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The 7 Harsh Realities of Blogging for Bucks

At this year’s Blog World Expo, Darren joined with Brian and Sonia from Copyblogger for the keynote presentation, entitled The 7 Harsh Realities of Blogging for Bucks.

As Sonia explained, these seven “crying babies” of blog monetization are worth noting and understanding. But as the keynote speakers address each of these, they discuss the blogger’s alternative options: what you can do instead of making these mistakes. They also discuss the many great things about blogging.

The keynote presentation begins in the 33rd minute of this video. Let us know your reactions and thoughts below!

The Blog World Paradox: a Blog Action Day Case Study

Today, Darren and thousands of other bloggers are congregating in Las Vegas for Blog World. It’s fitting that Blog Action Day should coincide with the world’s largest blogging conference. Particularly this Blog Action Day, which focuses on water.

When we think about water issues, we don’t need to close our eyes and conjure up the African desert or the Australian outback: we need only think as far as Blog World, Las Vegas.

"Watershow", Las Vegas, by pgl

Las Vegas is a modern, developed city that’s built in a desert. As you might expect, it’s facing serious water problems. Like many communities around the world, Nevada’s currently experiencing a drought, and Las Vegas is struggling to source water from elsewhere in the state to meet the needs of both its rising permanent population and its booming tourism industry.

A tourism industry supported, in large part, by the thousands of conferences held in the city each year. Including Blog World.

Of course, we need a place to hold conferences, and Vegas is built for such events. But it is paradoxical that, while I’m blogging about water issues for Blog Action Day, thousands of bloggers are further stressing a perilously dry city’s water supply in the name of blogging.

It does remind us—whether we’re in Vegas enjoying Blog World or following it from afar—that we all have some responsibility for water availability and quality, and we need to accept that responsibility. These are global issues. They’re not restricted by national borders, coastlines, professions, or socio-economic boundaries.

The impacts of water-preservation efforts are also global. Whatever you can do to preserve water, and preserve water quality, will make a difference far beyond your own backyard. Whatever you can do to raise awareness will also have a valuable impact. Among developed nations, there’s a startling ignorance of water-related issues.

"Las Vegas" by chuckb

When I began researching this post, my search for vegas, nevada + water turned up more results for gross water consumers like water parks, water gardens, and water features than it did water authorities or articles on water issues. Nothing in that first page of results suggested there was any problem with water in Las Vegas—quite the contrary. Without information on the realities of water issues, communities have trouble recognizing the problem, let alone taking action on it.

It’s not just Vegas: there are water scarcity and quality issues in your town, your state, and your country. Perhaps today’s the day to think about what you can do to take action on those issues in your own way. As a blogger in a rural area that’s just experienced a debilitating, decade-long drought, I’m curious: what water issues are you and your local communities currently facing?

The 7 Deadly Fears of Blogging and How to Overcome Them

This guest post is by Nathan Hangen of Build Your Digital Empire.

I remember back to early 2008, when I’d just started blogging, that even though I had great ambitions, my knowledge, expertise, and confidence as a blogger was sorely lacking. I stumbled through my blogging career for over a year before I felt I had a really good grip on things, and even then, there were many things I struggled with.

But more than anything, through all of the struggles I faced, there was one enemy that kept popping up time and time again, each time in a different form than the last. This enemy was fierce, determined, and relentless, and eventually I had no choice but to either confront it, or forever commit to a life of running.

Finally, in a Bruce Wayne moment of clarity, I decided to turn-around, face this enemy, and obliterate him. His name was fear, and there are seven ways that he tried to take me out. Here are the tactics I used to fight back.

1. Manic idea generation

I never thought that having too many ideas would be a bad thing, but what’s worse, I never suspected that the culprit would actually be fear itself.

In the early days, I found that just when I’d get close to completion on an idea, I’d suddenly be overwhelmed with dozens of new ideas. As a result, I’d move from idea to idea, never finishing a single one. In the end, I realized that my own fear of going all in on a single idea was keeping me from being successful as a blogger.

Tactic 1: Stop running from idea to idea and ship the ones you’re already committed to.

2. Holding back

Once I’d committed to a single idea, I often found myself running out of things to write about. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any ideas, but that I was too scared to actually talk about them.

“What if people make fun of me?”
“What if people think I’m an idiot?”
“What if I don’t really know what I’m talking about?”

