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>Understanding and Exploring the Social Media Jungle: Best Practices

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With more and more social media sites popping up everywhere, the craze to have the next Facebook or Twitter continues to be relentless. Wikipedia lists ?€?some notable, well-known?€™ active social media sites  – ?€?some?€™ being 190 – and even has a separate page for defunct websites, showing that this competitive trend shows no mercy.

So with almost two hundred ?€?notable?€™ options out there, how do you know which to use for your site and how? Facebook and Twitter are the most obvious choices, but it?€™s essential to take time to create a strategy and see what works best for your particular needs.

Take time to find the sites relevant to you
Don?€™t just jump on the bandwagon. Investigate what?€™s out there, and make two lists of potentials ?€“ one for pages that require very little maintenance (e.g. a StumbleUpon link), and one for sites that require frequent updates and monitoring (e.g. Facebook).

When choosing sites, make sure they have an active following
Having active members is usually more important than having a large number of members, particularly as small sites give you the opportunity to gain prominence, enjoy less competition and let you take advantage of a more targeted audience.

Check the terms and conditions of each site carefully
If you have a design or photography site (for example) and you want to upload images to a networking site for exposure, clarify the copyright and ownership policies of the site first to avoid upsetting clients or losing ownership of your work.

Don?€™t be afraid of trial and error
When it comes to choosing the right social media sites don?€™t be afraid to have a go, but if something?€™s not working despite your best efforts then it?€™s time to move on. Make sure you don?€™t leave any blank pages behind you ?€“ ?€?saving the name?€™ can be useful but at least include a link and a logo so people can identify you. This is something to watch out for especially when you?€™re signing up with multiple usernames that may become useful in future. Try to provide a redirect link to your main account or user page where possible to help people get to the right place.

Make sure you decide and allocate resource effectively
Spreading your time too thinly means that profiles will get neglected, so do a test over a set period and cut out the less successful ones. An abandoned page gives the impression that you don?€™t care or even that you?€™ve gone out of business, and spam and inappropriate discussions can run riot. Having a bad presence can easily be worse than none at all, so opt for consistency, and don?€™t promise scheduled content you can?€™t deliver on.

Keep up to date
Sign up for newsletters and regularly read the official blogs of the social networking sites you?€™ve joined. That way you can keep on top of any new features and implement them before your competitors, and also be aware of upcoming changes which may affect the way you operate.

Think about the purpose of your social media
Are you developing your brand, using it as a direct sales tool, improving traffic or communicating with customers? This handy infographic from cmo.com explores the strengths and weaknesses of ten common social networking sites.

The most effective campaigns are original
If you have an idea that?€™s different to everyone else?€™s, don?€™t be scared to try it out; it could lead to a publicity explosion. If it doesn?€™t work, then take the time to analyse it and figure out why it wasn?€™t successful or come up with potential improvements. If you?€™re using social media to host contests, try getting some feedback from participants about what they enjoyed and what problems they faced (if any)  to gain more insight into user experience.

Understanding and Exploring the Social Media Jungle: Best Practices

Social Bookmarking Submitter

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>Thank You to my 10,000 RSS Subscribers

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As I logged into Feedburner today, I realised Blogger Buster has reached an awesome milestone – we now have 10,000 RSS subscribers!

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I set my first target of achieving 500 daily readers, when Blogger Buster was in it’s infancy. How far this site has come since then!

So today I wanted to extend a great big THANK YOU to everyone who subscribes to this site! I’m awed that 10,000 of you enjoy reading my Blogger posts enough to read my updates in your feed readers and by email subscription. This truly makes my blogging ventures worthwhile 🙂

For those of you who may read on occasion, who have bookmarked Blogger Buster for future reference or have simply stumbled upon this post, why not join the other 10,000 subscribers and also receive regular updates on the latest Blogger tips, tricks and news? Just click the subscription button below and choose how you would like to subscribe – I promise it will take only a few moments of your time.

Subscribe to Blogger Buster

Once again, thank you all for subscribing to Blogger Buster, for leaving comments, sending news tips and templates, and for your engagement in improving the Blogger community!

Download your copy of The Blogger Template Book

Your complete guide to choosing, installing and optimizing Blogger templates (PDF 114 pages)

Thank You to my 10,000 RSS Subscribers

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>Fix for Bloggertube Slider!

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Hello guys, I hope you understand my lack of time to dedicate for the blog, but I do what I can and try to reply to all emails I get from you (unfortunatelly are too many and I can’t handle to reply to all of you).

The biggest problem that you have been reporting to me right now is that Bloggertube’s slider is not working anymore, but now I bring you way to fix it.

This afternoon I got a message on twitter from @crzyOrc telling me that he had managed to fix bloggertube by himself, which was a great thing because I didn’t really have time to look at it yet.

