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7 Links for Bloggers

Yesterday I challenged readers to write a post that took a 7 link challenge – linking to 7 posts that fit into 7 themes. I thought I’d take it for myself here on ProBlogger.

  1. Your first post – the first post I ever wrote on ProBlogger (I’d been posting on other blogs for a couple of years before this) was in September 2004. It was titled – Get to the Point. It was actually a post that I’d written on another blog which I imported onto this one. On the day I published it I imported 40 or so previously written posts into ProBlogger.
  2. A post you enjoyed writing the most5 Things You Don’t Know about My Dad the ProBlogger. This post was a departure from my normal writing style and as a result I had a lot of fun both writing it and reading the feedback on it.
  3. A post which had a great discussionDoes a Bloggers Age Matter? This was a tough one to choose because there have been a lot of great discussions on ProBlogger in the last 5-6 years. I’ve chosen this one because the discussion is not only rich but it is fresh and has only just slowed.
  4. A post  on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written – I’m going to share a link here that is one that I refer to constantly in my blogging. It’s Copyblogger’s Magnetic Headlines series of posts. Most specifically I always head to the headline template posts – they’re useful and I wish I had the smarts to come up with them as I’m sure many people keep coming back to them like I do.
  5. A post with a title that you are proud of9 things to do to Make Sure Your Next Blog Post is Read by More than Your Mom. It’s a mouthful but it certainly grabbed people’s attention and was something that people retweeted a lot (I find good titles often get that happening).
  6. A post that you wish more people had readHow to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to Pause. This was actually an 11 part series and while it did get a reasonable amount of traffic it was something that I was a surprised by in terms of lack of reaction as it was something that I put a lot of work into and something that I think is actually very important. Perhaps it was that it was spread out over too long a period for people to take in – but it’s something I’m still proud of and hope people take the time to engage with (I’m even toying with the idea of expanding it and making it into a downloadable resource).
  7. Your most visited post everHow to Blog: Blog Tips for Beginners. This post just continues to gather traffic and is a series that I wrote a few years back for beginner bloggers that just seemed to hit the spot with readers.

I hope you’ve found this useful and am looking forward to seeing your 7 links.

Take the 7 Link Challenge Today #7links

Today I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a fun challenge together that draws on a number of things that I’ve previously taught here on ProBlogger (see below for what these teachings are).

The idea is to publish a post that is a list of 7 links to posts that you and others have written that respond to the following 7 categories. Your links should be to:

  • Your first post
  • A post you enjoyed writing the most
  • A post which had a great discussion
  • A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written
  • Your most helpful post
  • A post with a title that you are proud of
  • A post that you wish more people had read

You might like to add a few explanations to different links – for example to talk a little about why you enjoyed writing a post or what you like about the post on another blog that you link to or why you regret the post you regret.

The main aim of doing this challenge is to create a list post that highlights some of the posts in your archives to new readers (a sneeze page), that links out to another blog and that hopefully is a little fun (and not too much work) to do.

If you tag your posts or are going to tweet a link to it – use #7links as a tag to help the meme continue.

I’ll post my own 7 links tomorrow here on ProBlogger – stay tuned!

PS: once you’ve written your 7 link challenge post – link to it in comments below so we can take a look!

How to Get Things Done When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by some element of your online business?

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I’ve felt that way many times, both in the early days and even now. For me it usually comes when I’m working on a new venture or expanding something that I’m already doing into something bigger. For example:

  • When I started my first blog and had no idea how to make decisions about blog platforms, didn’t know where I’d find readers, or if they’d like me when they found me, felt inadequate in making my blog look good, worried what other bloggers might think of me writing about topics that they wrote about etc.
  • When I did redesigns of my blogs (numerous occassions). Not knowing who to hire to design them, feeling confused about how to best lay them out etc.
  • When I decided to launch my first eBook – unsure if people who buy it, overwhelmed by the task of writing it, at a loss as to how to put it together technically, confused as to how to promote and deliver it.

The list could go on – you could say that I’m a repeat offender when it comes to feeling overwhelmed and panicking about projects!