This kind of self-talk is a blog killer, and it’s a great way to take yourself out of the fight before you get a chance to grow. Successful bloggers don’t run from their best ideas, they give them to the world.

Tactic 2: Don’t be afraid to be you. Turn your little flame into a wildfire. Some of the best bloggers I know are more personal and open than even I’m comfortable with, and guess what…their audience loves them for it.

3. Low confidence

My wife often asks me this very question: “Who cares what you think?”

And for a while, it hurt like a dagger, not because it was a silly question, but because it’s one that I was asking myself every single day.

“Who really cares what I think?”
“Why do my ideas matter?”

This is a confidence issue, and it’s where fear likes to play serious mind games. First of all, it doesn’t matter if anyone cares what you think. The only person you need to serve is yourself. Furthermore, there are people just like you everywhere, and you’d be surprised how many come out of hiding when they see a true leader emerge.

You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be a great leader to the people that resonate with and connect with your ideas and philosophies. However, they can’t do that if you don’t share them.

Tactic 3: Seth Godin wrote about it in Tribes, and the truth is that yes—we need you to lead us. People do care what you think, in fact, much more than you can imagine. You owe it to them to share it; don’t be selfish.

4. Little guy syndrome

I see this one all the time. Bloggers still call themselves hobby bloggers even though they don’t want to be. They call themselves B-List or C-List even when they’re capable of more.

Fear likes to tell you that you’re not good enough to be great, and that you’re always bound to the role of a follower, or a 2nd rate talent. It’s not true, but it’s easy to fall prey to that kind of talk.

There aren’t any rules that say you have to be just an average blogger. In fact, the road is wide open for anyone willing to walk it.

Tactic 4: Stop cutting yourself down and give yourself permission to be great. No one is going to ask you to be great, but they’ll step in line the minute you prove that you are. Claim your authority; don’t wait for it.

5. Irrational fear of guest posts

I remember shivering at the thought of asking a fellow blogger for a guest posting opportunity. Her name was Caroline Middlebrook, and though we’d talked a bit via email, I was nervous as hell asking for her permission. Finally one day I just did it, and guess what? Success! Unfortunately, I see many bloggers fear that step, and as a result, they toil in isolation for years.

I joked with Kelly Diels about this once—that asking a blogger for a guest post opportunity is like asking a friend to go on a date with you. You might have a great relationship on Twitter or in the comment section, but you don’t want to ruin it for the sake of a guest post … so you wait.

Tactic 5: The word no is nothing to be afraid of, and instead of fearing it, you should get used to hearing it. Don’t view no as a crippling blow, but as a way to get one step closer to a yes. If the simple act of making a request is enough to ruin a relationship, then it wasn’t worth much in the first place.

6. Resistance to product creation

People aren’t just going to show up on your blog and offer to send you free cash via email; you need to be able to offer them something.

You’ve been told time and time again that you need to develop your own online store, which means you start planning a series of products, courses, webinars, and anything else you can think of. But that’s where you stop.
For some reason, there’s always something that gets in the way of your product actually getting finished.

  • Blog posts
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Emergency this and crazy that.

You know it’s true, but you do it anyway.

Look, I know it’s not easy to sit down and create a product, and the minute you try to do so, you get distracted. It’s easy to do, but you have to fight it.

Tactic 6: Don’t let the resistance win. Rather than focusing on the fear of losing time to do something else, or your inability to create a perfect product, focus on the positive … focus on shipping. Product creation, like blogging, takes time to perfect, but you’ll never get there if you don’t start.

7. Fear of asking for money

This is a big one, and sadly, it’s probably the most prevalent fear in the blogosphere. How can you ask for money when you love what you do? How can you ask a friend or a peer to buy something, especially when you like seeing them comment and retweet your blog posts?

Well here’s the deal, if you aren’t asking for the sale, then you’ll never get one. Case closed.

You can try to avoid “scammy” sales pages, big launches, or affiliates, but unless you’ve got an army of people waiting for you to sell them something, a weak close is never going to work. If you want to make a living doing this, then you have to fight for it; you cannot be afraid of the close.

Tactic 7: Get comfortable asking for the sale. Find every opportunity you can to practice this, and keep going until the fear goes away. Eventually, it will become second nature, I promise you.

Commit, practice, and practice some more

I think the biggest fear that bloggers face is that all of this hard work they’re doing is never going to pay off. I know how it feels.

