AdSense for Feeds Ads Showing in Feedburner Email Updates

Today I was chatting with someone that subscribes to ProBlogger via email through the Feedburner RSS to Email service that we offer readers and they mentioned in passing that they see the AdSense ads in the emails that they receive.

At first I was a little taken aback by this. AdSense don’t allow their ads to be sent via email – it has always been in their Terms of Service. I know this because publishers have been asking for it to be allowed for years.

So on getting home just now I’ve checked my inbox in Gmail to see my latest email updates from my sites and sure enough – there are AdSense ads in them.

Here’s how they look on my photography blog’s daily updates:

Picture 3.png

and another one:

Picture 2.png

The ads are AdSense for RSS ads that I run in my feeds (and have done for a while). They appear at the bottom of each of my posts when someone is viewing them via RSS – but it also appears that they’re showing up in some emails. I say SOME emails because when I view these same emails in my Apple Mail email client I don’t see the ads – but in my Gmail I do.

The person who told me about this also uses Gmail. I’m yet to test it using any other email client but it could just be that they show in Gmail.

I’m not sure if Google’s Feedburner or AdSense or Gmail teams (or a combination of them) are just testing this temporarily or if it is a permanent thing but as a publisher I’m definitely not disappointed by it – it means more ad impressions!

Have you seen AdSense ads like this in RSS to email subscriptions that you have? If so – what email clients have you seen them in? Just Gmail or are they appearing in other email clients too?

update: It seems AdSense did announce this previously – check out the last paragraph on this post on their blog (thanks to @mvizdos on twitter for the link). Question is – when are they going to let those of us with newsletters add AdSense to our emails!? I’d love that!

5 Ways Blogging Can Make a Difference for You in This Economy

Dan Schawbel is the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and owner of the award winning Personal Branding Blog.

If you ever were scared or intimated of a blog, now is the best time to flush away those fears and start a blog. Forget about the economy and start thinking about how you can make a difference in your life and that of others. Blogging is a proven way to become extremely successful, no matter what the economic condition is. Today, I want to give you five ways that blogging can make a huge impact for your personal brand during this economy.

1. Protects you from Threats

Your name is your most important asset on the web, followed by your picture and then your positioning. Blogging allows you to own your Google results, which, in return will allow people to find you. I promise you that people are already searching for your name in Google and if you aren’t there, it’s a missed opportunity. Blogging is extremely powerful for search engine optimization (ranking high in Google), which means you can make your blog rank #1 for your name and have people find you every single time. Competitively, you need to blog because you don’t want anyone else claiming that top position from you, especially if they share your name.

2. Allows you to Network

By having a blog, you already have something in common with more than 100 million people across the world, which means each and every day you can connect with one or more faces, without leaving your computer chair. Networking with other people is the only insurance policy you can have during a bad economy and if you’ve already been networking online, you’re way ahead of the game. See, when you aren’t looking for a job, and you network, it comes off authentically and increases your chances of opening up a new opportunity. A blog is content driven and conversations are started around content, which gives you the ability to comment on other peoples blogs and then further that relationship off-blog with an email or message on social networks. In this way, your blog becomes the ultimate networking device for keeping you connected with people that can make you succeed!

3. Keeps your Skills Up

The two most crucial skills to have are writing and verbal communication skills. The best way to get better at both is to practice and by writing blog posts and filming podcasts, you are able to hone these skills and get better over time. This is extremely important when it comes to writing a resume, interviewing for a job, forming relationships with coworkers, writing to other bloggers online and commenting. By forcing yourself (hopefully you’ll be passionate enough about the subject not to be forced to write about it) to blog, your writing will get better and people will take notice. Think about how significant email is in our lives. If you’re currently employed and your writing isn’t satisfactory, then it will negatively impact the brand called you.

4. Promotes Brand You

When you’re sleeping, your blog is working for you overtime and you don’t even have to pay it! That’s right; a blog is an incredible marketing tool for your personal brand. Every blog post can be found in Google, commented on, shared and so on. A blog is an advertisement and, for those who read and craft a blog that looks professional, your blog is your resume. People are getting jobs all the time from their blogs and they aren’t even applying for them. Blogging is a form of attraction marketing, where people get interested in your content (that you give out for free) and then either hire you or give you an opportunity that can help you build your brand, such as a speaking gig. One of the main benefits of blogging, aside from positioning yourself as an expert, is the added visibility to your brand name. With a blog, you can rank high in search engines and have people link to you. You can spread your message to thousands of subscribers in a single post if you work at it.

