Get Your Blog World Expo Fix Here [#BWELA]

Get in on BlogWorldExpo!Over the last couple of days I’ve been in Los Angeles getting my annual fix of the wonderful Blog World Expo conference.

I wrote about why I come to BWE a few weeks ago but this year has been a great event. I’ve had a less hectic speaking session than usual which has allowed me to attend a heap of sessions. With still a full day to go I’ve already come away with pages of notes and ideas that I need to go home and put into action.

I also had a blast yesterday giving one of the track keynotes – the feedback was wonderful. I talked about blogging from the Heart…. but Smart (here’s a couple of live blogging recaps from my keynote).

There are hundreds of sessions running and over 300 speakers featured – way too much to take in in just 3 days – however I’ve secured a ‘virtual ticket’ which gives me access to all the recordings from the event.

The cool thing is that whether you’re hear in LA this week or not – you can access all the recordings too via this Virtual Ticket.

It gives you access to over 100 recorded sessions plus some extra interviews that are being recorded with speakers at the event. Each session goes from 45-60 minutes so really you’re getting enough content to be able to listen to a couple of hours worth of inspiration every week until next Blog World Expo (which is the way that I plan to listen to it all).

The Virtual ticket is currently $347 which sounds a lot – but at a bit over $3 per session it represents value (and when compared to coming along in person with travel, hotel and ticket prices its very reasonable). I’m also told that this price will increase in the coming day or two after the conference ends.

So if you’re looking for some inspiration and solid teaching to lift your blogging up a notch – check out the Blog World Expo Virtual Ticket here.

Google Analytics Real Time Stats Preview

Late last week I received an invitation to try out Google Analytics’ new Real Time Stats feature, which was announced a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure when it will be available to everyone, so thought I’d give a quick preview of it.

While it is very simple I can see this being very useful also—particularly when monitoring traffic events to which you might want to be able to react quickly.

I’m Going to Blog World Expo LA [PLUS: Who #BWELA is Good For]

In just over a month Blog World Expo will be happening in Los Angeles from 3-5 November – and I will be there – speaking at one of the Track Keynotes (topic TBA).


I didn’t think I would get there this year with a new baby in the house but the little guy is doing really well and so I’m coming.

If you’ve already booked your tickets to come I can’t wait to see you – and if you’re still not sure if BWELA is for you I’d encourage you to seriously consider it – particularly in the next couple of days because their Early Bird Discount ends on 30th September – PLUS if you use the coupon code of PROBLOGVIP you’ll get an additional 20% off (that’s around $500 off the full pass).

This is the 1 conference that I’m willing to commute for 15 hours (each way) to get to every year.

Who is #BWELA For?

Usually when I tell people I’m going to Blog World people ask me what type of blogger it is for? It’s a tricky one to answer because attendees come from around the world who blog in many many niches and who are at many levels – from beginner to advance.

So perhaps rather than trying to define a type of blogger – let me explore some of the ‘needs’ bloggers have that I think BWE helps* with.

Need Inspiration?

The thing I love about BWE is that almost every night after I get back to my hotel (and then again on the plane as I fly home) I find myself writing page after page of ideas and things that I want to try out for myself. I find it so inspiring to spend 3 days hearing the stories of other bloggers and always return home feeling very motivated to take my blogging to the next level.

Need Advice?

BWE is 3 days packed with so much teaching from amazing speakers that you just can’t take it all in. Some of the names listed on the speaker page you’ll have heard of and others you won’t know – but the variety of topics covered and the expertise of many of the speakers is sure to hit the spot for most bloggers. In addition to that – BWE is small enough that you can get to chat with speakers after their sessions – so there’s lots of opportunity to ask questions.

Need a Network?

Of course the expertise is not just up on stage – BWE is attended by several thousand bloggers who each have something important to share. The real magic of BWE often happens when you’re waiting for a session to begin and get to know the person sitting next to you. It often happens over lunch, coffee or at the parties and networking events in the evenings. It often happens in the exhibition hall or even while you’re lining up to get your badge. The opportunities for friendship, support and even collaboration are amazing – if you go with the right attitude*.

Need a Break?

Have you been working hard on your blog and are feeling a little burnt out? One of the reasons I get to BWE every year is that it actually gives me a little ‘space’ away from my normal routine and life to take a look at my business from a new perspective. It also gives me a little opportunity to relax and have some fun with others who understand what I do and who are also in need of a little unwinding. I am not really one for partying hard (I tend to be more into going out for dinner or smaller gatherings) – but the opportunity for a little fun towards the end of a big year is something I’m looking forward to.

*Will Blog World Expo Fulfil all these Needs?

BWE is a great event – you’ll get a lot out of it and come home with Inspiration, Advice and a great Network…. IF you go with the right attitude. The people who I see getting most out of Blog World Expo are those who are willing to step a little out of their comfort zone and those who are willing to not only attend and be impacted by the event – but who also go home and implement.