So pretty much what you have to do is replace the javascript files that used to be hosted at Google Code (unfortunatelly the links are not working anymore) for your own link, you can use any hosting service wanted.

Download the scripts from here:

easySlider1.7.js and galleryvideo1.js

Host them in your hosting services, it could be free ones (please google them) or private ones.

Then just replace the following links:

http://bloggertube.googlecode.com/files/easySlider1.7.js

and

http://bloggertube.googlecode.com/files/galleryvideov1.js

For your new hosted files.

I hope you guys are fine now.

Please if someone has trouble on doing this, please report on the comments, I am sure you will find a helpfull visitor of this blog to help you, please guys, be gentle and help each other!

Best Regards,

Dante Araujo

Fix for Bloggertube Slider!

Monetize Blog

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>Interview with CEO of GreenGeeks and TigerSites

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Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Trey Gardner, CEO of GreenGeeks and TigerSites. Here’s what Trey had to say:

Chris Lloyd from ResellerGuide.com: What’s your title and how does that translate into the day-to-day operations for GreenGeeks and Tigersites?

Trey: I am the CEO of both Green Geeks and Tigersites. As far as the day to day operations for both brands I am involved in all of the areas. I work with the sales and marketing team to make sure that we are getting good exposure in the marketplace as well as make sure that new clients are approved and receive all of their account login information. In addition I work with the technical support and server administration departments to make sure that client’s issues are handled by our technicians in an expeditious manner and that are servers are operating at their optimal levels.

Chris: Can you tell us what kind of plans you offer?

Trey: We offer 1 all encompassing web hosting plan for the general public and we offer 5 reseller web hosting plans for web site designers and developers. The General Public plan offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth as well as the ability to host an unlimited amount of domains and emails. It comes with cPanel, the world’s #1 web hosting control panel as well as the free Fantastico script library which has web site favorite scripts like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and many others. Also included with the plan is a free domain name and 2 free web site template builders which are great for novices. The plan costs are $95.40 for a 1 year term and $166.80 for a 2 year term. Tigersites offers the same package as Green Geeks.

Our reseller program was recently launch and is great for web developers and designers who help manage the web sites of their clients. There are 5 packages to choose from and rates vary between $.95/domain per month all the way down to $.39/domain per month. The servers are 300% green just like the servers at Green Geeks and carry all of the features carried for Green Geeks customers.

Chris: Tell us about what green web hosting really means.

Trey: Green energy web site hosting is web hosting without establishing a carbon footprint or by offsetting your carbon footprint. The reason why this is such a big deal for our industry is because it is estimated that by the year 2020 our web hosting industry will be as large of a environmental polluter as the airline industry. Web servers use huge amounts of electricity, they run all the time and they run hot so they also need huge cooling fans to keep them cold to run efficiently. These huge fans also use large amount of electricity.

There are many ways to offset your carbon foot print in web hosting including using wind energy credits to offset the energy you pull from the grid, use solar power to lower the amount of energy you need to pull from the grid during daylight hours as well as configuring the servers so that they run more efficiently using less energy, running cooler and needing less of the fans cooling power. At Green Geeks, TigerSites and our reseller company we are actually carbon negative which means we not only lower our carbon footprint but we actually put more carbon reducing power into the grid by purchasing 3 times the wind energy credits needed to offset our use. In addition we modify our servers so that they run cooler using less energy than other companies servers.

Chris: Are there web hosts out there claiming to be green but not walking the walk? No need to name names.

Trey: I would rather be an optimist when it comes to the trends in web hosting pushing more towards going green. We have had many web hosting companies contact us and ask us how we do what we do to be more eco friendly and we are actually fine with helping our competition become greener. I have heard from customers and environmental advocates that they have run across numerous companies out there who claim to be eco friendly but who don’t look to employ and real eco friendly initiatives, they are green in name alone. I don’t waste my time checking up on these so called green companies to see what they do, my focus is to forge ahead with my own initiatives and let the marketplace follow. Consumers are savvy and eventually they will root out these companies standards and force them to go green in more than just name or risk losing that business to us and the other true green web hosts.

Chris: What types of advertising methods are you using to promote your brands?

Trey: We employ mainly online marketing for building our sales and to promote our brands. Our best consumers are people who are web savvy and are looking for web hosting or who are looking to change from some hosting company which are not servicing their needs. We market in web sites, blogs and news web sites.

Chris: Where are you datacenters located?

Trey: Our data center is located in Chicago with offices there as well as Toronto and Los Angeles. We are looking at opening more locations over the next year as well.

Chris: Are you planning on a controlled growth or is it pedal to the metal?