You don’t want to waste time on something that won’t work. You want to “Crush It,” and you want to make a difference. You don’t want to lose, or to look like a fool.

The best advice that I can give you is this:

No one knows if what you’re doing is going to pay off. However, I can say without reserve that as long as you want to succeed, with every fiber of your soul, and you are willing to do what it takes to do it (this could mean shifting gears or changing your business), then the fear monster will not have anything close to a fighting chance against you.

Turn around, look fear into its eyes, and deal it a finishing blow, Mortal Kombat style.

Nathan Hangen is an entrepreneur and author that writes about building a digital empire. If you’re tired of letting fear get in the way of your success, click here to get a free sneak preview of Fear to Fuel, a revolutionary course for creative entrepreneurs.

The Unmissable Secret of Long Term Blogging Success.

In The Myth Of Great Content Marketing Itself, Darren said that:

The reality is that many blogs produce quality content that doesn’t get read. The reason isn’t that the blog’s not worth reading – but in many cases it’s because nobody knows to go read it.

Later, he said:

Letting your content market itself DOES work IF you already have an audience to help with that process by spreading word of it through word of mouth. YOU need to be the one who starts the process.

It’s time to hustle and get word out about your content.

I agree. Most of the apparent success you see on a blog is based on what happens outside of content creation. The main secret to kicking arse online is knowing the right people.

Yes, I’m talking about the networking.

How Networking Leads To Blog Success

You're it! - TaggedImage by Sudhamshu

Do you ever see posts with high profile commenters and tonnes of retweets that seems to echo around the blogosphere? All that happened off the blog. The connections were made months before a favour was asked. The person had provided enough value for the person to not even considering saying no to a request for help.

I recently wrote a post taking readers step by step through my networking methods. This guest post will take you through specific observations that helped me garner the attention of the big guns – and keep it.

Be A Filter. Be Seen.

I owe the discovery of this concept to Dave Navarro at The Launch Coach

“the busier and more successful someone is, the more they rely on people they trust to filter decisions for them.  They don’t have the time to take in an process all the pros and cons of some new unknown quantity, so they simply look to their “influencers” - the people who already have established trust with them – for recommendations. “

Positioning yourself as a filter is a great way to get on the radars of awesome people.

I became a filter by accident and it’s a role that I’ve embraced. I’m known as the person that hooks people up. I did one consulting call and was interviewed for two paid programs in the past week. In all three cases, I asked the person is there was anyone I could connect them too.

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In many cases, it means getting them featured on a certain blog. They get publicity. The blogger gets quality content. I get the happiness from making awesomeness happen.

The key to being a indispensible filter is being so darn useful that the A-listers clamor to get to know you. However, before you can get to know them they have to know who you are.

So – how do you get to know them?

Meet them on their turf and go where they are most comfortable. This is where they will me most receptive to your attempts at connection.

For many people, this is Twitter. For others, it may be a uStream or an interview. Be where they are, and without being spammy show how intelligent and helpful you are. In some cases, they’ll get to know you and ask to take the conversation elsewhere.

Taking the conversation off that platform

On the platform, readingImage by Moriza

Take the conversation to phone

It’s weird, but hearing someone’s voice encourages them to be more emotionally involved. They are more likely to remember you and be willing to help you out down the track.

I know this because I’ve Skyped a lot of my blogging friends. It’s hard, especially when you are introverted. It has lots of awesome networking opportunities. You can pick up little pieces of information to leverage later, such as birthdays and children. You can also bond over accents or similar work.

For most people, this means talking to them on Skype. You can also talk to them via conference call products or by a regular phone.

Take it to email

I try and funnel most conversations to email. This makes it a lot easier to form a connection and figure out how you can help each other. I have one email for most people and a separate email for those I have a preexisting relationship with. This means that I can give a priority to those I am willing to help out.

This may not be practical for some of the bigger names. They generally get so many emails that yours will get lost. In these cases, it’s worth getting to know the person that filters their email if you definitely need their attention.

Meeting in real life

In most cases, this is unlikely to happen. That’s just the way the internet works. There is often too much hassle involved in meeting up unless you live physically close to them. I have three main ways I meet people:

  • If a social media friend will be in the same city as you, casually offer to meetup. I got to meet Yaro Starak and Melinda Brennan this way.
  • I also to conferences that my friends will be attending. This means we get to hang out during the sessions and can make additional connections with some of their friends.
  • My other method is tweetups. I limit the ones I attend because they can be tiring but they are an awesome place to develop new friendship circles.