Having said that – I’ve also got a history of working through the overwhelming feelings and getting stuff done (at least most of the time). I think the key is not to let the feelings overwhelm you but to work through them. Here’s how I do it:

1. Focus upon the things you can control

One of the factors that used to hold me back was that I would spend a lot of time worrying about factors that I had little or no control over rather than focusing upon the things I could control.

Of course this is not just applicable to blogging – we all can fall into the temptation about spending a lot of energy worrying about things that we have no ultimate control over. It is easy to do but the reality is that focusing upon things we can’t really control takes a lot of time and energy away from doing the things we can control.

So if I’m feeling overwhelmed by a project now I will (after a little panic) make a list of the things that are stopping me or worrying me about the project and then identify things on the list that I have some control over and those that I don’t have control over – I’ll then put aside or delete the external worries so that I can focus on things I can do!

So when it comes to starting a blog:

  • Some of the things I can control include things like coming up with topics to write about, registering a domain, researching and choosing a blog platform etc
  • Some of the things I don’t have ultimate control over are things like what other bloggers will think about me, whether people will like what I write etc

Of course I might be able to influence the outcomes of some of these external worries – but in the end they’re ultimately in the hands of others so are not my #1 priority. I generally will put them lower on my list of things to think about and get started on things I can do.

2. Break it down into bite sized tasks

The key for me to get things done and not become paralysed by overwhelming projects is to break them down into smaller tasks that I can achieve.

For example writing the ProBlogger book was a daunting thing to be asked to do by Wiley. In fact other publishers had previously asked and I’d always put it off because it was too big. But once Chris and I started breaking it down it became much more achievable. We started with an outline which in itself became a list of smaller tasks to do. I then broke each of the chapters I had to write into smaller sections and tasks until they were bite sized enough for me to feel I could achieve.

I once spoke with an Hawaii Ironman who told me that this is how he got through his events. He had three larger segments of the day (swimming, running and bike riding) and then he’d further break the day into kilometre segments. In his planning and on race day he wouldn’t think about the whole day – but he’d be constantly asking himself what he needed to achieve to complete the the next kilometre.

If it’s helpful put the tasks you identify into some kind of timeline so that you can see the order of what needs to be achieved and so that you can tick them off as you go.

3. Talk to others

A trap that I often fall into when faced with massive projects is allowing myself to wallow in my own desperation and fear of the things that I need to achieve. Perhaps it is my introverted personality – but I tend to take on the burdens that I face alone and don’t naturally share them.

However I know that when I do externalise what I’m feeling that it helps a lot. Even if I simply verbalise the feeling to my wife who has no real comprehension of what I’m doing – just the act of speaking the problems can somehow put them in perspective.

Similarly (and even better) – seeking out people who have already done what you’re trying to achieve to hear how they did it can be helpful. I remember when writing the ProBlogger book seeking out 3 other authors to get their advice on how they wrote their books. They all gave different answers but helped me to shape my own approach to it.

Also consider not only talking with others but collaborating with them. It may be that part of the problem you face is simply not having the skills to do the task at hand so partnering with someone else (or at the least outsourcing to them) might be a good solution.

4. Start

There comes a time when you just need to roll up your sleeves and start working. You can dream and worry about a project forever and never do anything – the key is to start.

Start with one of those bite sized bits that you identified earlier. Choose something you know you can achieve and that will lead you naturally to the next bite sized bit. You’ll find that once you start knocking off tasks that momentum will build and that it’ll get easier to keep things moving – the hardest part is often taking the first step.

How do you tackle overwhelming tasks?

The above is how I approach it – but I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences too. What overwhelming projects have you worked on and how did you get them done?

Announcing the ‘ProBlogger Track’ at Blog World Expo 2010

Join the top bloggers and new media experts in the world at BlogWorld Expo 2010I am very excited today to be able to announce to you that at this year’s BlogWorld and New Media Expo 2010 that Chris Garrett and I will be running a full day of training – the ProBlogger Track.

In this post I want to share a little more information about what we’ll be doing in the ProBlogger track and also mention that the Early Bird Special (almost 50% off) for signing up ends 15 July. But first, let me tell you why I love BWE!