Trey: I would love to say pedal to the metal but I have been with other web hosting companies before this one and some have had that “at all costs” mentality. They would try to grow as fast as they could and what I saw with this type of focus were tons of problems. They would short change their employees and purchase sub standard equipment to make room for more marketing dollars to drive more sales. Turnover was high and problems with the servers where your customers web sites reside were a daily occurrence.

At Green Geeks we higher good, smart people and we treat them well, we don’t like turnover, in addition we buy only top of the line high quality web servers to make sure our clients accounts run fast and have great uptime. Our customer service department proportionally gets far more calls from customers who are novices and who need instructions on how to do something than we do about any sort of server issue. So far we have been able to grow at a steady pace but with increased sales volumes month over month. We like to push the marketing of Green Geeks not only to acquire customers and grow but to also influence the marketplace into being more eco friendly. We will always look towards growth as building the business and building the awareness.

Chris: Are you going to be at HostingCon in August?

Trey: I may go to Hosting Con in August, I have been before and it is a great place to learn more about the industry trends and to work on partnerships. I also enjoy my daily work activity here at Green Geeks as well and there is a lot to do. Depending upon the participants at the event I may go or may send one of our system administrators, we’ll have to see.

Chris: I’ll use this question as a vehicle for you to freestyle. Let our readers know everything they need to know about GreenGeeks and Tigersites.

Trey: Sounds good. Here is my personal guarantee to anyone out there who is thinking of signing up with either Green Geeks, TigerSites or our reseller program. I guarantee that if you ever have an issue with our company or any of our employees I am going to get involved. I have been the quality assurance director at other web hosting companies and made sure that if there was anything wrong that our techs could not fix or something wrong with one of our employees that they could get to me and I got things resolved. We don’t have a quality assurance director at Green Geeks, Tigersites or our reseller company because we don’t need one, I am the guy and the buck stops with me. If you ever have a serious problem with our company ask for me by name.

In addition I want to plead with any web hosting company or any customer of a web hosting company out there to go green. The thought that the servers who run you the customers web sites and which run our web hosting businesses might turn into as big of an environmental catastrophe should be abhorrent to everyone out there. To quote Ben Franklin, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Peace, good luck with your web site projects and go green!
Trey Gardner

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We like what you guys are doing and wish you the best of luck with GreenGeeks and TigerSites.

Related Sections:
Interviews With Hosting Industry Figures

Related Links:
GreenGeeks Reviews
TigerSites Reviews

Interview with CEO of GreenGeeks and TigerSites

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>Interview with Luke Kendall of Just Host

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Interview with Luke Kendall of Just Host

Chris: Hi Luke, can you tell me more about your position at Just Host and explain to our readers what work your perform at Just Host?
Luke: Well my official role here at Just Host and the one you will find on our website is Marketing Manager however, my work here isn’t just confined to the 4 walls of the marketing department. I often deal with customers directly who have ideas and suggestions on how our services could be improved. This could be anything from adding new tools inside our control to expanding and improving the help center on our website.
Chris: You have been providing shared hosting for some time now, what made you decide on offering a reseller service?
Luke: We have always allowed customers to host unlimited domain names but not from separate control panels. Customers would often ask us if this were possible and of course without a reseller account it would not be. Reseller hosting has always been something we wanted to offer our customers, we were just waiting for the right moment and 2 months ago that moment came when we announced the launch of our reseller service. Today we already have over 1,500 active resellers hosting with us and we haven’t even entered month 3 yet!
Chris: What methods of advertising has Just Host been involved in?
Luke: When we first launched the company we advertised everywhere, from magazines to online directories we were there. This gave us our name, everyone in the industry had heard of us and we had a few thousand customers behind us. Now focus on areas we get the best response from including our in-house affiliate program which awards customers with $60 by referring a friend to Just Host.
Chris: How successful has your affiliate program been for you?
Luke: Our affiliate program has been hugely successful, we currently have over 16,000 active affiliates who have referred one or more customers to Just Host.
Chris: Let’s go back to reseller web hosting for a minute, why should someone choose Just Host over any other reseller hosting provider? What do you do differently?
Luke: Our reseller service was built with ease of use in mind. Reseller web hosting is undoubtedly more complex than shared hosting so we wanted to end up with a product that anyone could use. From start to finish our trained techs will walk you through the process of setting up your account. We also extended our help center which now includes a handful of reseller guides and even more video tutorials, helping you familiarize yourself with the WHM control panel.
We are also very affordable at just $19.95 a month, this includes plenty of disk space and bandwidth for your needs!
Chris: Tell me about your data center, where is it located?
Luke: Our data center is located in Chicago, IL we have hundreds of servers there, securely hosting over 180,000 websites on high performance, Dell servers.
Chris: Thanks Luke – Finally, what does Just Host have planned for 2010? Can we expect to see any more product launches in the near future?
Luke: Most definitely! We are always busy working on new ideas and we already have something big planned for this year. We don’t like to give too much away though so hold tight and we will keep you posted!
Chris: Sounds very promising, please do keep us informed. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Luke.
Luke: No problem, thanks for having me!