As with anything – BWE is not just about what you get – it’s also an opportunity to reach out to others like you to give encouragement and support. When you go with that attitude the experience comes alive all the more!

Secure Your Early Bird Discount to BWE Today

If the above fits with your needs as a blogger and you’re able to get to LA from 3-5 November I would love to meet you at Blog World Expo. Grab your ticket here today and don’t forget the PROBLOGVIP coupon code for a further 20% off.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for this event – but I’m also travelling half way around the world to attend it because I believe in what happens there.

10 Blogosphere Trends + 34 Handy Grammar Tips

Online retailer Zappos has recently seen a “substantial” increase in revenue after correcting the grammar and spelling of reviews on its site. The sentiment of the reviews was not changed, but New York University research has shown that well-written reviews—even negative ones—inspire confidence. Why does that matter? Because the same principles hold true on your blog. Good grammar can do more than just help you avoid admonishment in the comments; it can also help your blog build trust and authority.

Take our grammar quiz to see whether you’re guilty of some of the most common blogging errors. Here’s how: Take a look at the sentences below about the most blogged-about stories of July (according to Regator, those stories were: Rupert Murdoch, Debt Ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner, Harry Potter, Comic-Con, Amy Winehouse, Anders Behring Breivik, Casey Anthony, World Cup, and Space Shuttle), then determine how many grammar and spelling errors are in each. Try to find them all before you peek at the answers…

As the founder of News Corp, Amanda could care less how many pies Rupert Murdoch has thrown at him.

Problem 1: “The founder of News Corp” refers to Rupert Murdoch, but because of its location, it seems to be referring to Amanda. Tip: Put modifiers next to the noun they are modifying to avoid confusion.
Problem 2:
“Could care less” means that it would, in fact, be possible to care less and that the speaker does care to some degree. Tip: Use “could not care less” to indicate a total lack of concern.
Problem 3:
Passive voice, while not strictly incorrect, is often less direct and concise than active voice. Tip: Use active voice whenever possible. It conveys more information about who is performing the action.
Amanda could not care less how many pies protesters throw at Rupert Murdoch, the founder of News Corp.

The Republican’s believe the Democrat’s should of handled the debt ceiling crisis different then they did.

Problem 1: “Republican’s” and “Democrat’s” should not have apostrophes. Tip: Use apostrophes to create possessive forms, but never to create plurals. Check out the Apostrophe Abuse blog for grammar-nerd amusement.
Problem 2:
“Should of” is incorrect. Tip: Use “should have” rather than “should of.” The same goes for “would have” and “could have.”
Problem 3 (?):
This is murky water, but it could be argued that “debt ceiling crisis” should be hyphenated. Tip: When two or more words work together to modify another word, you have what’s called a compound modifier. Some stylebooks will tell you to hyphenate all compound modifiers, others tell you to refer to the dictionary for individual terms, and still others will tell you to use a hyphen only when it is needed to avoid confusion (for example, hyphenate “man-eating shark” to indicate that it’s a shark that eats guys as opposed to “man eating shark,” which could be interpreted as a guy who is eating a shark). Be consistent and hyphenate when not doing so would cause confusion. Oh, and there’s never a need to hyphenate when using an adverb ending in “ly” and an adjective (“extremely confused blogger,” for example).
Problem 4:
“Then” should be “than.” Tip: Use “then” when you are placing something after something else in time (I wrote this post then went to a party). Use “than” when you are comparing things (in this case, how the Democrats handled the crisis compared to how they should have).
Problem 5:
“Different” should be “differently.” Tip: Pay attention to whether you’re modifying a noun or verb to make sure you’re using the right modifier. In this case, we’re modifying a verb (“handled”), so we need the adverb rather than the adjective.
The Republicans believe that Democrats should have handled the debt-ceiling crisis differently.

House Speaker John Boehner’s Budget Control Act that aimed to raise the debt ceiling was put to a vote, for all intensive purposes the vote was successful.

Problem 1: The phrase “that aimed to raise the debt ceiling” should be enclosed in commas and “that” should be “which.” Tip: The phrase is what’s called a nonrestrictive clause, meaning that it could be removed from the sentence and the sentence would still make sense. Any time you have additional, non-essential information like this, use “which” rather than “that.” In these cases, enclose the phrase with commas.
Problem 2:
Instead of a comma, the two sentences should be separated by a period/full stop. Tip: When two or more sentences run together with commas in between them, the resulting monstrosity is known as a comma splice and is to be avoided at all costs. Commas are good at lots of things, but stringing sentences together isn’t one of them. (Note, in that last sentence, that the comma works with a preposition—“but”—to put two sentences together. Commas can work with their preposition pals to do this, but can’t do it on their own.)
Problem 3:
“All intensive purposes” is incorrect. Tip: The correct phrase is “all intents and purposes.”
The House of Representatives voted on House Speaker John Boehner’s Budget Control Act, which aimed to raise the debt ceiling. For all intents and purposes, the vote was successful.