Why I love Blog World Expo

BlogWorld Expo is an event that I’ve had the privilege of attending for the last two years and for me it is the #1 event that I try to get to in the US each year. I love it because:

  • Networking – thousands of bloggers and social media people in the one place opens up some amazing opportunities to build relationships and discover potential business partnerships.
  • Learning – some great speakers share what they know at this event. Their expertise covers a range of topics, from design, to SEO, to monetization, to content creation, to community management. There are also a lot of social media specific topics as well as sessions for different niches. Over 200 speakers present – there’s some great stuff to learn from them!
  • Not too Big but Big Enough – some other shows are so big that they become completely overwhelming. BWE is certainly big enough to attract great speakers and a large number of people to network with – but it’s not too big that you can’t find anyone. This being focused upon blogging and new media also brings it enough focus that you continually bump into people with shared interests.
  • Relaxed and Friendly – my own experience of this gathering is people are very friendly, inclusive and chilled. This is not a hyped up conference, but there is a lot of fun and plenty of opportunity to interact with others (the networking parties are great in the evenings).
  • Vegas – I’m not someone who could spend a lot of time in Vegas, but 3-4 days can be a lot of fun. This year BWE is moving from the convention center to Mandalay Bay which will mean that it is much more focused upon one area and hopefully more people will be staying close to each other. Less travel and more chance to interact.

What will the ProBlogger Track Cover?

Chris-Garrett-Darren-Rowse.jpgMost of you should know Chris Garrett – he and I co-authored the ProBlogger Book. This will only be the 4thd time we’ve met in person and the 2nd time we’ll have run this type of thing together (we’re doing one in Melbourne in a few weeks too).

Chris and I are still finalising the exact schedule for the day but here’s what we can tell you so far:

  • It will be held on Thursday 14th October. Please note this date so that you don’t just buy a pass for Friday and Saturday. There are other sessions on Thursday also which the Thursday pass will also get you access to.
  • I’ve recently surveyed a segment of ProBlogger readers on the needs and challenges that they face as bloggers. We’ll be basing the sessions we run around the main needs identifies. These are ‘finding readers’, ‘making blogs profitable’ and ‘writing killer content’.
  • We are hoping to mix things up a little in terms of how we teach these topics. We want each session to contain solid teaching (keynote style) but also time for practical case studies/interviews with people who know what they’re doing and some Q&A. So there will be a mix of keynotes, interviews and one panel on the day.
  • Chris and I won’t be doing everything alone – we’re already pulling together a few other special guest presenters to bring their own expertise.

Also at BWE this year it looks like I’ll be involved in a number of other sessions including the usual ‘Super Panel’ that looks at monetization and another that I’m not sure I can announce quite yet.

Update: The other session I’m doing is a keynote panel with Brian Clark of CopyBlogger and Sonia Simone of Remarkable Communication.

BWE Early Bird Special Ends 15th July

If you’re coming to BWE NOW is the time to get your ticket as they are currently running an Early Bird Special that ends on 15 July. The special gets you nearly 50% off so it is well worth taking advantage of! Sign up to attend BWE here.

PS: Promote BWE as an Affiliate

If you’re a blogger with an audience that might like to also attend BWE – you can also become an affiliate for BWE (like me). They pay a 10% commission on any referrals you can bring in. With an average spend of $360 this is $36 per attendee referred. Sign up as an affiliate here.

Calling all Women Bloggers and Movie Bloggers – Two New 31DBBB Groups Starting Soon!

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If you’re a blogger and looking to work with a group of other bloggers to improve your blog – then there are two new groups starting up to work through the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook together in the coming few weeks.

They are both for different types of bloggers and both were started in response to my post a couple of weeks back looking at how one blogger put on a version of 31DBBB for his niche and in doing so raised his profile and helped many bloggers come together for mutual benefit.

In that post I offered any blogger who wanted to try something similar a head start by offering their group 25% off the 31DBBB workbook.

There are a number of groups starting in the coming weeks but two that are launched and gathering steam are:

1. Women Bloggers

SITSgirls – this community of thousands of women bloggers are partnering up with BlogFrog and ProBlogger to put on this event for their network (and anyone who wants to join them). It’s kicking off on 19 July and looking at the hundreds of comments on the announcement post there is going to be a large group going through this together. Learn more and join them here.

2. Movie Bloggers

Anomalous Material is running a 31DBBB for movie bloggers. This one is a little more niche focused but also is gaining momentum with quite a few bloggers from that niche signing up. They’re kicking off on 2 August. Learn more and join them here.

