constant unknown of if your favorite character may be asked to leave is a huge draw for audiences. This style is used in his shows (such as Survivor and Apprentice), but also in shows such as American Idol and Dancing With the Stars. Previously, a main character would be in every show of a season. But with shows such as these, the viewer needs to keep watching to see if they will be in the next one or not.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY:
But the one thing that struck me from the interview was something he did not say (at least not directly).
With such incredible success over the past ten years or so, Mark still seems to have a real humble side to him. Several times in the conversation, he admited that he does not really understand social media and new media.
At one point, he stated that “I am a mental midget of social media”. He also stated “social media makes me feel stupid”. He says that he finds it both exciting and terrifying.
Think about that. Here is a modern genius of story-telling. He has been at the very top level of content creation. Content that gets incredible discussions on a weekly basis on blogs, tweets, forums, facebook posts, etc.
He CREATES the content that others talk about on social media and elsewhere. Yet, he readily admits that he does not really know that type of media.
He drives social media. Yet, he barely uses it.
My big takeaway? Be the story teller. Be creative. Social media will take care of itself. Be aware that it exists and do what’s appropriate. But don’t obsess over it.
This is my last session. My goal is to have an online community running next year, so the tips from this session will likely be very valuable.
Patrick O’Keefe (author of “Managing Online Forums”)
Chris Garrett (of Problogger)
Lara Kulpa (community manger at Problogger)
(Jeremy Wright is moderating.)
Some initial tips included:
Be a member on communities first to see how they work.
Don’t make a big list of things you can’t do. Just say “be nice”.
Do make a basic list of guidelines.
Providing a paid membership makes for higher quality conversation and less spam, even if you just charge $1 per month!
In a community, be sure to lead from the front. Act the way you want others to act and they will follow.
Looking at communities in a math or ratio level is bad. It is more important to look toward if the community is of value. Don’t get caught up in the numbers, fill a need.
Sending a weekly email newsletter to community members that want it can get the members coming back.
The most challenging situation that Patrick deals with is long-time members that go against the guidelines.
Patrick chooses moderators from among the model citizens within the community.
What are some important guidelines?
1. Be nice
2. My house, my rules
Patrick says that he offers a vision statement for the community and also specific guidelines. They are alive and can change. They get adapted as you go. They change for each community. They vary.
What components are in a thriving community?
1. If you are not there, is still thrives.
2. If an online community wants to meet in person.
Lara says: When you see people collaborating and connecting.
Patrick says: When two people meet and get married. (AWww… ) He also says that it is different for each community. Yet, he agrees with the above. He adds that when you can hire people from within the community to run the community, that is a good sign.
How do you get members?
Chris says: Syphon offer people from other communities (ethically). Participating in a community well and putting your link in the signature works. Blogs are an enormous opportunity. If people are already communicating to each other within your blog comments, that is a good time to create a community.
To avoid the situation where the same people are asking questions all the time, ask for questions in advance. That way no one person dominates the discussion. However, the same people asking the same questions is not necessarily a problem, if the questions are good.
The best situation is when a new person asks great questions.
If few people are talking in your private forum, you can have some friends as “beta testers” to start asking questions. It’s the empty restaurant syndrome. Even if you have a great chef, if no one is there, no one else will jump in. However, once you get the first few, others will start lining up.
It’s Saturday morning, October 16, 2010 at Blog World Expo. The morning keynote was fantastic and I’ll try to share some of that info later.
But now I’m now in a presentation named “The Web Browser is Dead, The Apps are Taking Over”. (Catchy title, even if it is a bit extreme.) Interestingly, the room is totally full, likely because the keynote speakers yesterday were speaking very highly about the future of apps.
Why are people using Apps?
Customized to a need
Customized to an audience
Better at delivering content
Why build an App?
Keep your audience
Attract new readers
Go beyond web page interaction
It’s the future!
Things apps can do that web pages can’t
Protect your content
Better Mobile Ad Revenue
Paying is Normal
NOTE: Apple App Store names are like domain names. Now is time to “claim your name”. Get your 1.0 name out there. You can always make newer versions.
Content ideas for apps
Articles (RSS Blog Feed)
Utility that matches content
and much more…
SIDE NOTE: He’s now showing examples of various apps, which is fairly interesting. However, the guy behind me just fell asleep and woke himself up snoring. What a riot! Now back to our program…
The presenter is showing his current app named MacMost. He’s got some pretty good stuff in there. I like the way it works and will need to check it out.
Options for Building an App
Program it yourself
Hire a programmer
Use an App builder
How to find a developer
Local networking (Try Meetup.com)
Look for apps like yours, contact the developer
Ask your audience
How to develop an app strategy? Ask your audience. Ask them what they want and what would they like to see on it. Ask them what their favorite apps are. Tweet about it, send a survey, etc.
MY COMMENTS: Apps are absolutely HUGE! Throughout the conference, everyone is talking about the potential and power of having your own app and driving people toward them.
This is the final keynote of today. It’s the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. The title is “The Future of Web Video”. The panel is impressive. They represent three major industries.
Jim Louderback – CEO of Revision 3 (TECHNOLOGY)
Dick Glover – CEO of FunnyorDie.com (COMEDY)
Dermot McCormack – VP of digital businesses at MTV (MUSIC)
Susan Bratton – CEO of Personal Life Media is moderating.
Jim was in magazines in the early 90s. The reason he got involved in video on the web is because he saw that was the direction things were going.
Dermot mentions that the audience has changed. They have started to talk to each other and they talk back.
At Rev 3, there is no social media expert. All hosts are involved and having conversations with their fans. All the social media and electronic connections makes the face to face even more important. The community of togetherness is important.