Its hard to except that they’re will be no more Harry Potter movies. Fans literally cried their eyes out when they found out this film would be the last.

Problem 1: “Its” should be “It’s.” Tip: Remember that apostrophes stand for letters that are missing, so “it’s” means “it is” or “it has.” See the letters the apostrophe is replacing? Without the apostrophe, “its” is possessive and means “belonging to it.”
Problem 2:
“Except” should be “accept.” Tip: “Accept” is a verb that generally means to “to willingly receive, agree to, or hold something as true.”  “Except” is usually a preposition and means “excluding.” Imagine that the “A” in “accept” stands for “agree” and the “x” in “except” draws a big “X” over something that is not included.
Problem 3:
“They’re” should be “there.” Tip: Go back to the tip about apostrophes standing in for missing letters. “They’re” actually means “they are” or “they were.” You can see the letters that the apostrophe is replacing. “There” refers to a location. It has the word “here” inside of it, which might help you remember the difference between it and “their,” which is a possessive pronoun meaning “something that belongs to them.” “Their” also contains a word holds is a clue to its meaning: “heir,” which implies ownership.
Problem 4:
Fans did not literally cry their eyes out (I hope). Tip: Don’t say “literally” unless you actually truly mean exactly what you are saying. There is an entire blog devoted to the misuse of this word.
It’s hard to accept that there will be no more Harry Potter movies. Fans cried when they found out this film would be the last.

Comic-con is a place where a fan can get autographs from their favorite stars. The autograph sessions feature stars like the Green Lantern cast, including Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, and Ryan Reynolds, the Terra Nova cast, including Stephen Lang and Alex Graves, and the Immortals cast.

Problem 1: There’s a noun/pronoun agreement problem. “A fan” is singular but the pronoun “their” is plural. Tip: Things can get awkward when a writer is trying to use “their” rather than “his or her” to avoid gender bias. It does manage to avoid gender-specific language such as, “a place where a fan can get autographs from his favorite stars,” but it also makes a grammatical mess. In many cases, the best choice is to make the noun plural to match the plural pronoun. You could also eliminate the pronoun (“…a fan can get autographs from stars…”).
Problem 2:
“Like” should be “such as.” Tip: This is a nitpicky one, and few would be bothered if you used “like” in this situation. But technically, “like” means that there will be stars similar to the stars listed, whereas “such as” means that those exact stars will be in attendance.
Problem 3:
The commas after “Reynolds” and “Graves” should be semicolons. Tip: When you have a list of items with commas, separate those items with a semicolon for clarity. The Oatmeal calls this use the “super-comma.”
Problem 4:
The titles of movies and television shows should be italicized. Tip: Use italics for longer works such as novels, television series, albums, blogs, etc. Use quotation marks around the smaller works that make up those longer works, so things such as chapter titles, episode titles, song titles, blog posts, etc.
Comic-con is a place where fans can get autographs from their favorite stars. The autograph sessions feature stars such as the Green Lantern cast, including Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, and Ryan Reynolds; the Terra Nova cast, including Stephen Lang and Alex Graves; and the Immortals cast.

Irregardless of your opinion of her music we can all agree that Amy Winehouse, 27, died far to young.

Problem 1: “Irregardless” should be “regardless.” Tip: “Irregardless” is not a word—or at least not a standard word that is widely accepted and doesn’t make you sound silly.
Problem 2:
A comma is needed after “music.” Tip: Introductory phrases or words that come before the main clause, are separated from the main clause by commas. That’s a bit of an oversimplification. Purdue OWL has a fantastic and extensive page on comma rules if you want to geek out.
Problem 3:
“To” should be “too.” Tip: “Two” is the number after three. It’s the only one of the three homophones with a W, which, when flipped onto its side, looks a bit like a 3. “Too” means “also” or “excessively.” Let the extra O remind you that you’re adding onto something. “To” is the correct spelling for all other uses.
Regardless of your opinion of her music, we can all agree that Amy Winehouse, 27, died far too young.

Anders Behring Breivik says he will identify the terror cells he was working with if his “demands” are met. His demands include getting cigarettes, wearing civilian clothing, and the resignation of the entire Norwegian government.

Problem 1: The quotation marks around “demand” are not needed. Tip: Putting something that is not a title or direct quote in quotation marks implies that the term is false. With that in mind, check out the well-maintained Unnecessary Quotes blog for a laugh.
Problem 2:
The list’s structure is not parallel. Tip: When you make a list of items, they should all be the same part of speech.
Anders Behring Breivik says he will identify the terror cells he was working with if his demands are met. His demands include cigarettes, civilian clothing, and the resignation of the entire Norwegian government. (Second sentence could also be corrected as: “His demands include getting cigarettes, wearing civilian clothing, and seeing the resignation of the entire Norwegian government.” Either option fixes the parallel structure problem.)