5. Relieves you from Stress

Blogging is very good for the soul and keeps you active, to a point, where you’ll forget we are even in an economic recession. When you start blogging, you’ll realize that it really consumes your time and, in a sense, this is a very good thing for you when you hear stories of people getting laid off, left and right. A blog will settle you down, make you concentrate more and allows you to flush your ideas out, which can turn into new business ventures! Forget a stress ball and any other infomercials you might see on TV. A blog will actually help you become more of who you are and you can form relationships with people just like you. In this way, you have a whole choir to preach to, instead of just your family and friends.

Further Reading:

13 13 Tips to Recession Proof Your Blog

My Mum Doesn’t Get YouTube: Why Text is King

Steve Rubel has a smart post up at the moment on Why Text Remains King of the Web. In it he reflects upon why Robert Scoble’s videos don’t tend to generate the buzz that they could and why text has it over video:

  • It’s scannable
  • Text does better with SEO
  • Text is better to consume in the workplace
  • Text is better on mobile devices
  • Text is easier for distribution

While I think some of the above is slowly changing as technology catches up I think a lot of it rings true. It’s why I put most of my time into textual mediums rather than video.

I’ll add another point to what Steve’s written:

My Mum Doesn’t Get YouTube.

OK – perhaps Mum could work out YouTube if she put some time aside to learn – but recently I was talking to my family about online video and the blank stares that I got from my parents made me wonder if they’d ever watched a video online before. They’re not online all day every day but the majority of what they do is email and searching for articles on their subjects of interest with Google. They live in ‘text content land’ – right in the middle of it.

While many of us who are into the blogging and social media game have been doing video for years now and are completely at home with watching them, embedding them, sharing them with friends….. it can easy to forget that perhaps as a fairly tech savvy bunch we might be ahead of the field (or at least some of it).

Perhaps it is partly generational or perhaps it is about personality (or a mix of both) but I’d guess that there are a fairly significant proportion of the population who are either unsure how to view video, don’t know where to find video or have no interest in video and who are much more at home with ‘reading’.

I do see a future in online video (and think it’ll even increase in popularity in time, particularly with some demographics) and I’ll continue to use it on my own blogs – but I’m betting that text is also here to stay.

7 Tips on How to Write Sticky, Memorable Blog Posts

Today copywriter Glenn Murray from shares 7 tips on writing sticky blog posts.

People don’t want to read your post. Chances are, they’ve dedicated the first hour of their morning to staying in touch, and even that’s more than they really have time for. They checked out 4 or 5 posts before they stumbled across yours, and they know they face at least as many after. Not to mention emails, tweets and voicemails.

So they’re really just looking for an excuse to move on. Don’t give them that excuse.

It’s not enough that your posts are relevant and informative. In fact, even if your content is unique – or even groundbreaking – your posts still have to be sticky and memorable. Fortunately, it’s quite an easy thing to do. Let me explain…

It all comes down to 7 Signals in your Copywriting

There are 7 simple signals that you can include in your copywriting, that will get your visitors reading, keep them reading, and help them retain your message.

1. Signal that your post is relevant to your visitor

Make sure your headline is relevant. Don’t make it obscure in an attempt to be clever (or keyword-rich). An obscure headline is just one more obstacle to a busy reader. KISS is the best approach (Keep It Simple, Stupid!). Also, make sure you include an explicit statement, fairly early in the post, describing your subject matter and main point. (It’s not always possible to be this explicit in your headline.)

Examples from this post: My headline isn’t fancy. “7 Tips on How to Write Sticky, Memorable Blog Posts.” It’s straight to the point, but still engages because it promises something the reader wants. And my explicit early statement? “There are 7 simple signals that you can include in your copywriting… retain your message.” Once again, not fancy, but promising.

2. Signal that it’ll be easy to read

We all know that most people scan. Nothing new there. But it’s easy to overlook in the rush to post. Don’t. Always make sure you make it very clear to your visitors that your post is going to be easy to read. Make your first sentence succinct and friendly. Perhaps even raise an eyebrow or two. And consider using bulleted lists, numbered lists and sub-headers in your post body. Also, if your post is structured around a numbered list (as this one is), say so in the headline.