Related Sections:
Interviews With Hosting Industry Figures
Reseller Hosting Recommendations
Why Should I Start A Hosting Company?

Interview with Luke Kendall of Just Host

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>Ecommerce: Shopping For A Shopping Solution

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By Scott Lindsay

The specifics of ecommerce can require a learning curve that many are reluctant to tackle. Perhaps that’s why many brick and mortar stores have not entered the world of online marketing.

It is possible to look at ecommerce and consider the things you might need and lose heart. You take a look at some of the items you need such as site design, hosting, shopping cart, autoresponders, search engine registration and a laundry list of other services and you wonder how in the world you are going to come up with a way to make it work. This is especially true for those who are just happy if they can figure out how to open their email account.

Because not everyone is adept at the specifics of ecommerce, sites that customize a package for their customers are a boon to many entering the world of ecommerce.

Don Fortner, a Direct Marketer describes a one-stop ecommerce solution, “You can really have it all. I was quickly able to build a fully functional commercial web site using the easy-to-use templates with slide shows, image maps, fully functional search engine, Pay Pal shopping cart and more! Highly Recommended.”

According to High Power Sites you can find a, “solution that affordably allows anyone with even the lowest level of Internet experience to make their own professional ecommerce website.”

These solutions are feature-rich in design and function and manage the very specific needs you may have in a user-friendly interface. Those who use these one-stop ecommerce solutions find they are able to successfully launch their website in a very short period of time.

Many online marketers have found that the integration of multiple technologies in one package provides a choice that gives them time to learn the skills of optimization. For some netrepreneurs this option becomes a long-term solution.

Dale McIntosh from AMJ Funding Group who uses an integrated ecommerce solution said, “My website pages are as good or better than some of my friends who are in the same type of business.”

When you follow the success stories of those who have added ecommerce to their brick and mortar store you will notice a growth pattern that is more than encouraging.

Perhaps the greatest advantage to an online store is it never closes. Automated function in a solid website design allows for transactions to occur at the discretion of your clients. The fulfillment of the orders can be taken care of when you or your staff is available. Those who utilize the web for purchases enjoy the control they have in making online purchases at times that are convenient to them. Ecommerce allows you to cater to that desire.

About the Author: Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of HighPowerSites and many other web projects. HighPowerSites is the easiest do-it-yourself website builder on the web. Get your own website online in just 5 minutes with http://HighPowerSites.com at: http://www.highpowersites.com

Source: www.isnare.com

Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=93785&ca=Internet

Ecommerce: Shopping For A Shopping Solution

Affiliate Marketing

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>Exclusive Interview with Jeff Walker on Launching Products off Your Blog (Audio and Transcript)

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One of the online entrepreneurs that I’ve been wanting to interview here on ProBlogger for over a year now is Jeff Walker. Many of you will know Jeff and his Product Launch Formula training. I’ve mentioned it as a resource many times as being something that has helped me double my income in the last 18 months as I’ve explored developing and launching my own products.

While I was initially a little skeptical about what I could learn from a so called ‘internet marketer’ and actually avoided what he and others had to teach me – since taking the time to do his course I’ve learned so much about online business.

Jeff has recently produced some fantastic new videos that many of you will be familiar with so I thought it would be a good time to set up an interview to look at his approach, particularly from a blogger perspective.

This interview goes for 35 minutes and covers:

  1. Hype, Long Sales Pages and a Change of Approach in Internet Marketing
  2. Getting over the Idea of Selling Something on a Blog
  3. The Sideways Sales Letter (something blogs are ideal for)
  4. Do Product Launches Work in Niches that are not ‘Make Money Online’ Niches?
  5. What Did Jeff Learn in Launching his own Blog? (he had over 2000 people waiting to read it before even launching with a smart strategy)
  6. Product Launches as Events
  7. Secondary Benefits of running a Product Launch
  8. Jeff’s New Videos
  9. Can Product Launches Work for Small Blogs?

This was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve done and I hope you make the time today to have a listen or read through the transcript below (I’ve put the above topics into the transcript to help you find what interests you).

Also make sure you check out Jeff’s 4 videos

  • Product Launch Millionaires – a video giving inside information on some of the really big internet product launches
  • Product Launch Disasters – Jeff shares how some product launches have failed and why in many ways it didn’t matter. He also shares an inspiring story of his first client
  • iPhone video – talks about the strategy behind Apple’s iPhone launch recently
  • Product Launch Blueprint – this is a downloadable PDF of Jeff’s full Product Launch Formula and a video that walks you through it. This is GOLD if you’re ever going to launch a product on your blog and I find it hard to believe he gives it away for free.