Both of these groups have discount codes (25% off) for anyone who signs up to do it with them.

If you’re not a woman blogger or a movie blogger – there is talk of another couple of groups coming together in different niches but as I mentioned in my previous post – if you’re in a niche and can gather a group of 5 or more bloggers together feel free to contact me and I’ll set you up with a discount code too.

Why Bloggers Should Care About Google Suggest and Online Reputation Management

A Guest Post by Chris Birk from Write Short Live Long and GrowthPartner.com.

Blogging is neither dead nor for losers. Google Suggest would perhaps prefer to play devil’s advocate:

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The search engine’s auto-suggest feature has evolved into a key marketing and online reputation tool, providing users with suggestions shaped by both global and local search patterns.

It also has the potential to produce headaches for bloggers and business owners.

Negative, misleading and even outright defamatory Google Suggest terms have cropped up for an array of companies and individual entrepreneurs. Turns out it doesn’t take much for “scam” or “is a rip off” to get appended to your company name in the Google Suggest box. And those are two of the tamer ones — search “BP is” for a look at how British Petroleum tends to fare these days in the land of Google Suggest.

To be sure, this has remained a concern primarily for larger companies and public personas. But the increasing integration of local search combined with the sweeping reach of social media is starting to bring these troubles a bit closer to home.

Blogging isn’t “so last year,” as Google Suggest might have you believe. But not paying closer attention to ORM certainly is.

Suggest and the Scam

Google Suggest culls its results from several sources. As with most things Google, the explicit recipe is a house secret, but it’s safe to say the major factors probably include page content from other sites, search frequency and a recent stream of content emanating from blogs and news sources.

What’s scary for bloggers is the search tool’s potential to become a negative echo chamber. It’s natural, if not a bit healthy, for a handful of readers to take issue with a post or express dissatisfaction with an info product or business practice. But negative comments and keywords in online reviews and other user-generated content can coalesce, gather stream and finally snowball until it’s picked by Google Suggest. A couple readers griping about your “scam” or “rip-off”— on your site or elsewhere — can spur a feedback loop that ties unsavory characteristics to your blog and brand in the formerly clean slate that is a Google search field.

Having “Blog X scam” as a top-tier Google Suggest result for your site isn’t the most desirable first impression.

Even more maddening is that innocuous comments and the regular flow of content and reader interaction can contribute to similar problems. For example, Copyblogger is one of the best run and most respected sites on the web (full disclosure: I’ve written for them). Yet here’s a look at recent Google Suggest results for the esteemed site:

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Toward the bottom, sandwiched between “seo” and “tagline” is “scam.” Dig a bit deeper and you’ll see that most of the top-tier search results for the phrase link back to legit, contextually appropriate uses and not hot-headed screeds. Then again, perhaps you should hold off — the double-edged sword here is that searching the phrase only reinforces its validity.

In other words, investigating whether Blog X really is a scam might only serve to further popularize the phrase in Google Suggest.

For now, some of this seems simply inevitable. Bloggers aren’t likely to curtail their use of words or crack down on reader commentary for the sake of the search engines. But info products, writing services and the copywriting sphere as a whole is a competitive space, and there’s certainly potential here for others to knowingly exploit Google Suggest for their own ends.

Combating Suggest

For years, online reputation experts advised companies to start a blog as a proactive measure to disseminate good news and counteract complaints and criticism.

But what about when your business is your blog?

To an extent, the old rules still apply. Bloggers who sell info products or provide other commercial services should be quick to respond to consumer problems aired in public. The same goes for incendiary posts or comments, no matter their origin. Setting up Google Alerts for your blog name, your byline and any other business handles is a good first step.

Self-promotion is another important measure. Bloggers should embrace the power of positive press while striking a balance between arrogant and authoritative. Customer testimonials and spotlights can add a significant degree of comfort and credibility. You can even shell out some cash on Google AdWords that highlight those testimonials or your accomplishments.

Bloggers concerned about competitive wrangling can go a step further and defensively purchase domains — think BlogXreviews, BlogXsucks, BlogXcomplaints and the like. Park some, and turn others into separate entities that tout your service or showcase your responsiveness.