Examples from this post: My first sentence is only 7 words long, with just 1 multisyllabic word (and that word is just 2 syllables). It contains a contraction and addresses the reader directly (“your”), suggesting that the entire post will be fairly conversational and direct. The first sentence is also a little confronting, which may cause readers to ask, “Why don’t people want to read my post?” My entire post is delivered in bite-size chunks (tips), and this is promised in the headline. What’s more, I’ve used the magic number, 7, which is supposed to strike a chord with more readers (thanks to @schebesta for that tip!).

3. Signal that it’s got personality

People don’t want to read the same old conservative ho-hum they read everywhere else. They want to read something engaging. More to the point, they want to engage with the blogger who wrote it. That’s what blogging’s all about, after all. So make sure your post reflects your personality. Write how you talk. Allude to your own quirks. Show you don’t take yourself too seriously (maybe be self-deprecating, but not obsequious). In fact, unless you’re a writer, even your spelling and grammatical errors can reflect your personality. (But be careful here, as this can also undermine your professionalism.)

Examples from this post: I’ve used a conversational style (contractions, “you”, short sentences). I’ve even used an informal acronym (“KISS”), a colloquialism (“fancy”) and a bit of slang (“ho-hum”). I’ve thanked someone in an informal way (@schebesta). I’ve used metaphors to color the copy (“raise an eyebrow”). I’ve even broken some rules of grammar (I’m pretty sure “Don’t” isn’t a full sentence, nor is “Nothing new there” – grammarians’ opinions???). There are bound to be plenty of other examples too.

4. Signal that there’s more to come

People know that each paragraph links logically to the next. But by making that link explicit, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll read on. (This is a trick I learned from Joseph Sugarman.) So, every couple of paragraphs, finish off with an explicit lead-in to the next paragraph. Lead-ins like, “I’ll tell you how…”, “He wasn’t the first…”, “This is just the first of many…”, and “You’re about to find out how…”. But don’t over-use them. Otherwise you’ll sound like an infomercial offering steak knives! (“But wait, there’s more…!!!”)

Examples from this post: “Let me explain…” That’s about the only one I’ve used, because most of the post is in the numbered list, and lead-ins would get in the way down here.

5. Signal where the meat of the post is

Scanners know that most of your intro can be skipped. So long as you’ve used Signal 1, above, many will scan the page looking for the meat of your post. Make it easy for them to find. You might use a numbered list or a bulleted list, for example. Or some sub-heads. Often, longer paragraphs suggest meat too.

Examples from this post: The numbered list is the most obvious cue. But I’ve backed it up with a sub-head (“It all comes down to 7 signals in your copywriting”).

6. Signal your professionalism

Even if you adopt a conversational style, some colloquialism, slang, humor, or whatever, you should always make sure your reader knows you’re a professional writing to your audience (not just a bumpkin bangin’ some words onto the page). Intersperse your post with some language that your reader will perceive as professional. Whether it’s a certain way of phrasing things, some meaningful jargon, or just a big word or two.

Examples from this post: There are heaps, but here are a few. I started out pretty casual: “People don’t want to read your post. Chances are…” But paragraph 3 is slightly more serious: “…not enough that your posts are relevant and informative.” Then each numbered item is a mix of casual and professional. E.g. Casual: “Once again, not fancy, but promising.” Professional: “An obscure headline is just one more obstacle to a busy reader.”

7. Signal when the reader can stop reading

This isn’t as obvious as it sounds. We’ve already established that readers are in a hurry, and that they don’t want to read your whole post. The important thing to realize is that this applies not just to the START of your post, but also to the END. If your reader can glean everything they want without reading right to the end, they will. This point is really the corollary of Signal 5, above. Just as you signal where the meat starts, signal where it ends. For a simple numbered list post, without a trailing discussion, the stop-reading signal is the end of the list. For other posts, a ‘Conclusion’ sub-head is a good idea.

Examples from this post: I didn’t feel any further discussion was needed for this post. The numbered list is enough. And without much following the numbered list, it’s clear that when it ends, the meat ends.

Don’t assume your subject matter will hook readers. Always craft your copy so that it gives readers the cues they look for. They’ll not only be more likely to read on, but also more likely to come back.

PS. There are, no doubt, other copywriting signals that readers heed when deciding whether to persist with a post. If you can think of any, please share…

Author Bio: Glenn Murray is a specialist SEO copywriter. He heads copywriting studio, Divine Write, and can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at [email protected] Visit for further details.