To get them you need to opt in with your email address but it is well worth the effort. That last video is well worth the opt in – it’s a formula that I have printed up and next to my computer for every launch I now do.

Here’s the Interview

I hope you enjoy this interview with Jeff:

Transcript of Interview with Jeff Walker

Transcipt by The Transcription People.

Introducing Jeff Walker (and Darren’s Longest Introduction Ever)

Darren: Hi, this is Darren from ProBlogger and today I have the privilege of interviewing Jeff Walker from Product Launch Formula. Jeff?€™s a guy that many of you will know partly because I?€™ve recently promoted a couple of his videos that he?€™s just released but also, because over the last year or so, I?€™ve mentioned him a number of times as being someone who?€™s really helped me in my own launching of products. Jeff, I?€™m not sure how much of my story you know but, up until about two years ago, I relied almost completely upon advertising revenue and affiliate revenue to monetise my blogs and, with the economy changing, I began to, you know, start to experiment with my own products and launched my first one probably a year and a half ago, just before I came across Product Launch Formula and made a complete botch of it, but I learnt two things; one, I know nothing about product launches, I mean didn?€™t know anything about it, but, two, it worked anyway.

Because I?€™d built trust and credibility and some influence in the spaces that I was operating in, people just bought the E-books that I was selling like crazy and we did a six figure launch in a week just on the back of some terrible strategies. So, this is the longest introduction I?€™ve ever done, but I guess I wanted to say that a lot of bloggers are very suspicious of Internet market and product launches, but they unknowingly are in a great position to be able to use some of the strategies that you teach to do it in a way that I think is authentic and that can lead them into some profit as well.

So, thank you for joining us. That?€™s the longest intro I?€™ve ever done, but I just wanted to say I think is really a relevant conversation for people. So, thanks for joining.

Jeff: Well, thanks for having me. This is going to be fun. Yeah.

Hype, Long Sales Pages and a Change of Approach in Internet Marketing

Darren: So, perhaps let start with, a lot of bloggers when I mention product launches and Internet marketing, are quite suspicious of the whole Internet marketing game. We?€™ve all been on the receiving end of long sales pages and the ?€?hypie?€™ sort of emails. I know that?€™s not your style, but what, how would you respond to that? How have things changed over the last couple of years?

Jeff: Well, you know, it?€™s sort of interesting because I actually got my start online way back, like I think around 1990 on like those online services like, actually the first one I found was called ?€?Genie?€™ and there was like ?€?AOL?€™ and ?€?Prodigy?€™ and ?€?CompuServe?€™ and all those and the world was a lot smaller; the online world was smaller back then and it was all about the conversation. And then, you know, the Internet came along and I got on the Internet and everyone got on the Internet and, all of a sudden, and even back then hardly anyone was selling anything. I mean, selling online took … it was like rocket science to be able to take a credit card. And, but then gradually it evolved into like … there is a lot of hype and a lot of marketing and it?€™s all about commerce and then I think, you know, when sort of the 2.0 revolution, which I sort of, I?€™ve lumped blogs into like really the forerunner of that, is really about the conversation.

So I really think where the Internet is going is back towards the conversation and you know I think product launches really, the way I teach them, the way I do them, a product launch is a conversation. It?€™s a conversation you?€™re, as a business owner, you?€™re trying to direct.

You know, you don?€™t want it to be a free-for-all; you want it to be something you can direct and take in the direction you want, but it very is, it is very much a conversation and, frankly, people are more interested in conversations than they are in, in a … you know a sales letter is like a monologue or a lecture and, you know, occasionally someone who?€™s incredibly gifted can deliver a lecture that holds people?€™s attention, but you have to be incredibly gifted. So, like, to write a sales letter that really captures people, you have to be some Ninja copy person or have a completely rabid market. So, it?€™s just a lot easier if you can just have a conversation that keeps someone?€™s attention.

So, I know that?€™s sort of a rambling answer but, you know, your question sort of hit on a underlying like philosophical stuff that I feel very, very strongly about. I mean I think that the Internet is all about a continually evolving ?€?power to the people?€™ in terms of giving us the capability to, to be, each be publishers and then a continuing evolution of connecting us, make us more connected and enabling conversation.

Darren: That?€™s one of the things I really love. When I finally got over the hurdle that I was enrolling in an Internet marketing course, I was so surprised and really impressed to hear this whole conversational approach to it and, yeah, it was something that I guess I wish I?€™d got a hold of a lot earlier because bloggers are really into conversation; we value it, we value that relationship, but a lot of people just leave it at that. We just develop relations. But that can actually be part of a marketing approach which is really powerful.

Jeff: Right.