The jurors in the Casey Anthony trial use to be frightened for their safety but the judge decided not allow the juror’s names to be released. Some are nervous anyways.

Problem 1: “Use to” should be “used to.” Tip: “Use to” is never correct. When said aloud, “used to” can sound a bit like “use to,” but remember that when you use this phrase, you’re talking about something in the past tense, which is why it ends in “ed.”
Problem 2:
There should be a comma after “safety.” Tip: As mentioned earlier, commas can’t put two sentences together on their own, but they can work with prepositions such as “but,” “and,” and “or” to join two sentences.
Problem 3:
The apostrophe in “juror’s” should come after the S rather than before it. Tip: If a word is both plural and possessive, put the apostrophe after the S unless the word is plural without an S (“children” for example).
Problem 4:
“Anyways” should be “anyway.” Tip: Banish “anyways” from your blog. It’s not a word.
The jurors in the Casey Anthony trial used to be frightened for their safety, but the judge decided not to allow jurors’ names to be released. Some are nervous anyway.

I wish I was better at betting on soccer. I layed money on the U.S. womens’ team, so I had to go to the ATM machine.

Problem 1: “Was” should be “were.” Tip: The term for this grammatical mood is the subjunctive, and it’s like the fairy-tale of grammar. You’ll find it where you’re talking about something wishful that has not yet happened, and in those cases, you’ll use “were” rather than “was.” Another example would be something like “If I were in charge, I’d do away with all these rules.” Though the second example doesn’t explicitly convey a wish, it is wishful thinking in action.
Problem 2:
“Layed” should be “laid.” Tip: “Layed” is not a word, so that makes this particular instance easy, but let’s not lie: The “lay” vs. “lie” thing isn’t simple. It’s a bit more problematic than some of the other easily confused words because the past tense of one is actually the same word as the present tense of the other. Confused? Me too. It’s my grammatical Achilles’ heel. The always-brilliant Grammar Girl wrote nearly 600 words on the topic, and her charts and examples will do a far better job of explaining than I can do in a brief space.
Problem 3:
The apostrophe in “women’s’” should go before the S rather than after it. Tip: We said above that if a word is both plural and possessive, the apostrophe goes after the S unless the world is plural without the S. In this case, the word “women” is plural without an S, so the apostrophe goes before the S.
Problem 4:
“ATM machine” should be “ATM.” Tip: The M in “ATM” stands for “machine,” so “ATM machine” is redundant. The same goes for “PIN number,” “HIV virus,” and “please RSVP.”
I wish I were better at betting on soccer. I laid money on the U.S. women’s team, so I had to go to the ATM.

The fumes, which were left from the Kennedy Center’s 135 space shuttle launches, will take thirty years and $96 million dollars to clean.

Problem 1: “Which” should be “that” and the commas should be removed from the first sentence. Tip: Without the clause explaining that the fumes were left over from the shuttle launches, we don’t know which fumes the sentence refers to; that means it is a necessary or restrictive clause. As you might recall from above, if you cannot remove the clause without losing the meaning of the sentence, the clause should be introduced with “that” rather than “which” and does not need to be set off by commas.
Problem 2:
The word “dollars” is unnecessary. Tip: Like “ATM machine” above, “$96 million dollars” is redundant because “dollars” is represented by the dollar sign.
The fumes that were left from the Kennedy Center’s 135 space shuttle launches will take thirty years and $96 million to clean.

Well, how’d you do? Were you able to find all 34 errors? Are there other common grammar errors that plague you? Share them in the comments!

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of, Regator for iPhone and the brand-new Regator Breaking News service for journalists and bloggers. She is also an award-winning print journalist. You can find her on Twitter @kimber_regator.

June is ’31 Days to Build a Better Blog’ Challenge at SITSgirls – Join them Today

How to BlogIf you’ve been blogging for a while now but feel ‘stuck’ – there’s a group of bloggers about to take the ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog‘ challenge that you really should consider joining.

The Group is SITSGirls – a blogging community with over 8000 women bloggers – and for the 2nd time they’re running #31DBBB. Last time around was amazing – by my count over 400 bloggers joined that challenge and the impact that I witnessed was pretty profound.

It was the first large group of bloggers that I saw walking through the eBook together and to see so many tackling the daily challenges together and supporting each other through them just highlighted how much more effective blogging can be when you take a communal approach to it. In addition to just working through the eBook there was lots of support in the forum area as well as on Twitter.

The SitsGirls challenge starts on 1 June and participants in the challenge get the eBook at 33% off. If you already have the eBook this is the ideal time to put it into action.

