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Why Bloggers Blog – [VIDEO MASHUP]

Last week I put out the call for video posts on the topic of ‘Why I Blog’. This is a ‘group project’ of sorts and my hope was to see bloggers experiment with producing videos all around the same topic.

The result was 36 bloggers tackling the challenge and submitting their videos. The videos exceeded my expectations with a while range of bloggers participating. We have bloggers who have just started out along side bloggers who’ve made a successful business from blogging. We have bloggers from around the world (and even one video in Spanish), bloggers young and old, male and female, human and…. dog. Some are serious, some funny, some abstract….

Some of the videos are ‘talking head’ in style, others get a little creative (and at times bizarre) – but all take up the topic and run with it.

As promised in my launch post – here they are. I hope you enjoy this mashup of voices. Thanks to each blogger who submitted a video – I hope I didn’t miss anyone!

Jamie Harrop submitted:

Leo Piccioll submitted this video (SPANISH):

Jim Kukral threw this one into the mix:

45n5 submitted:

Soultravelers3 put in a submission that was a little different:

Ian Fernando chimes in with:

Colin shares his video – a fireside chat:

Cindy Szponder adds her video into the mix:

Pixel Head shares:

Fat Lazy Guy put this very clever video together:

Spiderman…. Zac Johnson then joined in with:

Debby Banning shared her thoughts with:

Lori’s video is at:

Maddie Grant’s shared her video at:

The Story Lady chimes in with:

Bob Younce shared his video at:

Jerry Dawg’s video is at:

Syed Balkhi submitted this video:

elezend put together this video response:

Amanda Marie Roberts answered the question of why she blogs here:

Brad’s video is:

Travis Reynolds has posted his response here:

Karen put together this video:

Agent001′s video is at (I feature in this one):

Chrispian shares some thoughts in his video:

Hallsky’s goofy video is at:

Sundar Rajan GS shares this video:

Sara Ch. has made this creative video:

Mark’s submission is:

Joe Cheray tells us why he blogs:

Vic blogs because:

Robin Good shares at:

Andrew Flusche shares his video at:

Rhett Soveran shares this video:

Samuel sneaks this last one in:

Suzanna Stinnett also gets this video in at the last moment.

How to Come Up with Topics to Write About On Your Blog


In today’s video post I want to show you a technique that can help those of us struggling to come up with ideas to post about on our blogs to discover post ideas that are relevant to what our readers are looking for information on. In the few minutes that this video goes for I come up with 15 or so post ideas – you can too.

The size of the video above might be a little small for you to pick up all of the detail in the screen cast so for a larger version see it also at Revver and YouTube. Also – once the screen cast part of the video starts you may need to turn up your volume slightly.

[Read more...]

TweetBait, April Fools and Jokes on a Blog

Just after midnight last night (as it ticked over here to 1 April) I posted that I was launching a new ProBlogger service – PayPerTweet – a service that pays Twitter users to Tweet about products, services and websites.

Of the 100+ commenters to respond to the post so far the majority noticed the date and time – although what unfolded exceeded my expectations for an April Fools prank. In this post I want to tell the back story of the idea (the idea actually is bedded in reality to some extent) and share some of the ‘results’.

The Back Story

On Saturday I received an email from someone asking me to Tweet about them in return for $20. I won’t out them here but they wanted a little ‘Tweet Love’ to help them build their own twitter follower numbers and were willing to put up $20 to get it. I refused the offer and suggested to the person that there were better ways to build your Twitter following.

Last night at about 11pm my time I Tweeted about the experience of being paid to tweet. The responses from followers were varied from shock, to intrigue, to humor, to a few saying that they thought it was a good idea. These responses reminded me of the launch of PayPerPost. I immediately thought of ‘PayPerTweet’ and looked it up to see if anyone had registered the domain (purely curiosity). Funnily enough the domain was registered in 2007!

I tweeted my findings about the domain.

At this point I began to think about how I could make a spoof PayPerTweet like site and IM’d Chris Garrett with the idea. He quickly reminded me that it was April Fools day in just a few hours (actually it was 30 minutes away for me here in Australia). He suggested I write it up as a post on ProBlogger.

To this point I’d not been planning any April Fools Day posts (I’ve never really got into it) but began to write a post anyway – just for fun. I only half thought that I’d post it – I’m always nervous about playing jokes on readers (perhaps it goes back to an April Fools joke played on me in my childhood!)

I IM’d my draft post over to Chris – he laughed and said I should post it. On the spur of the moment I did just that and then Tweeted it for good measure.