You can’t spend all day peppering the search engines with bloated press releases and fluffy blog posts. Nor can you require colleagues, contributors and readers to abstain from using words that might come back to haunt you.

But you sure as heck need to start doing something. Carve out a middle ground that fits and get to it — before someone else does it for you.

Chris Birk works with GrowthPartner.com, a unique firm that provides angel investment and online marketing expertise to emerging companies. A former newspaper and magazine writer, he teaches journalism and media writing at a private Midwestern university. He blogs at Write Short Live Long“>Write Short Live Long.

Blogosphere Trends + Your Blog’s Tone

This column is written by Kimberly Turner from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts). Darren

After a brutal summer flu took me down and prevented me from writing last week’s weekly trends post, I’m especially happy to be back to bring you a fresh list of the most blogged-about stories of the last seven days. This week, along with the trends provided by Regator, we’ll be discussing your blog’s tone/voice. We’re talking about something more than first person versus third person or opinion versus hard news.

Think of your favorite blog. What keeps you coming back for more? The subject matter is certainly important, but it’s likely that the blogger’s voice and tone also play an important role in your appreciation for the content. Bloggers whose personalities shine through their writing are often more appealing, engaging, readable, and influential than those who hide their true voices. Read your three most recent posts. Do they “sound” like you? As in, would people who know you well in real life recognize your voice in your posts? Don’t beat yourself up if the answer is no. Maybe purposely adopting a voice that differs from your everyday voice, or maybe you haven’t been blogging long enough to find your writing voice. Give it time and, most importantly, have faith that your personal tone and voice will come with time and practice.

When I was a writing tutor in college, one of my peers who could verbally tell the most hilarious, charming stories you’d ever want to hear told me that he “couldn’t write.” I asked him to put down his pencil and tell me the story he’d told me a few days prior. I started a recorder and let him tell it. He conveyed it in his usual witty way and, when he was through, I stopped the recorder and we transcribed it, word for word. It was utter brilliance. He just needed to stop worrying about sounding “writerly” and start letting his natural tone come through. Let’s take a look at some posts about this week’s top stories that demonstrate the author’s voice:

  1. Independence DayThe Frisky’s “6 Ways To Celebrate Being Single And Independent This Independence Day!” is an example of that blog’s positive, encouraging, reassuring tone. The post’s suggestions to raise a glass and celebrate by making a new friend or indulging in a craving are cheerful and bubbly.
  2. LeBron JamesFanhouse’s posts, such as “ESPN Defends LeBron James Special,” are professional, straightforward, and unbiased. While this tone brings less personality than some others, it’s a valid choice for those who want to stay closer to the path of traditional journalism.
  3. World Cup – Like all of Slate’s blogs, Sports Nut’s tone is conversational but also slightly high-brow. It doesn’t come close to being snooty, but the language (“idée fixe,” “guru of aesthetic purity,” “quixotic displays of good taste”) in “Why all soccer fans should root for Holland to lose to Spain” certainly caters to an educated audience.
  4. Lindsay Lohan – The tone of ParentDish’s “Opinion: What Went Wrong With Lindsay Lohan” is sympathetic, earnest, and personal—traits that work well on a parenting blog.
  5. Gulf of MexicoThe Consumerist often adopts a slightly cynical, snarky tone, but “BP Spill Now Spoiling All Gulf States As Tar Balls Hit Texas” takes it to the next level with bonus sarcasm and bitterness…but given the subject matter, they can hardly be blamed for that.
  6. The Twilight Saga – As evidenced by the not one but two exclamation points in the headline itself, the tone of “Twilighters Own The Box Office! Eclipse Takes In $261.2M Worldwide!” is the same over-excited, enthusiastic, melodramatic style for which Perez Hilton has become famous. Love him or hate him, the man has a distinct voice.
  7. Michael Steele – When it comes to being controversial, angry, opinionated, and divisive, political bloggers have every other niche beat, hands down. “Michael Ames–Lying Liberal Scumbag” from The Tygrrrr Express fits the mold, complete with “If Michael Ames thought I was fiery in Idaho, he is going to get the Bachmann Turner Overdrive treatment.” Bringing BTO into it is hardcore, am I right?
  8. Mel Gibson – Unlike the aforementioned angry political bloggers, Feministing is not always full of rage but it is always exceptionally straightforward and to-the-point, as indicated in “Mel Gibson: Bonafide Abusive A$$hole.”
  9. Emmy NominationsBuddyTV’s tone is conversational but more importantly, the voice indicates that you are reading the words of  a highly authoritative expert, as indicated in “The 10 Biggest Emmy Snubs: Where’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’?
  10. The Social Network – Like its sister sites in the Gawker blog network, Defamer’s tone is colloquial, informal, and often tinged with humor. “The Facebook Movie Teaser Trailer 2: Too Fast, Too Serious” is a perfect example of how well this tone can work.