The coordinator of the challenge is Shelley from I’m still Standing – you can read her kick off post here.

PS: yes, there’s only 30 days in June – I guess they’ll extend it a little beyond and into August.

Sign Up for CopyBlogger’s Authority Rules Conference Today (closes Tuesday 17th)

If you haven’t signed up for Copyblogger’s Authority Rules conference yet, you still can… but only until Tuesday May 17 at 5:00 PM Pacific (U.S.) time.

authority rules

What’s Authority Rules? You can think of it as an intensive 30-day “boot camp” for your online business. It’s all based on the business model Brian Clark created over at Copyblogger. I’m one of the speakers who Brian has brought on to teach a complete, 360-degree view of his model. 

If your business is on track with:

  • Traffic
  • Links
  • SEO
  • Conversion of readers to paying customers
  • A sales process that works for you and your customers
  • Referral and repeat business
  • A focused social media strategy
  • Effective use of email marketing
  • A strong, coherent marketing message

… then you don’t need Authority Rules. 

But if you could use some improvement in any one of those areas, the sessions in Authority Rules will get you on track again… and that will easily repay the cost of the conference pass (and your investment of time) many times over. 

Here’s where you can go to snag your conference pass.

The conference kicked off this week with some fantastic sessions.

  • Brian Clark and Sonia Simone gave attendees the “5 As” of accelerating your business, from Attention to Acceleration. The 5As are a 30,000-foot view of your growth plan … because if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s a lot harder to get there!
  • John Jantsch and Sonia talked about creating a Referral Engine for your business, so you don’t have to just hope for referrals — you can plan for them. John also included templates for his “Perfect Referral” system, and a quick exercise you can do today to become more referable.
  • Michael Port and Sonia did a deep dive into the foundation of your marketing identity and the four elements you need for social media engagement (you’re probably already doing the first three — adding the fourth will get you the ROI you’ve been looking for).
  • Lee Odden and Brian talked about the “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” model of SEO, for rankings that won’t fly away the next time Google changes its algorithms. Don’t miss the PDF version of Lee’s slides, including his content marketing checklist so you can get seriously strategic about optimizing the content you’re creating.

You’ll get recordings and transcriptions of all of these – but there is a lot in the next week that you get live access to (including my session).

Next week they’re starting the “Engage” track, which is all about *keeping* all those clicks you get with your attention strategies.

They’ll talking about how to get a handle on your social media strategy with Amber Naslund, real-time marketing and PR with David Meerman Scott, how to infuse your web copy with authority by master copywriter Jeff Sexton, and I’ll be doing a talk with Authority Blogger Chris Garrett (at an Australian-friendly time of day) ;) on making online community a cornerstone of your business.

I’m also doing a session on ‘How to Make Online Community a Cornerstone of Your Business’ which I’m really looking forward to.

Chris Garrett, by the way, also has a fantastic optional coaching program available with the conference if you want to get more individualized attention. I can vouch for the fact that Chris really cares about his coaching clients, and he’ll do everything in his power to get you where you want to be. 

Grab your conference pass today so you can start diving into the material, and I hope to see you in a session or two this week! Remember, you need to jump in by Tuesday, May 17 at 5:00 PM Pacific — at that point they’re closing registration.

Blogosphere Trends + Effective Calls to Action

You might be saying, “I’m a blogger, not a sales person. I create content. Why would I need to worry about calls to action?” But if you are, I’d encourage you to adjust your thinking. Making money from your blog, growing your business, and getting readers to interact will be next to impossible if you can’t effectively motivate your audience to take action.

Still skeptical? Take a look at Darren Rowse. His latest video on making money online encourages bloggers to build products, and for good reason: according to his blogging income breakdown, 40% of his February income came from ebooks and another 9% from membership sites such as Third Tribe Marketing and Certainly these revenue streams would not have existed if he’d never asked anyone to buy his ebooks or join these sites. He is successful, in part, because he’s great at creating effective calls to action.

Even if you’re not selling anything (yet), you still want your audience to take action by commenting, interacting, sharing, Facebook “liking” your post, watching your videos, attending your events, etc. These things all grow your blog and your community. So let’s get into some tips that will help you create successful calls to action on your blog, no matter what your goal. To give you some examples of these tips in action, I’ll use blog posts about the last month’s most-blogged-about stories, according to Regator (they are, in order: Japan, Libya, SXSW, Charlie Sheen, March Madness, AT&T, Elizabeth Taylor, St. Patrick’s Day, iPad 2, and Rebecca Black).

1. Be clear

Example: Social Times’s “10 Ways To Help Japan Through Social Media
In this example, the goal is to get readers to take action to help Japan. There are several options, and each is presented in a clear, simple way: “Watch this video,” “If you have received information about someone in Japan who was affected by the earthquake or tsunami … add this information to Google’s Person Finder,” and so forth. Calls to action are no place for subtlety or word play. Be direct and straightforward.