The Response

I was nervous about the post. I’d included a few ‘hints’ in the post about it’s true intentions but still was nervous about how it would be taken. I was quite relieved to see the first comments and Twitter replies come in. Most people spotted the dates – although a few did not.

I stayed up for another hour watching the fun spread across Twitter as people Re-Tweeted the ‘news’. The story spread and traffic began to arrive at the post.

The response to PayPerTweet was mixed and I’m not sure I’ve seen it all yet as it got tweeted and blogged about quite widely. Here’s some of what I woke up to this morning:

  • 100+ comments on the PPT post - most saw the joke, a few were completely taken in by it, a few were angry, a few thought it was a great idea.
  • 18 Serious Enquiries - surprisingly this morning I have 16 emails in my inbox and two direct messages in Twitter from people who wanted to know more information about PayPerTweet. The ‘press release’ post had a fake email address in it (the date of April 1) which would have bounced for anyone sending email to it – but 16 people emailed via my contact form. These ranged from potential advertisers wanting to know prices to Twitter users wanting to know how to sign up for the service.
  • Blog Posts - I’m not sure how many people have written about the story on their blogs but there are definitely a few (track it on Technorati). My intention with this was not link bait – but it was the result, to some extent. It even made it to Techmeme. The posts have ranged from those writing about April Fools day through to a number who thought it was serious to a few who I’m still not sure if they got the joke.
  • Twitter – Twitter lapped this one up. It was Tweeted and ReTweeted more than I know how to track (you can see some of it on ProBlogger’s Quotably and this search result for PayPerTweet on Quotably). I helped it get kick started by direct messaging a few Twitter friends who gave it mentions. These drove a fair bit of traffic and also drove up my follower numbers (up about 160 so far since midnight). I guess this was good ‘TweetBait’.
  • Conversation – what I’m most happy about with this whole PPT thing is that it’s actually generated some fascinating conversation and perhaps pointed to an issue that the team at Twitter is going to have to deal with in the coming months. The fact that someone is already offering Cash for Tweets shows that people are already attempting to manipulate the tool. The serious enquiries that I had as a result of posting also indicate that there is some kind of market for this type of thing. How long will it be before someone actually develops the business model for this? How will Twitter protect itself? Should it? Will Twitter be monetized and will see ProTweeters emerge? All of these questions and more have been thrown around over the last 12 hours – fascinating to watch.

So it’s midday here in Australia and that means the jokes are over and sadly (or happily for some) the PayPerTweet can be relegated to the deadpool (at least for me).

12 Rules for Getting a Grip on Massive ProBlogger Email

This is a guest post from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, a blog about simplicity and productivity.

Darren has told us that his ProBlogger email inbox can often be overwhelming, and with a couple of extremely successful blogs, running a large ad network, and multiple other projects, it isn’t hard to imagine why.

If most people have a hard time managing email, Darren would have the same problem but on a different order of magnitude.

However, from my experiences at Zen Habits, with dozens of emails coming in all the time, I’ve found that getting a handle on email and keeping an empty inbox is definitely possible. I thought I’d share my advice for Darren as a way to illustrate smart email practices for bloggers and others with a lot of email.

The following 12 rules are customized specifically for Darren, but I believe they can work for most bloggers.

Before he starts, however, I suggest he take all the emails in his inbox, create a folder (or label) called “Temp” and go through those when he gets a chance — that way he starts with a clean, fresh inbox.

1. Check only one inbox. If you get email from different blogs and projects, redirect them all to one inbox. I highly, highly recommend using Gmail (yes, even if you are on a Mac) — in my experience, it’s by far the best email tool for keeping your inbox empty. Even better than Mail.app.

2. Stop stuff at the source. The best way to deal with email is not to get it in the first place. If you get a lot of notifications from services, advertising from companies, forwarded joke emails from relatives and friends, newsletters and mailing lists … either unsubscribe, ask them to stop sending them, or create a simple filter to delete them automatically. If you are fanatical about this rule, you can eliminate at least half your emails.

3. Set policies for readers. I love reader email but after my emails from Zen Habits readers became too overwhelming, I set up a policy page that basically asks people not to email me unless they’ve exhausted a few different options first. This greatly reduced the amount of email I get. Here are my policies:

  • Thank yous and questions and other comments. People email me with thank yous and questions and suggestions and stuff, so I created a couple of comment threads on my blog to allow them to post stuff that I can check periodically, instead of having that stuff go to my email.
  • Guest posts. I don’t allow people to send me guest posts anymore, just because of a large backlog I have already.
  • Posts from other blogs. If people want to share their posts with me, they can tag them with “for:zenhabis” in del.icio.us, and I can check those periodically and link to the best ones in my tumblelog.
  • Promoting products/services/sites. Don’t send them to me. I will delete them automatically. Instead, they can buy advertising.