Are you careful to keep a consistent tone on your blog? Share your thoughts in the comments. See you next week!

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator.com and Regator for iPhone as well as an award-winning print journalist. You can find her on Twitter @kimber_regator.

Blogging vs Email – Is Blogging Dead?

mailicon.pngOver the last couple of years a number of fairly prominent bloggers have decided to shut down their blogs and move their communications to subscription only email newsletters. Bloggers such as Jason Calacanis, Joel Spolsky and Sam Lessin were three (all mentioned in this post on Gigaom).

Some of these have moved to a free email subscription while others have gone to a paid model.

I’ve had a number of readers ask for my response to this and asking:

  • is blogging dead?
  • do I have to choose between email and blogging?
  • should those starting out start with a blog or email?

Side note: In some ways I think that this post is pretty funny. Only a year or two back we were debating whether RSS had killed email and now people are debating whether email has killed blogging!

Today I thought I’d jot down a few random thoughts on the topic – I hope they add something useful for those pondering the topic:

1. It’s not an either or choice

My own experience over the last few years has been that things have really taken off for me when I’ve taken a dual approach. While I initially put all my eggs in the blogging (with an RSS subscription) model – I discovered a couple of years back that when I developed a newsletter along side a blog that my business really took off.

Over at digital photography school we are approaching half a million subscribers (combined total of RSS and email) – less than a quarter of these are RSS subscribers. Adding email as an option has expanded our potential reach incredibly.

2. Blogs build profile

One of the reflections that I’d have on the above 3 people who have abandoned blogs is that they’ve each used blogging to build their profiles. They have all done other worthwhile things to build their authority, credibility and reach – but part of what has enabled them to make their email subscription model work is that they had an established audience (partly from their blogging).

To start out with just an email subscription service and make it successful is not impossible – but I suspect some other kind of web presence (whether it be blogging, life streaming, Twitter etc) will help.

I guess it comes down partly to the stage you’re at as an online entrepreneur and how established your network is. If you’re well known, have a network already in some way and have the ability to pull numbers of email subscribers then it’s probably something to consider. But if you’re starting out online – you’ll probably need some kind of site or other presence online to help get the ball rolling.

3. Homebases

One of the things that I find useful about having a blog is that it gives me a ‘home base’. I’ve written about the importance of having a place that you control and that readers can find you (a home base) before and for me a blog is the ideal way to do this.

Email has become increasingly powerful in my own business over the last few years but part of the success for me has been that I’ve had a homebase.

For me having a blog alongside email does two things.

Firstly the blog helps me to drive people to sign up for the newsletter. We try to write the most useful content that we can – content that not only helps our existing readers but also the kind of content that they share and that leads new people to us via social media, search engines and word of mouth. Any new person landing on our site almost always finds us through the blog (a few do it via the forum but the blog is #1).

As a result we’re able to grow our email newsletter subscribers by around 800 new people per day.

Secondly – the email drives people back to the blog. In some ways our emails are like a condensed version of our RSS feed. So every week our email readers are being driven back to our blog in massive numbers.

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It might seem a little silly to have a blog that drives people to email which drives people back to the blog – but without the email first time readers would arrive on our blog and never return.

Of course being able to drive people back to the blog in large numbers allows us to monetize it – through advertising, some affiliate stuff, selling our own products etc.

I guess my main concern with only going with email is where the growth will come from in new subscribers if its not out there for people to see, taste and be drawn into. Interestingly some of those who do emails then post their emails on the web in an archive – which in some ways isn’t that dissimilar to a blog.