2. Solve a problem

Example: Save Darfur’s “Protecting Civilians in Libya: How You Can Help
One of the number one tips given here on ProBlogger is to be useful, and it’s possible to be useful even when making a call to action. In this case, the readers of the blog are activists who are likely looking for ways to make a difference. This post asks readers to “take action by writing a letter to the editor” but also explains how to take that action, going as far as providing a sample letter to the editor. Don’t focus so much on your own desire to have readers take action that you forget to be helpful.

3. Know when and where to ask

Example: Mashable’s “Join Mashable for Two Days of Events at SXSWi
Here, the call to action (to register for one of the blog’s SXSW events) is placed in the headline, in the RSVP section, and at the very end of the post. There’s no wrong place to put your call to action, but putting it at the end of your post often works better than putting it near the beginning because they’ve finished reading your post and are ready to act.

4. When the goal is interaction, offer some options

Example: The Smoking Jacket’s “Smoking Poll: Would You Watch Two and a Half Men if Charlie Sheen Returned?
You know that most of your readers are lurkers, but how do you lure them out to become an active part of your community? Asking them to vote in a poll or take some other similarly simple action is a good way to help them get their feet wet. In this example, the bloggers directly asks readers to vote in the poll and state their case in the comments.

5. Create visual interest.

Example: Mental_Floss’s “The mental_floss Guide to the NCAAs (The West)” [March Madness]
Drawing attention to your call to action is imperative. After all, if no one sees it, no one will act on it. In this example, Mental­_Floss tries to get readers to follow its Twitter account but rather than putting it in the sidebar or using a standard Twitter button, it has created an impossible-to-ignore, colorful button at the bottom of the post itself. Use bold text, colors, buttons, or large fonts to draw attention to the action you want readers to take. Facebook “Like” buttons and retweet buttons are so ubiquitous these days, many people tune them out. If those actions in particular are important to you, find a unique way, such as the one in this example, to present them.

6. Provide an incentive.

Example: The Consumerist’s “Make Your Voice Heard On The AT&T/T-Mobile Deal
I hate to break it to you, but very few readers who aren’t your mom will do what you ask out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. You’ve got to make it a win-win situation. In this example, The Consumerist wants readers to share their opinions but sweetens the deal by letting its audience know that those who contribute will have an opportunity to have their “voices heard” and possibly be chosen for inclusion in press materials. Before you ask others for anything, ask yourself what they’d get out of it. If the answer is nothing, don’t ask until you’ve found some value for your audience.

7. Set a single goal

Example: PopWatch’s “Elizabeth Taylor: What’s your favorite role? ‘National Velvet’? ‘Cleopatra’? ‘Virginia Woolf’?
Determine what you want your post to achieve then make a single call to action. Don’t ask for too many things at once. If you want people to buy your ebook, ask for only that. If you want them to attend your seminar, ask for only that. In this case, the post’s goal is to get readers to share their opinions via a poll and the post’s only call to action is that. Set a goal for every post.

8. Use deadlines

Example: For the Love of Dog’s “Photo Contest: Bizzy go Braugh” [St. Patrick’s Day]
In this post (which, by the way, features a dog in a leprechaun outfit, including beard), the blogger makes it clear that readers must take action by sending in their caption by March 23. Deadlines create a sense of urgency that makes people want to act faster. Use one if it makes sense with your particular call to action.

9. Keep it simple

Example: Digital Photography School’s “Buy Captivating Color for a Chance to Win an iPad 2
You’re a blogger, so I don’t need to tell you how short people’s attention spans are these days. The easier the action is, the more likely they are to take it. Compare the example above, wherein people are automatically entered into a contest to win an iPad 2 simply by purchasing an ebook, with an iPad contest post on another blog (for the sake of keeping things positive, I won’t name it), which required readers to follow a particular Twitter account, tweet a long and very specific message, find the exact URL for that tweet, then come back to the blog and post the URL in the post’s comments. It’s obvious which call to action is likely to be more successful. Don’t complicate things.

10. Ask for what you want

Example: TV Squad’s “Watch Stephen Colbert (and Taylor Hicks!) Sing [Rebecca Black’s] ‘Friday’ With Jimmy Fallon
I saved the most basic tip for last and it applies to all of the examples above as well as every call to action you make: ask for what you want. This example post ends with “Tell us: Whose version of Friday do you like better?” It is a specific, simple call to action. Don’t assume that readers will comment, that they will tweet your posts, that they will buy your products, or that they will take the actions described in your posts if you never ask them. Be clear, direct, and make it a win-win and you’ll see results.

Now I’ll follow my own advice. My call to action: If you’re a ProBlogger reader who has never commented before, take this opportunity to introduce yourself and say hello in the comments today. I’ll check back all week because I’d love to meet more of you guys.