Dick Glover mentions that quality content is the key. We put together a group of people that we felt would know what funny is. If they think it is funny, the audience typically does too. Timeliness, surprise, discovery, & celebrity are all important factors to successful video, especially for comedy.
Dick is producing content that can be distributed in many places. While the Internet and short form video are their specialty, they also do other things such as photos, etc that can be used online. Three minute videos can be combined to make a half hour show.
Half hour TV shows cost about $600,000. Their short clips cost about $2,500. The budget is not that important. You can create very good video very cheap now.
Every panelist agreed to invest in good quality mics, not video cameras. Jim mentions that his audience has really complained about a little reverb and echo. Yet, the major video redesigns got little talk or attention. Focus on the audio.
What things are they thinking the most about with regard to the future of video on the web?
Dick explains that he thinks a lot about how to repackage content to be on different screens. How can online content further the video content that has been on mainstream? How can video be monetized?
Dermot admits that he thinks a lot about mobile and how it can play a meaningful role in Video. He wants to know how they can play a role
Jim says Web TV is going to a TV near you. People are buying televisions with Internet on them. There are new, great ways to consume content. They are all app based. The browser is not necessarily the best way to consume content. If you are a media content creator, you need to think about apps and how to market them. We need to be watching how Google TV works. It is the future.
Where is your app focus? Apps are the next big thing. All are working on it. Tablets are going to go crazy. The younger people are drawn toward the tablets and apps. It is time to move from HTML and start using apps to present information and video in a better method.
Do you see the video industry being disrupted by web? Advertising, content and technologies are all changing. But Dick does not think it will be disrupted. Good companies will adapt or fade. MTV now has a Twitter DJ. She is constantly interacting and interviewing. It is important to adapt.
The key is content, then distribution, distribution, distribution. That’s what it’s all about. Getting on new platforms early (or first) works well. Good distribution is not easy. Take the deals you can get. Work it, and work hard.
I then asked a question. What is the biggest differences in audiences is in the past few years, especially with regard to the younger generation? What’s different now? The panelists said that the audience talking to each other is a huge change. Young people do it more than others. Also, Jim mentioned that “ADD type” attitudes are prevalent. Things need to happen very quick. You need to capture attention VERY quickly as soon as you content begins.
What would they like to see change?
Dick said that the one thing he would like to see change is disintermediation. He feels there are too many people between him and the advertisers and brands.
Jim would like to see advertisers understand the difference in new media. He wishes advertisers would understand that there is a deeper experience on Internet video when it is done well. It’s not just about impressions. It needs to be looked at differently and sold differently.
Jim does not believe that the future is for people to click on things during content and buy them. He feels that online content should encourage people to use the advertisers products after the content is over when the timing is right.
This morning the keynote was done by a couple of advisors to politicians. They had some slightly interesting points, but mostly it turned into them complaining about the other political party.
So I left. A lot of people did.
But now I’m in with a very interesting group of podcasters learning from Tom Webster. He is a New Media guy that is able to share some statistics and information on podcasting.
In 2006, a lot of people entered podcasting. They thought it was the next big thing. A lot of the businesses back then that supported podcasting are now gone.
About 45% of people now know the term podcasting. (Only 85% of americans are online.) About 23% of these people have listened to a podcast, 20% have watched a video podcast. Therefore, overall 11% and 12% of Americans have listened or watched a audio or video podcast.
Initially, people listened to podcasts because it is unique content. Now it is because it is convenient and easy.
In 2006, a large percentage of podcast listeners were in the 12 to 17 age group. Now, no particular age group is dominating. It is becoming more rounded out.
Teens, Tweens, and Young Adults are fragmenting. They are not going to any one source for their media. But they will re-aggregate around new norms. There is an incredible opportunity to cater toward that age group. They are searching and will gather again if you build it. This age group in particular is a huge wide open growth opportunity.
Podcasting has now “jumped the chasm”. When reviewing the statistics, you see that podcasts are now being watched by many that are not “early adopters”.
Another huge opportunity is podcasting for local. Daily newspapers are failing across the country. Many average size cities only have one. These same cities may have a few tv networks. Most have many, many radio stations. Those stations are mostly public radio that is not serving the local community. A lot of local radio stations will probably fail. People are moving very fast toward Pandora. Good local news has plummeted. Local media cannot afford quality content. People are leaving.
You have just as much right to provide local content. Traditional media is rapidly abandoning “local”. Think big. Fill the gaps. Local is a huge opportunity. This may even be picked up by local stations.
The mass appeal and long tail both exist in podcasting. However, there is a lot of mid-range that is still available to be taken. Niches are for SEO. Go after a larger audience, when podcasting.
More and more people are consuming audio and video content online as opposed to downloading it. Podcast consumption is happening more and more at the desktop (as a percentage). Perhaps more people are downloading, but even more people are watching at the desktop. Also, more and more are probably watching on iPads throughout the house, such as in the kitchen or while doing laundry. Try catering to that opportunity.
Tom also mentioned that mainstream people may not fully understand exactly what feeds are. People simply want to watch (or listen) “now” or “later”. Try to make it simple for people like that.
People that listen to podcasts are much more active in social media. Don’t just send your feed to iTunes. Get active and market your show.
There was a whole ton of statistics from Tom Webster. I’m hoping to get those slides to review the statistics. They were amazing.
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.)
Cost Per Impression
CPA – Lead Generation
CPC – Cost Per Click
Sponsorships – Fixed length
Pay Per Post
Job Boards / Classifieds
OTHER INDIRECT METHODS
Growing Online Business
Finding a Job
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…
(Much of this was done in one day.)
Launch Post – Overview of product, fast action special
Social Media Promotions
Interview with Product Creator
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.)