How to be incredibly useful.

Strawberry Frozen YogurtImage by thebittenword.com

Know what they need before they know they need it

Imagine. You are craving an ice cream. You don’t have the time to go and buy the ice cream but then someone offers one because they instinctively know that it could help you right then. Now, imagine that you could help people find solutions that could save or earn them thousands of dollars. They’d be pretty darn grateful, right?

That’s what I do and it’s how you can get a lot of the big guns to view you as a peer in a short period of time.

To succeed at this you have to be good at reading between the lines. You have to:

  • Be able to see when they are hinting towards needing help such as them tweeting about feeling sick.
  • Know what type of person/product they like being referred to.
  • Know about the various solutions that they haven’t heard of. This can require a lot of research.

It’s hard work but you eventually develop processes so it requires very little time. One you reach a tipping point most of the people come to you on a referral basis.

Connect them to people that profoundly change things for them

I know I changed Dave Navarro’s career when I reviewed How To Launch The **** Out Of Your Ebook on this blog. That connection has led to so many opportunities and experiences for me.

When you do something amazing, the person will be grateful for a long, long time. People still thank me for mentioning the in the 30 Bloggers To Watch post. And, when I recently needed help, they all rallied around to support me because I’d done so much for them previously.

You don’t have to help in a huge way. Sometimes, it can be a small favour that spurs a person on. Ideas include:

  • Get a review copy of an information product on their behalf
  • Review their product on a popular blog
  • Highlight them in front of an influencer
  • Connect them with people with complementary skills

Givers get. Simple.

I help you build your influence at jadecraven.com. If you want to know whats hot in the blogosphere before it goes mainstream, check out my How to Network Fast Course. People come to me whenever they want their stuff to be shared and I only share the best with my readers.

10 Things I’ve Learned From Posting on Problogger

a guest post by Larry Brooks of Storyfix.com

10.      This is a huge community.  As in, ginormous.  Literally four corners of the world, anyplace with digital cable and a Fed Ex partner. 

Which means my frequently sarcastic American humor doesn’t always play places like Klagenfurt and rural Kirgizstan.

9.        Online sarcasm is itself risky business.  One writer’s sarcasm is another’s snarky… a word which probably doesn’t play in Kirgizstan, either. 

8.        Never write a post about the need to double and triple check for typos that has a typo in it. 

One word: crucified.  Still smarting from that one.

7.        “Know Thy Audience” isn’t a cliché.  It’s the natural law – the physics – of marketing.

I’m a blogger who posts about fiction writing and sells a few writing ebooks while I’m at it.  The majority of readers here are online entrepreneurs who’d rather hear about blog-related marketing than how to write the next Salzburg Times bestseller. 

Many of whom, by the way, have a story in them.

6.       Darren Rowse really is the nicest guy on the internet.  A total pro, too.   I’ve tested this theory with a wide breadth of technical cluelessless and naiveté, and you can add patience to those first two.

He doesn’t just let anybody onto this site, which means you not only earn your admission ticket (lest you wonder, I was invited to post here twice a month), you earn your keep, too.  And it’s all fair. 

5.        The company you keep defines you.  Choose wisely. 

In this case, being on Problogger has upped my online exposure and, merely by association, my chops in the online world.  My brand.  Which means, the pressure is on.

This, too, is natural law in the online world.

Because the same crowd that throws in on that count can slap you back to reality with one missed swing.  (That being three metaphors in one sentence… don’t try this at home.)

4.        It’s okay to get personal.  And I’m not talking about dating or social media sites (getting too personal on those venues can also get you arrested). 

A blog is usually an ancillary tool in an otherwise pointed branding and marketing strategy, which means it doesn’t need to exclusively spew bits and bytes (digi-speak for features and benefits) or self-serving bluster that doesn’t smack of commonality. 

People are attracted to commiseration, empathy and the voyeuristic joy that comes from reading about the sheer misery of others in like-minded situations.

3.        There’s one in every crowd.   Try not to be that guy.

You could blog about the reliability of death, taxes and gravity and somebody will post a comment endeavoring to make you wrong (one self-proclaimed “blogging superstar” tried to refute my theories about writing and publishing contemporary fiction by quoting Cervantes, who published his last book in the year 1615 … but that’s another site). 