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator, a site that curates the best of the blogosphere, as well as an award-winning print journalist. Reach her on Twitter @kimber_regator and get free widgets for your blog from Regator.

Third Tribe is Closing to New Members—Join Us Before Friday, April 1

No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke: we’re closing our flagship community, the Third Tribe, to new members on April 1, 2011 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time (U.S.).

If you’re not familiar with Third Tribe, it’s a community that I co-founded in 2010 with Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Sonia Simone (Remarkable Communication), and Chris Brogan ( We built it to provide a learning and networking opportunity for internet marketers who wanted cutting-edge information about how to grow their sites—without the high-pressure hype or “black hat” techniques you see on some other sites.

We took the most effective techniques from Internet marketing and blended them with the content-rich, community-building style of the social media crowd.

Learn more about Third Tribe.

What can you get from Third Tribe?

  • Each month, you get at least one audio seminar on an essential marketing or business technique. We talk about SEO, social media marketing, blog monetization, affiliate marketing, and heaps more. Implement what you learn in the seminars and you’ll start to see real growth in your business. Full transcripts are provided, as well as “Next Action” worksheets that will give you the next steps to take.
  • Each month you also get two Q&A sessions with Tribe founders. These are fantastic “mini consulting” sessions where you can get specific advice that relates to your own business. Imagine stopping any of the four founders in a conference hallway and getting five or ten minutes of our undivided attention to address your business question. That’s what the Q&A sessions do for our Tribers … twice every month.
  • 24/7 access to a thriving community of online marketers. Ask questions, get feedback, form JV partnerships, or just ask your pals for a “Like” on that Facebook page. When things get tough, it’s great to know you have peers and friends who have your back.

If you’d like a taste of some of our seminar content, we’ve prepared a “free sample” for you. This case study was a bonus seminar for this month, with Sonia Simone grilling Third Triber Shane Ketterman on how he grew his niche site from zero to 10,000 unique visitors a day … in seven months.

Zero to 10K: A Case Study.

Even if you don’t join the Tribe, do yourself a favor and download the case study. It’s filled with lessons you can apply right away to your own sites. (For example, he has a nice technique for using AdSense to quickly find the most profitable corner of your blog.)

So why is the Tribe closing down?

It’s not really closing—it’s being transformed into something bigger and better. And … yes … more expensive.

That’s why this is great opportunity to come into the Tribe. Join today and you’ll get in at the best possible price, plus you get instant access to more than 24 hours of archived seminar content.

No, the Tribe isn’t the cheapest resource you’ll find. But if you’re serious about treating your blog as a business, it’s an investment that can repay you many times over.

I hope you’ll come join us in the Third Tribe today. Remember, the site will close to new members on April 1, 2011, at 5:00 PM Eastern (U.S.) Time. Don’t get locked out—you’ll never be able to join at this price again.

Blogosphere Trends + The Art of Live Blogging

Live-blogging—writing about an event as it happens rather than after the fact—can be a valuable resource for your readers, providing them with up-to-the-minute information about important events and making your blog the go-to destination for information on a developing story. It is also rife with perils: insufficient power supplies, spotty Internet connections, and errors made in haste, to name a few.

Here are ten tips to make live-blogging work for you. I’ve used blog posts about the last month’s most frequently blogged about stories, according to Regator (they are, in order: Egypt, Super Bowl XLV, Academy Awards/Oscars, Libya, national budget, Charlie Sheen, New Zealand earthquake, Mobile World Conference, CPAC/Conservative Political Action Conference, and Radiohead) to illustrate live-blogging techniques and practices that you can start using on your own blog:

1. Do research as you blog to fill in gaps in your own live reporting

Example: World Watch’s Live Blog: Egypt in Crisis, Day 11
Yes, you are on the scene, gathering original information, doing interviews, and taking your own photos, but if you’re covering a broad story (in this example, the revolution in Egypt), you simply can’t be everywhere at once. Don’t be afraid to include well-attributed links to other up-to-date coverage or to include quotes from experts to give readers more information.

2. Choose your weapons carefully

Example: Packers Blog’s Super Bowl XLV live blog
There are a number of useful tools and services designed to make live-blogging simpler. The live-blogging plugin for WordPress, CoverItLive (the service used in this example post and acquired on Thursday by Demand Media), and ScribbleLive are solid options for general live-blogging assistance.,, and are useful for on-the-go video. Audio can be recorded and posted from anywhere with tools such as Chirbit and Audioboo. Determine which of these tools works best for you and become familiar with their interfaces before you go live.

3. Prepare if possible

Example: Paste Magazine’s 2011 Oscars Live Blog
If you’re live-blogging an unexpected event, such as the tragic New Zealand earthquake (see below), you’ll have to start from scratch. An event such as the Academy Awards, on the other hand, leaves ample opportunities for advance preparation. In this example, the categories, nominees, and predicted winners could all be filled in prior to the show, leaving the live-bloggers with extra time to cover the spontaneous moments and announcements of winners. This particular live-blog also makes the author of each comment undeniably clear, which is especially important when opinions are being shared in a post by multiple bloggers.

