Keynote about Professional Blogging, great tips for bloggers: Day 1 Keynote from BlogPaws

The original liveblog notes from this keynote were published at this post on DOGthusiast.com.

Speakers:

  1. Dino Dogan
  2. Lena West
  3. Chloe DiVita

Dino and Chloe: How did you get here in your business life?

Chloe: 

  • Have an accounting degree. Before BlogPaws, had an accounting company.
  • Liked things
  • Going to BlogPaws via mom.
  • Blogged before about small businesses, work in QuickBooks, and so on. Learned a lot about businesses in the different kinds of businesses that she has worked in and with. Had various clients in different business areas, which helped learn about the different kinds that exist.
  • Then parents came to her with a check: “Here’s a check can you set up a company?” (BlogPaws)
  • Served purpose in accounting world, for 14 years, and started to transition to the business of blogging. Retired accounting clients, and then moved over to BlogPaws.
  • Intuit invited her to blog for them, that’s how proficient Chloe is at QuickBooks.

Dino: 

  • Making sure that everyone here is drinking water, because we’re in a desert. And you get sick.
  • Dino was born and raised in Bosnia, and came to the US in 1995. Started in IT, but then got bored with computers and discovered people. In 2009 started blogging about dogs and motorcycles, his two passions.
  • Had a motorcycle vertical – a social network for motorcycles. Fizzled out, but a great learning experience with blogging and business. Aspirations to write a book about dogs.
  • DoganDogs.com, now defunct.
  • Book supposed to be 18 chapters, but gave up at chapter 16.
  • Started devouring info about SEO and online marketing, and how to get on top of Google. Saw a lot of fallacies and logic holes that couldn’t be filled with anything practical. So started writing his own thing on the dog blog about how he is driving traffic to the dog blog.
  • Became embarassing to send professional clients to the dog blog to read info about social media.
  • Started a “real” blog, the highest converting blog possibly in blogosphere. Reason he owns Triberr is that he loves meeting people and talking with them. All of it happened because of his professional blog. He had loyal readers that just moved over to Triberr and signed up. From a few hundred bloggers to a hundred thousand Tribes (groups of bloggers).
  • Fourth year speaking of Blogworld. All started with dog blogging.
  • Takeaways: let your customers tell you what your business should be.
  • Overnight success, and success, is not easy for anyone. Get down to work if you want to have a business.

Lena West: Number one killer of goals

  • Competing commitments: The biggest one everyone has (everyone has one, seriously).
  • We usually don’t know that we have one.
  • Number one goal crusher.
  • Say you want to do one thing (life or business), a goal. For whatever reason you never get around to doing it, backburner, forget, and so on. Reason it happens is that you have a competing commitment.
  • Example: I would like to have 5 more clients, or 5 more people to give regular donations. You know with more donations comes more work, or more reporting – in the back of your mind, you attach that the goal means more work. Something that you don’t like. You secretly sabotage the goal in the back of your mind.
  • If you ever set a goal, and you don’t do it or don’t achieve and it’s something you still are interest in it, you probably have a competing commitment around it.
  • Best thing to do to solve it – say to yourself – “do I have competing commitments”. What does this goal represent to me. Ask yourself the question, and write it down, and come back to it a few days later. Your mind doesn’t want to rock the boat, your mind wants to keep things the same. You won’t achieve the goal until you define why you don’t want to achieve the goal (more money, certification, change in life, etc).
  • Google competing commitments – lots of articles will come up. It’s the number one killer of the goal you have and having the life and business you love.

Dino: What do you see around the bend in the social space?

  • We are already around the bend, and a lot of us don’t realize it. Agencies and brands may not be seeing this yet though.
  • Long view of the media space (TV as example, but same for newspapers and mags, etc)
  • Between 1940 and 1992, your TV had 3 channels for most people (CBS, NBC, ABC). Back in the 90s or 80s, you’d come home at the end of the day and the entire family would sit behind one screen and one channel. So marketers had a lot easier time to get in front of everyone. Shoot a commercial, and put it on one of the channels. You didn’t need talent, just money.
  • How does the scene look today? Two people never watch the same screen. Each person has a few screens of their own – phone, laptop, computer, etc. TV has been relegated to a 3rd or 4th screen. We all have our owns. All of our screens has millions of channels.
  • Media space: Tremendous fragmentation. Brands are struggling for this reason. Brands: how do I reach people? How do I get their attentions.
  • WE fragmented that space. Our attention is across all these new channels: blogs, sites, etc.
  • Conclude the rant: Your blog is not a blog. Your blog is a media property. You are the new CBS, the only difference is we are a bit smaller. We are not bloggers, we are celebreties to our audience.
  • Quick story: Buddy of Dinos – Jeff Livingstone, great online personality, does not thing bloggers are celebs “I go to the supermarket, no one recognizes me.” That night, Dino was at a baseball game with WebSearchSocial, and he was relaunching the site and wanted 500 copies of Jeff’s book as a perk. The way Ralph (WebSearchSocial) was talking about Jeff was like Beiber. Heh.
  • Where is the audience taking the attention, and if it’s on you then you are a celeb in your audience’s eyes.