That which doesn’t kill us either makes us stronger or simply pisses us off. 

2.        You, the blogger and the commenter, put the UNITY into community.   That’s why this venue is unique in all of the history of human communications.

And the most valuable thing I’ve learned here on Problogger is…

1.        I have a lot to learn.  That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it? 

One of the best ways to learn – albeit with a resource like Problogger on your daily to-do list – is to just keep writing.  On your own site, and on others if they’ll have you.

And if that’s not common ground, perhaps we’re all in the wrong place.

Larry Brooks is the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who proof them.

Using the Blogosphere’s Trends for Your Niche

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

Hello, fellow bloggers! Hope you’re having a fabulous week. Since I started this weekly column on April 7, we’ve discussed strong headlines and opening lines, use of video and images, list posts, effective quotes, and more—all through the lens of the week’s most-blogged-about topics. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we’ve had together in the comments and the knowledge you’ve all shared with each other and with me.

In the spirit of those open conversations, I wanted to answer the most common question I’ve received: How can I use these general trends if I don’t blog about current affairs? Well, you can find trends on your specific niche on Regator, but the true answer is that no matter what your niche, there is often a way—with enough creativity and research into the details of the story—to make it work for your readers. And tying posts to the week’s hottest topics can be a great way to get new readers and attract attention. This week, along with trends from Regator, we’ll take a look at how these topics were covered by bloggers in unexpected niches…

  1. Gulf of Mexico – You’d expect the disaster in the Gulf to be covered by blogs on environmentalism, marine biology, perhaps even business and politics, but PopEater managed to find a way to bring this ecological story into the realm of pop culture in “An Interview With the Guy Skewering BP on Twitter.”
  2. World Cup ­– The Next Web’s “World Cup fever? Here are 5 apps to keep you on top of things” took what would traditionally be a sports story and moved it into the technology space by focusing on related apps rather than the event itself.
  3. Steve Jobs – Jobs’s highly anticipated World Wide Developers Conference talk unveiled the iPhone 4 and was covered widely by technology blogs but Star Trek blog TrekMovie.com was able to make the event relevant to their readers by focusing on the Star Trek references in the talk and technology from the show and movie in “Steve Jobs Invokes Star Trek (Again) While Unveiling 4th Gen iPhone.”
  4. Helen Thomas – While political bloggers obsessed over Thomas’s offensive comments, women’s blog Jezebel covered the story by discussing what Thomas’s undignified fall meant for a woman who had been an icon and inspiration to women everywhere in its post “Helen Thomas: When An Icon Disappoints [Iconography].”
  5. MTV Movie Awards – Rather than approaching this star-studded event from the usual entertainment blogger’s perspective, gay blog AutoStraddle’s “MTV Movie Awards 2010 Celebrate Lesbian Innuendo, Swearing, Twilight” made the awards more relevant to their readers by honing in on the “10 most homosexual moments of the MTV Movie Awards 2010.”
  6. Rue McClanahan – While many television and entertainment bloggers focused on McClanahan’s television and theater legacy, Ecorazzi’s “RIP: Actress And Longtime Animal-Advocate Rue McClanahan Dies At 76” brought the story to their ecologically conscious demographic by focusing on the actor’s animal rights work.
  7. Lady Gaga – On a week when Lady Gaga’s latest music video was on everyone’s lips, Social Psychology Eye’s post “Facing illness, belief helps” skillfully worked the pop icon into the blog by discussing the psychological implications of Gaga’s recent revelation that she had been tested for lupus, undoubtedly earning them quite a few more readers than they would’ve gotten on a straightforward academic post on illness perception.
  8. Rush Limbaugh – Rather than obsessing about the details of Limbaugh’s wedding, as many entertainment bloggers did, The Daily Beast’s “Celebrity Wedding Singers” took Elton John’s unexpected role as Limbaugh’s wedding singer and created a list post that broadened the appeal of the story.
  9. Israel – Music bloggers aren’t the most expected source of news from Israel, but several, including Drowned in Sound with its post “Bands cancel shows following Israel’s flotilla raid” covered what is essentially a political and international affairs story in a way that created value for their music-obsessed readers.
  10. Harry Potter – While film bloggers were busy dissecting the latest Harry Potter trailer, travel blog Gadling put its own spin on the popular character with “London mayor rails against Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Florida location.”

