Tag Archives: blogging

What I Learned (or Didn’t) @BlogWorld: An Authentically Cynical Review

9 Nov

“Be authentic and passionate.”

“Be an authority for your niche.”

“Listen to your audience.”

“Know your deepest intent.”

“Eat your fears…they will sustain you.”

Did I accidentally miss BlogWorld (LA Convention Center West Hall) and stumble into Tony Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” event (LA Convention Center South Hall)?

During the two days I spent at BlogWorld, these jargon-heavy phrases kept coming up over, and over, and over, and over. As a three-day expo in Los Angeles dedicated to promoting all things new media, blogging, social media and digital innovation, needless to say I was underwhelmed.

These nuggets of wisdom represent the newest, cutting-edge information that blogging and new media thought leaders have to offer? When did blogging turn into a self-help-athon? And when did blogging also become about reiterating what everyone else said as if it’s gospel?

Maybe I’m not listening, or maybe I’m being really cynical. Or both.

It’s not that I disagree with these sentiments–I absolutely agree that authenticity, transparency, and narrow authority are all keys to success in any business venture, especially social media. As someone who actively reads blogs but has no intention of trying to earn a living from one (authenticity at work right here), I wanted to come away from BlogWorld with a wealth of new information that I could incorporate into building social media strategies for brands. I certainly got some good insights, but generally felt, well, the information was too general and top line.
Here are the highlights (or not) of my experience:

THE GOOD

As opposed to asking “What’s the best time to post a press release,” for example, the better question is “does the date/time of posting a press release matter?” Tom then walked through statistics that showed how 1) it doesn’t matter what time you post, just as long as you do and 2) the time/date question is industry and brand specific – hence “do your own work.” You should know best when and where your readers are accessing your content. When companies post content that suggests best times and places to post, they are relying on what works for them.

In Tom’s words, “data generated for the purposes of content creation is inherently incurious.” The best, most helpful phrase of the conference. Thanks Tom!

  • Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere address: The blogging curation giant revealed some great new data here, including:
    • The #1 influencer for bloggers is other bloggers: influencers influence influencers.
    • LinkedIn is the 3rd largest social media traffic driver.
    • Sixty-one percent of bloggers are hobbyists, and seventy percent of bloggers blog to share their expertise and experiences with others.

However, the woman read the slides verbatim. Not exactly engaging. I could get the same info if Technorati posted the deck on SlideShare.

  • Have Bloggers Replaced Radio Programmers as Curators of Pop Music Culture?: I attended this music panel out of sheer interest as a music fan. The bloggers’ attitude and approach were refreshing–as opposed to overarching statements about passion and authenticity, they shared specific ways on how they find music, the pros and cons of creating music in a new media world, and attracting audiences to their niche music blogs. Straightforward without the fluff. Thanks guys. (Are there any female music bloggers out there, BTW?)

THE NOT-AS-GOOD-AS-I’D-HOPED

  • Chris Brogan & Guy Kawasaki’s panel on Google+: Authenticity FAIL. This felt like a giant infomercial paid for by Google. I truly admire these guys and thought I would leave with pages of notes on Google+ best practices. Granted, I arrived late, so perhaps they covered this in the opening. Or, instead of giving away the goods in the session, perhaps they just want us to buy their book on Google+.
MY TAKEAWAYS & RECOMMENDATIONS
  • Let’s move beyond the obvious and lose the jargon, people! If I hear about “opening the kimono,” “engage your audience with passion and authenticity,” “leverage your online relationships to build offline strategy” or whatever, I’m going to lose it. Can we think of any more creative ways to communicate how social media works? I’d love to go to a panel where these words are used MINIMALLY or NEVER.
  • Leverage the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced tracks more specifically. There was no consistency or explanation by the event organizers as to what constitutes experience level. Perhaps directing attendees according to experience could eliminate the bouncing between sessions (like I did).
  • The more specific, the better. Sessions should include specific case studies that demonstrate the general takeaways.
Thanks for letting me vent.

SEO: Gregory Markel and Optimizing Aye Blog

17 Mar

As a newbie blogger, I am still familiarizing myself with the wonderful world of WordPress and its various functionalities.  As I’ve been experimenting and growing more comfortable with the WordPress blogging platform, I have been thinking that my site looked a little thin.  What could I do to drive more traffic to my blog, and make my posts worthwhile to viewers who may have just stumbled across (or upon?) my blog?

Gregory Markel, CEO of SEO/SEM agency Infuse Creative, shared some of his thoughts during our class on MondayMarch 8th about ways we can improve SEO.  Here are some tactics that stood out:

  • Site architecture: needs to be logical and organized in a common sense way. There should be an hierarchal context for arranging information that reinforces the theme that site is trying to convey. Rearranging the backend (which Google crawls) can greatly impact SEO.

  • Keywords: they only as important as they should honestly reflect your site’s content. Credibility is key – just as you want to present yourself and your business honestly, Google’s search algorithms will detect spam-like usage of keywords.  And, like site architecture, keywords and navigation need to be logical and make sense to a user.

  • Inbound links should be quality and relevant.

  • Always listen to Google over SEO experts.

  • Monitor Google trends: if a company or brand is trending in the news, write a blog post about it.  It’s a great way to build your content and drive relevant traffic.

Since I’m just an individual blogger and not a brand, here are the tactics I recently implemented on my blog to improve SEO:

  • Links: Posted links to my blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

  • Keywords tags: Revised older posts to include relevant keyword tags.

  • RSS: Added widgets for RSS feeds from my favorite sites, including links to my Twitter page and a “subscribe” button.

  • Focusing on my audience: WordPress.com has limited functionality (as opposed to WordPress.org, which is more flexible and customizable, but I’m not familiar with CSS quite yet). Yes, my blog is geared towards my class, friends and family.  But I also want to use it as a calling card for potential employers.  No flowery or gimmicky images.  I want to show that I am comfortable working with WordPress while not compromising my personality.

Based on these changes, I’ve noticed my Alexa ranking has already improved about 100,000 places (woo hoo!). (Note: I take Alexa rankings with a grain of salt, although the higher number suggests increased traffic and growth on my site). Hopefully one day I’ll feel like this guy:


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