Digital Photography School just got a New Design

Digital Photography SchoolBlog redesigns are always experiences that are mixed with excitement and a little fear – today has been a day for both of those feelings as we launched a new design for Digital Photography School.

The new design includes an expansion from 1 blog to 3, a new portal/aggregation front page, Gravatars in comments and a lot more.

I won’t fully outline it here right now because I’ve asked the designer – Matt Brett (who has been a pleasure to work with) – if he’ll write a post for ProBlogger about it – but you can read my introduction to some of the changes on DPS in a post here.

The Power of Being Specific

Don’t be afraid to be a little Bossy on Your Blog.

Over the weekend I was reminded that sometimes readers just like being told what to do.

In my post How to Launch a Blog and Have Fresh Content for Weeks I was asked by a reader for advice on how much content to write before launching a blog.

When I sat down to write that post I had two choices:

1. I could have written a post with fairly general advice filled with good principles. The main headings would have gone something like:

  • Have Some Posts Already Published on Your Blog
  • Have a Few Posts Saved as Drafts
  • Have a List of Topics/Titles that You can Write in Future

This post would have gone pretty well. The advice is sound and readers would have been able to take it and apply it to their own situation.

2. I could have written a post with specific instructions – telling readers what to do. In fact this is what I did – the main headings were:

  • 5 Posts Already Published
  • 5 Draft Posts
  • 20 Post Ideas

This post had the same ‘principles’ and teaching that the more general post would have had – but it also had specific instructions on how many posts I would advise starting a new blog with.

While I encouraged readers to take the numbers and adapt them to their own situations having the numbers of posts seemed to really connect with readers both in comments and the emails I received over the weekend. One email read:

“Thanks for your post on starting a blog. I am about to launch a blog and now have a blueprint for preparing my content. I no longer feel that I’m stumbling around in the dark.”

This sentiment was echoed in a number of emails. What struck me about it is that my first draft of the post was not specific at all. It followed option #1 above and was quite general.

My natural inclination is to write about general principles and let readers interpret them for their own situation – but I’m constantly reminded that many readers like to be told what to do and how to do it – they respond to specifics.

Online Profits Course Launches with 50% Discount

Online-Profits.pngOne of the best group of internet marketers and bloggers that I’ve seen assembled into a teaching group have joined around a new Internet Marketing and Online Business training program called Online Profits which launches at 50% off today.

But you’d better be quick – it closes to new members at the end of the week.

The course is actually the baby of Daniel Scocco from Daily Blog Tips and numerous other successful blogs but what is special about it is the group of mentors who are experts in a number of fields relevant to growing an online business. The mentors are:

Yaro Starak, Neil Patel, Hamlet Batista, Michael Gray , Tamar Weinberg, Daniel Scocco, Zac Johnson, Courtney Tuttle, Nathan Rice and Skellie Wag.

Together they have expertise in blogging, SEO, affiliate marketing, web design, social media, advertising, content creation and much more. I really like this approach – instead of basing the course around one or two people with great experience in a couple of things but only a general knowledge in other important aspects of internet marketing – Daniel has assembled a group of experts in numerous fields who together will offer an amazing collective wisdom and set of experiences to the community.

As a result the list of 21 modules and 66 lessons that make up the course are quite impressive. Here are the main modules (you can read more about each and see all lessons here):

Module 1: Introduction and Business Principles

Module 2: Domain Names

Module 3: Setting Up Your Website

Module 4: WordPress

Module 5: Web Design for Entrepreneurs

Module 6: Business Models

Module 7: Selecting Your Niche

Module 8: Blogs

Module 9: Other Types of Websites

Module 10: Web Content and Copywriting

Module 11: Basic SEO

Module 12: Advanced SEO

Module 13: Generating Traffic

Module 14: Social Media

Module 15: Web Metrics

Module 16: Selling Advertising

Module 17: Email Marketing

Module 18: Affiliate Marketing

Module 19: PPC (Pay-per-Click)

Module 20: Landing Pages

Module 21: Selling Your Products

I feel a little exhausted and yet inspired just looking at that list. I can’t think of a lot more I’d want covered if I were starting an online business. Daniel tells me that the lessons will come in both text and audio. There are also private forums for participants and mentors to interact, interviews and case studies, tools and resources and more.