Getting over the Idea of Selling Something on a Blog

Darren: One of the challenges I see a lot of bloggers facing is getting over the idea of selling something to their readers. They?€™ve given so much content away for free and they have a mindset either that

  • ?€?My readers will leave if I start charging them for something?€? or
  • ?€?I?€™ve given so much away for free, what else could I produce that is worthy of charging??€?, or just that
  • ?€?I can?€™t bring myself to sell something on my blog, I?€™m not a salesy type person.?€???

What would you say to bloggers who have those sorts of mindsets?

Jeff: Well I think you have to … you know, I can completely understand that. In fact, I was once asked by Marlon Sanders, who?€™s one of my earlier marketing heroes, how I came up with Product Launch Formula and I said it was basically because I was scared to ask people for money, you know, so like I invented this elaborate romance thing and then finally it got to the point where I really needed the money and so I?€™d romanced them so long that, I did ask for money and all of a sudden I realised that they were happy to give it to me. So, I guess, to those people really I would say, and this is going to sort of sound a bit hard core but, you know, you have to decide whether you?€™ve got yourself a hobby or whether you?€™ve got a business and, you know, if you?€™ve got, if you have a business, I mean, well do you want to eat you know next month or not.

And I mean, you know, there?€™s nothing wrong with having a site that is a hobby where you?€™re publishing and you get a lot out of that and it brings a lot of self worth or you feel like you?€™re helping people or changing the world or facilitating something, nothing wrong with that. I think that?€™s very admirable but, you know, if you are in business to make money, you know, I think there?€™s two ways to make money online.

There are two ways; one way is by selling other people?€™s stuff and one way is by selling, the other way is by selling your stuff, and make no mistake, if a blogger?€™s out there and he?€™s running ads on his site, whether they be banner ads or AdSense or he?€™s, or you?€™re just, you?€™re putting up links, affiliate links, you are selling something; it?€™s just you?€™re selling other people?€™s stuff. I, and I don?€™t think there?€™s anything wrong with that. In fact, I think everyone should sell other people?€™s stuff and their own stuff. I think everyone, almost everyone should mix those two business models. I think it?€™s much better that way. You know, you want to sell other people?€™s stuff to sort of even out, to give you a broader inventory because none of us can create as much as our market wants and you want to sell your own stuff because the margins are higher and you actually have control and now you?€™re building a business and a real asset.

So, I mean I?€™d get over, I?€™d just say ?€?Get over it.?€? You know, if you?€™re running ads now, you are running, you are selling stuff, it?€™s just it?€™s not your stuff.

The Sideways Sales Letter

Darren: Great. One of the things you talk about, it?€™s quite central in Product Launch Formula, is the sideways sales letter. Can you give us a bit of a quick overview of that.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, well I mean, if you look at a typical long form sales letter and, Darren, I have to admit, you know, I never was, never sold anything in my life, but I?€™ve always been someone who wrote. I always wrote a lot and when I first, you know, the first long form sales letter I was exposed to, I bought the product and, and then, you know, I mean, I admit I actually like sales letters and I don?€™t really like writing them but I can appreciate a good sales letter. But the reality is that most people aren?€™t like me; they don?€™t like them and they don?€™t read them and I was like looking at these letters and I?€™m like well what usually happens is people get them, one of those long form sales letters, and first when you load the page, you don?€™t know it?€™s a long form, you?€™ve just been sent the link or you?€™ve found a link. It wasn?€™t like you were looking, you know, had Googled like ?€?I want to go read some long form sales letters?€?.

So, anyway, you end up on one and you don?€™t know it at first and then you see that little scroll bar off on the right and that goes, it just keeps on getting smaller and smaller and smaller and then it?€™s like, just like really tiny and it?€™s just showing you there?€™s like 30 pages to read. And so what I think most everyone does is they grab that scroll bar and they, you know, they look at the headline and either they leave or they grab that scroll bar and they scroll down to the bottom and they look what the price is. And then, you know, if the price seems reasonable based on the headline, then they?€™ll go back and skim through the sales letter and, you know, you look at a couple of ball points or a couple of sub-heads or something. The reality is that, if not many people are actually reading them, they?€™re not terribly effective.

So, I?€™m like okay, how can we change this paradigm and I, what I, I came up with this idea of the 30, the sideways sales letter. So, if you go from say a 30 page sales letter or a ten page sales letter and, instead of having that be, like there?€™s a vertical, you know, 30 pages long, if you turn that sideways and instead of made that scale pages, if you made that scale days, and it went to 30 days long or maybe ten days long, but you did this … essentially the same thing you would do in a sales letter, you start ?€“ what?€™s a sales letter start with a headline ?€“ so you start off with something, you know that, a headline that?€™s very compelling, so that would be your first piece of pre-launch content.

And you would come out the gate you know with that piece of pre-launch content and then a typical sales letter might go, you know, headline and then it?€™s got a sub-head and then makes some type of a promise or it raises some type of a pinpoint and then it might tell some stories and then it might have some bullet points and then it might go into the offer and then it might talk about the guarantee and then it might, you know, give the pricing.