One thing all of these posts have in common is that the bloggers took the time to learn enough details about these stories to find a way to make them work for their blogs’ niches. Have you managed to work a popular story into your blog’s niche by using a creative angle? Tell us about it in the comments!

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.

How To Turn Your Blog Into A Profitable Business

Recently I went to the Connect Now conference and had the chance to hug Darren Rowse, meet Gary Vaynerchuk and hang out with my social media friends. One year ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to accomplish something so awesome.

blogbizfunnel_cover_thumb.jpgSkellie was one of the people that made this possible. She wrote this killer book, The Blog Business Funnel (aff), which presented a new model of making an income from your blog.

The Blog Business Funnel

Skellie argues that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to monetize a blog via traditional methods such as direct advertising, affiliate sales and adsense. She highlights a system which shows bloggers how they can make plenty of money doing what they’re best at.

She recommends “using word-of-mouth worthy content to generate targeted traffic, then using your knowledge and insight to generate trust.”

How it helped me.

I’ve struggled with the idea of launching a business from my blog for years. I’ve had lots of issues and was flailing around, trying to find a model that aligned with my business goals and my promotional ethic.

I had read a lot of business products about how to build a profitable business but they were separated into different niches: sales, blogging and freelancing. I was getting the information I needed but I had no way to fit it all together.

Skellie took us through key launch strategies and details how we could apply them to our own business. I’m heavily into product launches yet it never occurred to me that it could apply for services. We are in the prelaunch stages and already have huge demand. We have several larger companies willing to send smaller jobs our way as well.

I knew that my business would be successful because I had an established blog and had worked hard to create trust with my audience. What I didn’t expect was for it to be doing this well less than a month after the launch.

Why it’s so awesome.

It fits into the third tribe marketing model.

I’ve struggled with the concept of promoting myself. It’s hard. I wanted to get the word out there but didn’t want to seem sleazy or that I was trying to take advantage of my friends.

I was able to learn how to sell myself and my business by just doing what I was already doing. Hanging out online, being darn useful and creating high quality content. She taught me how I could leverage that interest in a way that benefited everyone.

Skellie has extensive practical experience

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Skellie in Melbourne. She is the real deal. This is the model she used to rock it online and leverage that success to get employed by Envato. I watched her grow from a compelling blogger to someone that commanded respect in the industry. Everything she writes is from personal experience – experience that most bloggers don’t have.

This isn’t for everyone.

Now, I love Skellie. She is one of the few bloggers I get totally fan girl over. I was worried that this would affect my objectivity so asked a friend for his opinion.

Frank Wall is a hiking blogger. His site is primarily monetized via advertising and ebook sales. He didn’t get as much out of the ebook as I did. He was intrigued by the idea and really enjoyed Skellies writing but it didn’t fit with his method of monetization.

I agree. Skellies book was perfect for me because I know I wanted to create a freelance business based off the success of my blog but had no idea how to accomplish this. I spend six months kicking arse with my guest pots and let my blog stagnate because I didn’t know how to handle the demand for my services.

Why I love Skellie

There is one blogger that I credit for igniting my passion in this industry. She showed me that you could write beautifully, no matter the topic. She revolutionized the industry for me and I’ve used her as inspiration. This blogger is Skellie.

I review a lot of products. This is the best value ebook I’ve seen in a year. Learn more about it here (aff).

Jade’s Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this product in exchange for my feedback, and get no affiliate commission.

How Many Times Do You Tweet Links to New Blog Posts? [POLL]

I asked this question over on Twitter on the weekend and it was fascinating to hear the answers and see some of the thinking behind what different people do.

I thought I’d run it as a poll and open it up for some wider discussion here on the blog.

n
How Many Times Do You Tweet Links to New Blog Posts?
View Results


I’d love to get your comments on this topic. Why do you do the number of tweets that you do? Why don’t you do more/less? Do you use any tolls/automation to manage it – if so which ones?