4. It’s all about your business ‘model’

I guess ultimately it’s about the business model you’re using. I monetize in a variety of ways including advertising (ad networks and direct ad sales), affiliate marketing, selling my own products and more. Some of these could certainly be done purely through an email model but others could not.

For example running ad network ads is something you can’t do via email (at least not the major ones). I could certainly sell ads directly to advertisers, do affiliate marketing or sell my own products via email – but the markets I’m working in seem to respond best when I take a multi-pronged approach (communicating in email, on blogs and via social media).

For me targeting multiple mediums increases the reach significantly.

5. Other factors to consider

The more I think about the more I realise that there are many other factors at play in these kinds of decisions. They would include:

  • audience – who are you writing for and what mediums are they familiar with and a part of their workflow?
  • style - your own style of communication is going to definitely play a part here. The differences between email and blogging are subtle but you’ll find that your style will lend itself to different mediums. Some people just have a knack with email while others are much more engaging on a blog, in video or in short form like Twitter.
  • interaction - emails don’t have a comments section. This will be attractive to some (no more moderation) or unattractive to others. Of course people will comment (replying to emails, on social media etc) but one of the great things that happens on some blogs is the public discussion that happens after a post goes live – a communal experience that often adds a lot to a post. I guess it depends whether what you’re doing lends itself to communal interaction.

6. Will it end up looking like a blog?

I’ve had a number of conversations with people about this lately and about ideas to develop email subscription services. One conversation with someone pitching the idea of an email subscription was that he’d post his emails on a website so that new people could see what he was sending, get indexed in Google and so people could share them with friends.

When I asked whether he’d miss the comments people give he agreed and said he’d add a comments section to that website.

My reflection was simply that it was starting to look like a blog with the option to subscribe via email.

Final reflections

I’m certainly not anti the idea of email or even focusing solely upon email subscriptions instead of blogging – however I guess it comes down to what you want to achieve, who you want to speak to, what your current situation, and profile is, whether you’ve got time to do multiple mediums and what kind of medium best suits your style.

What other factors would need to be considered in making such a decision?

Melbourne Blogger Training Day – Express Your Interest in Attending Here

Yesterday on Twitter I tweeted out a question asking anyone who is interested in coming to a full day of blogger training in Melbourne to express interest in coming along. 20 people very quickly indicated their interest.

It looks likely that in the next month this will actually become a reality so I’m now looking to collect the details of anyone who is interested so that when it’s ready to launch I can immediately let you know.

Update: Chris Garrett from the UK (who co-authored ProBlogger the Book) will be co-presenting this event. It’ll be a unique opportunity have both of us in the same place at the same time.

I’m still pulling together details of dates (it will be in the short term though as Chris is flying in in just a few weeks time) what it’ll exactly cover and how much it will cost however I can say that I’m aiming for:

  • affordability (I’m aiming for us to cover costs)
  • a super useful day for bloggers who already have blogs (ie its not for those wanting to start blogs but those who are already on the way)

There is no obligation to attend if you leave your details below – it’ll just help me work out how many are interested and how to structure things. It’ll also help me to notify people as the timeframe for holding this event will be short and the seats look like being quite limited in the venue and style of event we have in mind (very secretive I know – but it should be a very fun day).

I’ll only use your details to contact you about this event or others that we might run in Melbourne and not for other purposes and your details will not be shared with anyone.

If you’re interested – please add your name and email address below and I’ll be in touch (hopefully in the next week) with an update on details.

Please note – you will receive an email shortly after subscribing which will contain a link you must click on to confirm your subscription. If you don’t get the email – please check your spam filter as they do occasionally end up there!

Update: We’ve had over 70 100 190 210 expressions of interest already from a couple of tweets.

I’m not wanting to build any hype on this but this event is more than likely to sell out as we’re looking at small venues so this could sell out simply from notifying those interested. So – if you’re interested in attending make sure your name is on the list.

Update: a few people have asked if this is limited to Aussie or if we’re open to overseas attendees. If you’re able to get to Melbourne for the date you’re welcome to attend – although we are presuming that this will mainly be an event mainly attended by Aussies. We do have a few people already signaling that they’ll fly in from Asia/Pacific areas and interstate so it certainly doesn’t look like just being a Melbourne based group of bloggers so far.