Chloe: What does business operations mean to the blogging business?

  • Most people thing “do I have to do that?” and the answer is yes: you have to have process. Spans many things: beginning – know your audience. Processes take place to serve your audience.
  • Business of blogging: you have to have a plan. Keep track of the money. Record your income, expenses. You have to have a way to work with people.
  • Motto: Get everything in writing. What is the expectation, and what are your deliverables. Something everyone can agree on. Don’t do any verbal agreements – and that is a process. Being prepared if someone wnats to work with you.
  • Don’t need an intense contract, but you have to have some clear points about expectations: money, where you are sharing it, what you are writing, ROI estimates, and so on.  Put all of this in writing.
  • When you continue to manage these relationships, there are a lot of different buckets: brands, PR people, other bloggers, and so on. So separate your contacts based on what type of contact each person is. What is your relationship to you – makes it easier to find the people.
  • When you are in a bind, the work becomes more stressful and escalates quickly. And when you are prepared in this way, it makes the stress a lot easier to manage. And then we are more successful in the end as well.
  • Take time to look at your operations: process, get things in writing, organziation of contacts, and a plan for your inventory.
  • What is inventory: bloggers only have so much content that you can put on your blog (based on how frequently you blog), but your audience gets used to what you deliver. Use an editorial calendar to plan ahead, and know what you have to offer to your contacts. Look in advance.

Dino: The timing is right, right now, for bloggers. What does this mean?

  • Great opportunity for blogging coming up. Tremendous fragmentation of the space, and agencies/brands are starting to notice that the eyeballs are on these blogs and these are the vehicles for action.
  • Simultaneously, another thing happening. If you look at a blog from 100 years ago (magazines, newspapers), how did you monetize your content: ads. That’s how these guys monetized their content.
  • Today, Google/Facebooks of the world – how do they monetize OUR content: ads. Now we make the content for them.
  • We need to come up with a better monetization strategy than ads. Ads are the reason we have no privacy (“we’ll send you more relevant ads”) – terrible user experience.
  • Ads are just not effective – becoming less effective, and only effective for very few things.
  • What is effective? Spokespeople.
  • We are hired to be a celeb spokesperson for a brand – brands are hiring the bloggers to be a spokesperson for them. It’s an old model. We need to choose the right brands, ones that are relevant to us, and to our audience. This is where things are going for making a living.

If the time is right to start monetizing/growing revenue, what do they need to do to prep business?

  • If tomorrow, the brands want to work with you, what are you going to do? Are you prepared or know what you have to offer, or know your inventory. Do you have the contract ready?
  • Your operations need to happen now, right away. This is step one – look at the process, look at where you are, and make sure you are prepared with the right contract (not a lawyer type document, and google a basic contract and it will give you the points you need) – create a template.
  • You need letterhead, and you need it to be on your brand. Your blog is your brand, so take it seriously and have it incorporated in everything you do and people remember you. People will see it over and over. Let people get to know your brand, so be prepared with that.
  • Be prepared to have a clear understanding. Communication is one of the hardest things to do successfully – emails fall through the cracks, emails are read wrong. Communicate professionally, friendly, and so on. It’s really hard to sound nice and friendly – know your voice, as you are always representing yourself and your blog.
  • Know your audience, as you shouldn’t do thing or do something your audience question. It has to fit, and it has to be a two way street. Knowing who you are talking to, and who you are speaking to.
  • Maybe it’s time to make your move, based on a shift that your audience likes to see. Assuming it’s something that you want to embrace. Serve your audience, but make sure you serve yourself. But listen.
  • If you are prepared, then you are ready to go with it when these shifts happen, and they are easier to deal with.
  • Keep a record of every campaign, and sponsored post that you do. Don’t go back to your blog and search – have a record. Document things. The more info you can collect and have, you will feel so much more prepared when opportunities come up.

How do you decide what ads to run on your blog, price point to charge.

(This is the first question from audience.)

Dino: My answer is: don’t run ads. An advertiser would never pay the price that he would ask for.

Chloe:

  • Different kinds of ads. Banner, side ad, headers, footer, AdWords, etc.
  • Look at your blog as a representation of yourself. You don’t want ads everywhere on your blog. You need to find someone that you support because you are putting it out to your audience.
  • You don’t have to use everything that you support, every product. But maybe it’s a useful thing to your readers. If it’s something you feel is important to your readers and it’s important to them, it’s a good fit.
  • Google searches have ads, and you are asking for that information. A blog is a little bit like that in that your audience is asking for the kind of information that you share. So there can be a good fit – not necessarily about what you do, need, use – what does your audience need.

Dino:

  • Would you put an ad up for free (asking audience member). If yes, a good candidate for making money – if you would do it for free, it could be worth it.
  • I have ads all over the place – he is telling a story through his posts. It’s like an ad.
  • Be more clever than just an ad.