And if you took that same thing and spread it out over like ten days or 14 days as your pre-launch and walked through people from that headline that grabbed their attention and gradually pulled them in with a story and then later when the pre-launch started to shift, the actual offer and then at the end, asked for the order, it?€™s a lot easier to engage people that way. Because what happens is, first of all, since you?€™re not asking for money up front, you?€™re not, it doesn?€™t look like a sales letter. You?€™re not asking for money. Then their BS detector gets, you know, it doesn?€™t go into red alert right at the very beginning of the sales process, of the launch. So you get them engaged and you pull them into your story and it gives you time to have that conversation and it?€™s just deadly effective. It?€™s just the way to grab the market?€™s attention, whatever market you?€™re in.

Darren: That?€™s great. As I heard you teaching that the first time, I realised I?€™d had a four years sideways sale process myself. I?€™d had the headlines along the way. I remember the first time I, you know, wrote ?€?I?€™m a six figure blogger?€™, I?€™ve just realised that I didn?€™t actually post that wanting to grab people?€™s attention, but it did and there?€™s been other times along the way that I?€™ve had blog posts that have been headlines and then other blog posts that have been stories and then other blog posts that have, you know, sold benefits of what I?€™m doing and so what I?€™ve learnt is that, as you blog, you are creating a sales letter but then, as you launch products and as you do launches as well, you do a much more congested version ?€“ congested?

Jeff: Condensed.

Darren: Condensed. Condensed version of a launch and it?€™s a really, it is a powerful thing if you?€™ve already got that sort of relationship there as a blogger.

Jeff: Absolutely. I mean if someone is out there blogging and they haven?€™t put out, put together a product yet and, you know, say you?€™ve been blogging for six months or a year or whatever, longer, you know, basically, you have built up a huge amount of what I call relationship capital. I mean that?€™s like sort of … Darren, I actually don?€™t know if you?€™re married or not but like if, people that are married you know, usually, like if you want to, like for me like if I want to go, you know, hang out with my friends, go to the bar for a night, you know, that?€™s fine, but if I try to do that like 14 nights in a row, it wouldn?€™t probably go over as well. So, you know, there?€™s different things you can do. You know, maybe you like, you know, if, I don?€™t know, if the grass needs cutting or whatever, you can do things do build up relation capital, relationship capital.

Darren: Yeah.

Jeff: You know? So, I mean you could, if you?€™re sitting there blogging, putting out great content for an extended period of time and you?€™ve never sold anything, then you?€™ve got great relationship capital and, in fact it?€™s, earlier you said some people are worried that like they?€™ve never sold anything and people aren?€™t going to like them anymore if they try and sell something. It?€™s the opposite.

You know, if you?€™ve built up those raving fans and you have that readership, people are following you, you?€™ve built up huge relationship capital and some portion of your readers are, want to give you money. They, you know, the deal is, and Darren I know that you know this, is that when you?€™re a Publisher, when you?€™re publishing a blog, it?€™s like you are in fact a celebrity. People view you as a celebrity or as an expert or even we could say guru or whatever.

I mean, it?€™s like, it?€™s like when you think of a book author, everyone thinks of a book author as like ?€?Wow, I was at the airport and I met the author of such-and-such a book. It was so cool.?€? Well, it?€™s the same with bloggers. As soon as you start publishing, you are the star and so people they see you that way and, if you offer something for sale, they want to buy from you. Not everyone of course, but a significant number.

Darren: Yeah. That blew me away the first day that I launched a product and someone emailed me and said ?€?I didn?€™t really want your product but I bought it because I wanted to say thank you?€? and that, I think that was part of the reason that it was so successful the first time.

Jeff: Right.

Darren: And then they said ?€?Actually, it was a useful product as well, which was a bonus.?€? So, yeah, it was really great.

Do Product Launches Work in Niches that are not ‘Make Money Online’ Niches?

One of the objections that I get every time I talk about making money online is that only people who talk about making money online make money online. ?€?The best way to make money online is to teach other people how to do it. It?€™s only the gurus who are making the money.?€? Can you give us some examples of other niches where your kind of product launch strategies are working?

Jeff: Yeah, well it?€™s sort of funny, Darren, that you ask me that because, you know, a lot of people say that, you know, ?€?That only works if you?€™re teaching people how to make money online.?€? And the funny thing is, is I was, I developed all these techniques in my original business, which was teaching people about the stock market, and I published a newsletter about the stock market. I had no idea these techniques would actually work in the so-called ?€?Internet marketing, make money online?€™ niche, you know, for the first five years that I did them. I thought they just worked in the stock market. Well it turns out they worked in the ?€?make money online?€™ niche. Then I started teaching this stuff and people have used it in just every field you could imagine. I mean people have used it in off line services – services like Dentistry and Chiropractic and Massage Therapy. They?€™ve used it in little niches online like Quilting and Raw Foods and Health Foods and Photography, teaching photography. In fact, that was yours, right?