Here’s some of the responses to my tweet asking the question:

“I only tweet a link to it once. I’ll tweet a second time if theres something interesting in the comment section.” – JadeCraven

“One. Sometimes two. Three if it really rocks. But I post daily and don’t want my Twitter to be an endless ME ME ME feed.” – CatherineCaine

“I tweet my new blog posts only once…to me, more is spammy, even tho I know not everyone will see it the 1st time…” – QuipsAndTips

“I always tweet a link straight after I post.Then maybe the next day depending on the post time, for those who may have missed it” – CptTremendous

“I space it out over days/times. Maybe btw 5-8 over a weeks time.” – MyMelange

“I usually retweet about three times, one in a.m., one in afternoon, one at night. Covers time zones.” – docudramaqueen

“Depends on importance and global relevance. If really important to me & relevant also to US audience, I may tweet twice in Aus..” – divinewrite

“Once. More than once is spam and makes followers unfollow and complain.” – Shuttlecock

See a full list of the responses to my original tweet here.

Rock Hard Thighs and Cold Hard Cash: Robb Sutton Spills His Tawdry Review Site Secrets

guest post by Kelly Diels

When I was wondering how to create an effective, money-making review site, I thought of Robb Sutton.

Robb Sutton’s review site, Mountain Biking by 198 “pulls in thousands in review product every month” and in the last 15 months has received over $100,000 dollars worth of review product. He’s also got several other sites, including a coffee review blog, and oh yes, makes a pretty decent living as a ProBlogger.

That is, when he’s not hanging out with the likes of me and telling me all his secrets.

Kelly Diels: Robb, tell me all the dirty details about review sites.

[looooooooooooong pause. Isn't it a little early in the conversation to have offended him?]

Kelly Diels: Robb?

Robb Sutton: I’m here. Sorry…was just closing up a few things. Now you have my 100% attention.

Kelly Diels: You know a girl likes that.

Robb Sutton: Yes, they do!

Kelly Diels: I mean, so I’ve heard. Tell me, dahlink, how you got started with review sites.

Robb Sutton: Well, it all started with an idea that had nothing to do with reviewing product, ironically.

Kelly Diels: Go on…

Robb Sutton: I had this idea that I was going to have a trail review site for mountain biking that was all user submitted content. About 5 minutes into the process, I realized that you can’t have user submitted content without traffic. So I started a blog where I reviewed parts, bikes and other related products and that took over what was the user submitted part. Basically, I used it as a traffic generator that became the model for Bike198.com.

Kelly Diels: So you’re inadvertently brilliant?

Robb Sutton: I fell into it…I like to think of it as a progression. I had some experience being on the other side of the fence in the corporate world, so I knew how to quickly adapt that to blogs.

Kelly Diels: How did you get your pretty mitts on things to review?

Robb Sutton: Well, back when the industry had no clue who I was, I relied on current contacts and cold contacting through emails and phone calls. Now it is a combination of them finding me and me finding them.

Kelly Diels: Do you work with PR companies, or companies directly?

Robb Sutton: I work with PR companies, directly with manufacturers, distributers and some retailers.

Kelly Diels: And for those of us who just got really scared, what does that process look like?

Robb Sutton: Typically, I send out an email explaining who the site is, what we do and what the process is. I then include examples with some simple search engine and site stats. If it is a smaller company, you pretty much get to the right person right away. A lot of times through that email and you are off and rolling. For larger companies and some smaller ones, a follow up call is required to get in touch with the right person. Phone calls always convert better than emails, but I always start with emails so they know who you are when they pick up the phone.

Kelly Diels: Gawd, it is almost like online dating.

Robb Sutton: Yeah, a little bit!

Kelly Diels: What sorts of strings get attached to the product and reviews?

Robb Sutton: No strings really. Sometimes you have to return the product if it is super expensive. But sometimes you don’t even have to do that. Most companies know what blogging and review blogging entails these days.

Kelly Diels: Which brings us to Disclosure, baby. Tell me how you handle Big Brother, the FTC.

Robb Sutton: I have a blanket disclosure on all of my sites that is linked up in the footer that explains links, products, etc. I am very up front with my readers on the process so there is nothing that is hidden that could be considered bad by the public or FTC. Everything is up front and honest.

Kelly Diels: And if you’re just not into her the product? What do you do?

Robb Sutton: I write the truth! Bottom line is that you are writing for your readers and not the companies. If you are just going to write glorified advertisements then no one is going to take you seriously. Back everything up with facts and everything turns out ok.

Kelly Diels: Sing it, sister.

Robb Sutton: Even companies I have given poor reviews to in the past still send me stuff. They want to reach the audience and you want to deliver the goods. Its a win/win.

Kelly Diels: All press is good press…

Robb Sutton: Actually…that is very true.