Chloe: Different value in niche than CPM. You have a niche, so there is a bigger value to an ad on your blog than CPM where the ad can show up on any kind of site.

Tom Collins:

  • If you are going to run ads, when it comes down to CPM ads, they don’t work well for bloggers. If the company is coming to you and wants to run a display ad, I would treat that as a sponsorship and sell at a monthly tenancy rate. If they want the ad on your blog, you should sell it at a monthly tenancy rates. There are published places to find out what people charge. Talk amongst other bloggers here.
  • Do not engage in price fixing.
  • Research what the market is for a monthly rate.
  • Other ways to sell banner displays.

Lena West: Top 3 tips *READ NUMBER THREE!

  1. Stop trying to do more with less, or more for less. Stop it. Every single time you try to do more with less or more for less you are manifesting lack into your reality. Every single time you say it to yourself, you are teaching yourself how to accept less. It is unbelievable that we say to ourself these things, how about figure out how to do more with more. How can you charge more, get more income coming in, and so on. We don’t understand the true impact this has in our lives and businesses. Start planning to receive more, start planning for success, expect a positive outcome. When you expect it, you will be amazed what shows up in your life or business. How did she get clients, and so on, I expected they wanted to work with me and I made it happen. Expect a positive outcome.
  2. Competing commitments. One of the things Chloe, Dino, and Lena talked about before the conference – so many of us are not prepared for the things you want. Are you really ready for new clients? What would you do tomorrow if she knocked on the door of your business, and she gave you a list of 10 new paying clients? Are you ready, do you have the infrastructure ready? Say 10 new sponsors come to you as a blogger. Are you ready to process the payment, have ads ready, and so on. Not being ready for the business you say you want is the competing commitment. Start getting prepared for success. Lena wants us to have a plan for success. And be ready for success.
  3. Self care. You have got to take care of yourself. Because I am here to tell you the money means nothing, visibility means nothing, media coverage means nothing, sponsors, clients — all of it means nothing if you are not healthy, vivacious, alert, aware and be able to enjoy these things and share it with the people you love. Susie Orman says “People first, then money, then things”, and she is going to share with us today: “YOU first, then money, then things”. You are your business, take care of yourself. You are the steward of the vision, you are the holder of the vision, of what you are trying to build. You need to be well, and healthy, to enjoy it.

Dino Dogan: Top 3 tips

Show of hands, who hasn’t started a blog yet.If you don’t have a blog, you don’t have a voice. Those of you who don’t have a blog: you don’t have a voice. get going!

  1. For those of us with a blog: Be ready for the brand. Try to figure out what brands you would like to be a spokesperson for, and then take a stock of your blog, and your online footprint. If the brand you want to work with is a very (for example) feminine brand with an aura of elegance. That brand is not going to work with a blogger with a ton of ads all over, or a masculine blog. Take stock of what you have, and try to figure out if you are ready for the kinds of brands you want to work with. From a brands perspective, they want you to write and tell stories with the kind of audience you have. Every single ad, and every link, is an invite to leave the content. Always go with the default answer “no” when you evaluate your blog. Simplify. Unless you have 5 good reasons to keep something where it is.
  2. Takes a village to raise a blog. Build your tribe. This is why brands come to you.
  3. Join Triberr. Meet with other bloggers. Shameless plug 🙂 http://Triberr.com/blogpaws – special page, with a special discount. 3 months premium for free, no credit card. Code: BLOGPAWS.

Chloe DiVita: Top 3 tips

  1. Get it in writing. Can’t stress it enough.
  2. Know your expectations, and remember your own sales team. You need to be able to speak to what you can deliver. Don’t be ashamed or feel bad. You are out there for a reason. Whether you are a growing blog, been there for a long team. Be excited, be proud, and don’t wait for them to come to you. Be someone to be sought after. Get yourself out there, and don’t be afraid, and network with other bloggers. Collectiveness of what blogging is, is when it’s most powerful.
  3. Know your inventory, manage your contacts, have an accounting system. If you go to quickbooks.com find QuickBooks simple start. Pretty user friendly so you can keep track of your invoices, and enter your expenses. (Jen note: Also check out Freshbooks – easy, free).

Finally: Promote. Never too much promotion for your blog, content on your blog, for a relationship you are trying to foster. Nothing wrong with promotion, and you can’t do it enough.

Author Jen deHaan

Jen deHaan is a freelance graphic and web designer, fascinated with great layout and usability. She has been working in the software industry since 2001, and has held positions with Macromedia, Adobe, and Motorola. Jen has written and contributed to over 20 print publications on web design that have been published by Peachpit, Adobe Press, and Wiley. She is also a professional pet blogger at DOGthusiast, and owns a small business called Stylish Canine.

More posts by Jen deHaan

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Adam says:

    My tip, don’t refer to yourself as a blogger. Try to always say you are a “journalist” or “writer” as that sounds more professional. If you put “Blog” in your domain name you will have to call yourself a blogger though. 🙂

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