4. Write a FAQ. Many times emails from readers are the same questions over and over again. Similar to posting policies, you should post a Frequently Asked Questions to answer these common questions and keep them out of your inbox. If people email you without reading the FAQ first, delete them.

5. Route routine email to an assistant. This won’t work for everyone, but for Darren I would highly recommend it. I started doing it more than a month ago and it works well for me. Does this assistant handle all of your email? Not at all. Just routine stuff — responding to common questions, checking through comments, emailing people with ad rates, etc. I’ve set up some automatic filters and a second email address for my virtual assistant, and it works well. That still leaves your regular inbox with a lot of emails though.

6. Only check twice a day. Darren could easily spend all day in his inbox. He doesn’t have time for that. Instead, set two specific times (say, 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) for checking email and processing the inbox to empty.

7. Process quickly. When you get into your inbox, spend as little time as possible processing. Quickly delete as much of it as possible, read others and archive them, respond to others that will only take a couple seconds, and Star the ones that will require action. See below for more on some of these actions. Basically, start at the top of the inbox, and process each one quickly and immediately, until you get the the last one. Process to empty every time.

8. Delete often, archive the rest. Darren will probably get a lot of emails he doesn’t need to read or respond to. Delete those immediately. If in doubt, delete, as they will rarely be so important that you will regret deleting. For the rest, read or respond very quickly, and then archive.

9. Star actionable emails. For those few emails that will require longer responses or action, mark them with a Star (in Gmail — if you use another program, just put it in an Action folder) and then archive. You can then go through the Star folder when you have time to work on stuff or reply to longer emails.

10. Only reply to 5 per day. When you have time for replying to longer emails (ones that don’t require a 1 or 2 sentence reply), choose 5 for today and just do those. Leave the rest for later or delete them if you like.

11. 5 sentence emails. Limit your responses to 5 sentences. It’ll force you to just write the essential stuff, and limit the time you spend replying.

12. Let most of them go. Darren knows that most of the emails he can’t respond to will rarely come back to bite him in the butt. If you choose just the most important ones to respond to or take action on, the rest will be fine if you let them go. Just let go!

ProBlogger Launches PayPerTweet

Press Release: For Immediate Release
Contact: Darren Rowse
1 April 2008

ProBlogger Launches PayPerTweet

Get paid to Tweet

Over the last two years Twitter has grown exponentially in its use by tens of millions of people around the world. Even ProBlogger’s founder Darren Rowse is Tweeting Here.

With millions now using Twitter on a daily basis its only natural that companies and individuals would wish to have a presence on Twitter. We’re already seeing companies start their own Twitter accounts but increasingly we’ve been approaches by companies and individuals looking to be mentioned in Twitter streams in return for compensation.

Along side this an increasing number of Twitter users have become frustrated that despite having accumulated tens of thousands of followers on Twitter that they’ve so far had little success at monetizing their ‘followership’.

Enter ProBlogger’s ‘PayPerTweet’ service.

Companies

Establish a Twitter Presence in no time.

PayPerTweet delivers online word of mouth marketing, brand building and traffic generation through one of the world’s largest consumer generated advertising community and marketplace.

Twitter Users

Monetize Your Tweets.

Get paid for tweeting. Write about web sites, products, services, and companies and earn cash for providing your opinion and valuable feedback to advertisers. Disclosure not required – (but we might change this later).

Earn Extra Cash by ReTweeting

Opportunities will exist in the coming weeks for our ‘ReTweet’ program whereby Twitter users help messages to go viral for advertisers by joining together to ReTweet the paid Tweets of others. This of course adds value for advertisers but also earns gets you more Buck for your Tweet.

Already we have secured the cooperation of 50 prominent Twitter users with a combined followership of 250,000. This group is willing to tweet about you, your site or your product for cash.

Payment is on a CPMF basis – (Cost Per Thousand Follower). Please enquire for prices.

For more details email us at [email protected]. Also keep up to date with all the latest on PPT at ProBlogger’s Twitter account.

Update
Of course, this post went up on April Fools Day. You can read more about the back story of this post here.