Kelly Diels: Seriously. The first time someone trashed me online (Allyn Hane, lover, I’m a-talking to you) I was delighted. But I digress. What kind of traffic are companies and agencies looking for?

Robb Sutton: They are looking for targeted traffic.

Kelly Diels: What does targeted traffic mean?

Robb Sutton: The specific number isn’t really important. 100 targeted eyes are better than 10,000 that aren’t targeted.

Kelly Diels: How do you demonstrate “targeted eyes”? I feel like we just took a sharp right turn into a gun range.

Robb Sutton: Targeted traffic is basically qualified leads. When someone subscribes to your blog, they are targeted because they want to digest that subject matter. And don’t shoot!

Kelly Diels: I can’t. I don’t even know the process for getting a gun permit in Canada but I know it takes forever. Also I’m a lover, not a shooter…Tell me about a review or a product that got you all hot ‘n bothered.

Robb Sutton: Hmmm…

Kelly Diels: I went to a sex toy party on Friday night and, given the subject of my blog, I’m pretty sure that I can review those products and claim them as a tax deduction. But again, I digress.

Robb Sutton: [laughs, possibly uncomfortably] Yes, you probably could…An example of an interesting product/review was when I got in a fork from a manufacturer because of comments I made about how I didn’t like the direction they were heading.

Kelly Diels: Umm… “got in a fork”? Dude. translation, please. I mean, it sounds naughty but even I’m drawing a blank.

Robb Sutton: Suspension fork. It is the thing on the front of the bike that is the suspension.

Kelly Diels: Oh it is a thing. Not a position. That clears everything up. So why was this fork so fabulous?

Robb Sutton: Because it was sent to me after I made the comments. I backed everything up with facts on why I didn’t agree. And they said…ok…try it out for yourself. I thought that was pretty cool.

Kelly Diels: That’s pretty smart marketing, actually. And..? How was the fork?

Robb Sutton: Great product. Still don’t agree with that one aspect.

Kelly Diels: I had no idea forks were so controversial.

Robb Sutton: They are a reputable company that produces a great product but I just didn’t agree with the “new standard” they were introducing.

Kelly Diels: Ok, Mr. Fancy Britches. I get it. YOU HAVE OPINIONS – which, I’m thinking, is probably why your review site works.

Robb Sutton: Doesn’t everyone?!

Kelly Diels: Yes, darling. That was a compliment in disguise. I think that is what reviews are about – good, solid, well-reasoned opinions…So. You get loads of free products, but how do you make money? You can’t eat forks.

Robb Sutton: Affiliate revenue, direct advertising, e-book sales like my Ramped Reviews (aff), pay-per-click…I like to diversify.

Kelly Diels: And what about all the companies kissing your…site? Do they ever buy advertising?

Robb Sutton: They do, and it is a lot easier to sell advertising space to people you already have a working relationship with.

Kelly Diels: And what does that do to the separation of church and state, editorial vs revenue? Do you feel awkward about reviewing your clients?

Robb Sutton: Not at all. Everything is explained up front. No surprises. Keep in mind that nothing is written that is pure emotion or inflammatory. It is all fact-based opinion.

Kelly Diels: That’s right. We all have niches. MINE is pure emotion and inflammatory prose. So stay outta that one, my love…Ok. Going general: do you think review sites of higher ticket items – like bikes, cameras etc – work better than other kinds of review sites, like say restaurants or experiences?

Robb Sutton: I think it is about equal. I also run a coffee review site (coffeeobsessed.net) that does really well and it is very young. I think the possibilities are wide open.

Kelly Diels: Now you’re speaking my language. The language of love/caffeine.

Robb Sutton: Yeah, I’ll leave that one to you! I’m obsessed…I’ll admit it.

Kelly Diels: With coffee? Or mountain bikes?

Robb Sutton: Nothing better than a great cup of coffee, but both. And blogging, of course.

KellyDiels: I ask because I like coffee and mountain bikers. I may have mentioned this before: THIGHS OF GRANITE.

Robb Sutton: Very true! And a strong grip.

Kelly Diels: If you do say so yourself. With whom can I verify this? I have to fact-check, you know.

Robb Sutton: Any cyclist…but especially mountain bikers because we have to ride technical terrain.

Kelly Diels: Well, there you have it. The secrets of review sites, hot coffee, and rock hard…thighs.

Kelly Diels writes for ProBlogger every week. She’s also a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.