Daniel sent me a couple of lessons last week and they were both comprehensive, practical and useful. The kind of teaching that would definitely be understandable by beginners but also helpful to anyone in the early to intermediate stages of developing an online business.

Online Profits launches today (12 Jan) at 50% off and will close its doors on 16 January until late 2009 so that the mentor team can concentrate on those who join up.

There is a 30 day money back guarantee and you’re able to withdraw from the course at any point and only pay up to the point you’ve participated in.

Read full details of Online Profits and Signup Here.

Increase the Effectiveness of Your Next Guest Post with a Landing Page

This is a guest post from Jade Craven from the Prolific Writer.

Are you using guest posting as a blog marketing strategy? Hook new readers in with a guest post landing page.

What is a guest post landing page?

A guest post landing page is a specific page in your blog that is highly targeted to the intended audience. Here, it’s the readership of a particular blog. Guest posts are a brilliant opportunity for additional traffic and you can capture those readers by offering the content that is relevant to them.

First, you need to decide on the type of landing page you want.

There are three types of guest post landing pages:

1. Blog specific

This is when you create a landing page based on just the one blog. You can even create a different landing page per guest post on that blog. These types of guest pages work best when the blog has a larger readership or is on a very niche topic.

2. Niche specific

This is when the landing page is targeted to a particular niche or sub niche. An example is collating all your posts on e-books, or social media. This is a really effective landing page and is one that requires the least work.

3. Audience specific:

This is the landing page that is targeted at audiences outside of your main niche. Many bloggers recommend blogging outside of your niche to learn more. This can be really effective for capturing the traffic outside of your main readership. This works best if your content is applicable to other audiences.

Once you have decided on your type of landing page, you can then focus on targeting it to that audience.

3 Steps to creating a killer landing page.

Step one: Explain in less than two sentences how your blog can help them.

This is your elevator pitch – a chance to influence how the readers will interact with your site. This is the perfect opportunity to provide a call for action regarding subscriptions. Explain how subscribing to your content would help them. Hint towards the content you will be providing in the future. Mention alternate forms of subscription like twitter or a newsletter.

Don’t be too heavy on self promotion. Quality blog posts are an advertisement in themselves. Your goal is to give them reason to delve into your best content.

Step Two: Link to the 5-12 posts that are highly targeted to that audience.

This is your opportunity to really hook the reader in. You have a couple of choices:

  • Posts that are about the blogger.
  • Personal case studies that the readers would be interested in
  • Guest posts on blogs with a similar readership.

Step Three: Provide a small pitch at the bottom.

In the first step, you explained why the readers should interact with your content. In the second, you encouraged them to interact with your best content. This is the time to capture their interest with a related product or service.

If possible, offer something for free. If you are expecting a large rush of traffic, offer something that is exclusive to that audience. Make those readers want to click on your byline when they see your name elsewhere.

Struggling for ideas?

  • Link to a free report.
  • Mention your freelancing services.
  • Show off your other blogging projects.
  • If your landing page is blog specific, link to a product from the hosts blog.

By now you should have submitted your post and got your landing page ready. The final task is to decide how you want to direct the readers to your landing page.

There are two ways to draw attention to the page:

Referrer plugin.

This is a plugin that that identifies where your readers came from and provide a welcome message catered to that audience.

Using such a plugin allows the readers to see you other content while giving them to opportunity to see your targeted posts. I would use this if I linked to a specific article on my blog, or for landing pages that are niche/audience specific. This gives the reader the choice in how they interact with your blog. If you choose this method, make sure to give the reader a reason to click through to your landing page.

Link within the post

This is the best way to really capture the traffic is to provide a link from within the post. I link to it in both the byline and concluding text. Try to provide a

Have you used a guest post landing page? Is there anything else you would like to see on one? Let the readers know in the comments below.

If you want to see a guest post landing page in action, check out Jade’s blog at The Prolific Writer. She is currently seeking guest post opportunities and would love to hear from you.

Have You Used Video on Your Blog?

Time for another Reader Poll – Have You Used Video on Your Blog?

With services like YouTube (and many others) that make it easy to share videos on your blog I’m keen to hear how many bloggers have used video as a way of engaging readers.

This poll simply asks if you’ve used video and if so – have you made it yourself and/or used other peoples?

Have You Used Video on Your Blog?
View Results

I’m looking forward to seeing the results and I am interested to hear from you as to what impact you feel video has had upon your blogging and readers levels of engagement?