4. Go beyond the tweet

Example: Need to Know’s Libya revolts: A live blog
There are times when 140 characters will suffice and times when seconds matter more than details. Those are the times to turn to Twitter. There are, however, situations, such as the Libyan revolts, that are too complex to be conveyed with such brevity. Those who argue that live-blogging is dead (likely the same ones who claim blogging as  a a whole is dead) should look no further than this example to understand its value. This post incorporates official statements from Amnesty International, Interpol, and other organizations; video and photographs from the scene; witness interviews; updates from bloggers, activists, and news outlets; relevant tweets from Libyans; video of the White House’s statement; original reporting; and, perhaps most importantly, a lasting, detailed chronological account of events as they happened that can be referenced for years to come. Take advantage of the diversity of content and attention to detail that live-blogging allows and don’t treat it like a series of tweets.

5. Understand the difference between distilling and transcribing

Example: The Two-Way’s Live-Blog: President Obama’s News Conference [National Budget]
In this example, Mark Memmott blogs important direct quotes but does not attempt to transcribe the entirety of the president’s speech. He quotes key phrases and summarizes the rest of Obama’s main points. He is fastidious in his use of brackets to indicate changes to direct quotes and (this is important) never uses quotation marks when the language isn’t exact. As a live-blogger, your job is not to transcribe an event but to distill it for readers and present the most important points. Trying to transcribe word for word will lead to frustration, exhaustion, and typos galore.

6. Pack appropriately

Example: The Wire’s Live Blogging TMZ’s Charlie Sheen Backyard Livestream (headline changed after-the-fact to “WATCH: Here is Charlie Sheen’s EPIC TMZ Livestream Interview”)
Admittedly, finding a good live post about the month’s sixth-most-blogged-about story, Charlie Sheen, was challenging. It’s pretty much impossible, after all, to live-blog Charlie Sheen without being with Charlie Sheen and he’s too busy “winning” to hang out with most of us. TMZ did, however, do a live video interview from his mansion so I’ll use that to discuss the kinds of equipment you should bring in a similar live-blogging situation. Things you might want to pack in your live-blogging kit include: extra batteries, power cords and chargers aplenty, laptop, smart phone, Flip or larger video camera, reasonably sized camera, USB cords or other connectors for cameras and video cameras, and an alternative method of Internet connectivity in the case of inadequate WiFi.

7. Update frequently with clear time stamps

Example: Channel 4’s News blog Live Blog: Dozens dead in New Zealand Earthquake
Live-blogging is a commitment. If you plan to post only two or three updates, you’d be better off posting a single well-thought-out post after the fact. In this example, 45 updates were posted during the two days following the earthquake, each with a clear time stamp for context. Regular updates ensure that your blog will be considered the primary place to go for up-to-the-minute information. This is especially vital for situations in which people are frightened and worried about the wellbeing of loved ones. As a general rule of thumb, aim for updates every five to 15 minutes or so during shorter events such as the Academy Awards or Obama’s budget news conference, and once every half hour or so when covering situations such as the earthquake aftermath or revolts. This lets readers know the blog has not gone dormant.

8. Accept that your live posts won’t be as flawless as your edited posts

Example: Business Insider’s LIVE: Steve Ballmer At Mobile World Congress
Once you’ve made it clear that you are live-blogging from the scene, most readers will forgive minor typos and grammatical errors. Do the same. The faster you are trying to get updates out, the less time you have to edit and guard against errors, so don’t beat yourself up. As long as you’ve got your facts straight, errors such as the minor ones in this example (lowercase “nokia,” lack of apostrophe in possessive “consumers,” etc.) from the normally meticulously edited Business Insider are understandable.

9. Use subheadings along with time stamps

Example: The Fix’s CPAC 2011: The Conservative Political Action Conference
Live-blogging can lead to lengthy posts. Using subheadings such as the ones in this example in addition to time stamps throughout your post can increase reader engagement and allow for easy scanning.

10. Know when to live-blog…and when not to

Example: Dig Boston’s Live Blog Review: Radiohead’s ‘The King of Limbs’ From Start to Finish
Live-blogging works best for developing stories or live events. While this live-blog of Radiohead’s new album is good, the live-blogging format doesn’t add a great deal because of the static nature of the story. With all due respect to the blogger, whose work is solid, the review would have been just as good or better if the blogger had taken notes as he listened then written a comprehensive post after the fact. Use live-blogging in moderation.

Do you live-blog? What tips can you add?

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator, as well as an award-winning print journalist. Reach her on Twitter @kimber_regator and get free widgets for your blog from Regator.