Darren: Yeah.

Jeff: You did, yeah, you did. Well, there?€™s been several and they?€™re teaching guitar, there?€™s like business coaching in Poland, they?€™re just, I mean almost anything you could imagine; chocolate, like teaching people about chocolate. And then people have done it like with widgets, like marching band accessories and wooden dolls and on and on. Carving wooden dolls, there is a whole, there is a launch about carving wooden dolls, Holstein cow embryos. It just goes on and on and on. I mean just things I?€™ve never, like even like big corporate stuff.

Like, someone did a launch selling CRM software, Customer Relationship Management software, to Fortune 1000 companies and it?€™s like, that sales process takes months and it?€™s made, the decision?€™s made by a committee. So, it?€™s like ?€?How do you do a launch to them??€? I couldn?€™t, when I published this, I had no idea where it would go and it just keeps on going and going and going. And I hear handwriting analysis. I mean, it?€™s just, I really get, I really love hearing these ?€?cause it?€™s just like these markets I?€™ve never even heard of. Dressage, that was a famous one. Jane Savoy did one and, which is horse training, dog training, taking care of your pets, taking care of your cats and dogs, on and on and on.

And the reality is it?€™s easier in those markets than in the make money online market because there?€™s so many launches in the make money online market, you really have to do, yeah, you have to do something to really stand out and be different.

Darren: Yeah, is there some common thread between them? Like, I know there?€™s a lot of celebrity bloggers out there. It probably, wouldn?€™t apply as much to some topics as others, like any, I?€™m thinking a ?€?How To?€™ type topic is going to be more appropriate than perhaps a news orientated topic.

Jeff: Well, ?€?How To?€™ is fantastic. Anything where you can sell information is fantastic. News oriented, boy, I don?€™t, you know I think, you know I?€™ve never … let?€™s see, let me think, I have never done anything personally in a news oriented thing. I think one direction a lot of people … if we look at social media, what?€™s happening now is a lot of celebrities now, they?€™re able to control their own destiny to a certain effect. Like, even like some of the Hollywood celebrities now, they can get all these twitter followers and now they don?€™t have to worry about, I mean they don?€™t have to rely on the media, they don?€™t have to rely on studios, they can go direct to the people.

I think one area for those people, and I would sort of put news type sites in the same thing, like even if you are just publishing about news and scoops and this and that, I mean I think there?€™s, there is money to be made just purely in being a celebrity and like taking a, taking, doing a seminar or taking a trip somewhere and bringing along people, you know, people can pay to go along with you, that type of thing, and then you?€™re talking about a launch that would be very, very effective. And they?€™re kind of, and they?€™re … I?€™m just completely guess there because I don?€™t have experience there and so, you know, because I want to be clear on when I?€™m talking theory versus reality.

Darren: That?€™s good. I mean one of the thoughts that just comes to mind is even to have a subscription area of a blog and to launch that.

Jeff: Yeah.

What Did Jeff Learn in Launching his own Blog?

Darren: So, I mean I know you?€™ve recently launched your own blog and I?€™ve heard you talk about how you used some of the strategy in launching your blog.

Jeff: Right, right.

Darren: What have you learnt from launching your own blog?

Jeff: Well, yeah, I mean it?€™s, it?€™s funny because it?€™s, yeah, this is my first real, real blog. I mean I?€™ve had, you know, dozens of launch blogs but this is one that, you know, it?€™s sort of more branded to me and any time I do anything that … I mean one of the absolute cores of Product Launch Formula is to use sequences. It?€™s a lot easier to influence people with a sequence than with a single email or a single blog post or a single ad or a single sales letter or a single tweet or a single anything. You know, it just gets lost in the clutter. There?€™s just, there?€™s so much being published. So I always want to do a sequence, so when I looked at my blog it?€™s like, okay, well I can?€™t, I don?€™t want to do a full out like product launch for a blog piece and at the end of the day I?€™m going to be sending people to a blog post.

I mean, you know, no matter how great a writer I think I am, it?€™s still going to be a blog post and, you know, a blog is about creating an ongoing presence, so, like, so what can I do. But I, so I did put together a sequence. I, like my sequences are pretty simple. I said, I asked people to help me come up with a tag line for the blog and then I ran a contest and I gave away an iPad to the winner, to the person, in fact it was an Australian that won it.

And so I had a contest to come up, to come up with a tag line. Well, part of that was because I couldn?€™t come up with a tag line. I, actually, I?€™m pretty lousy at naming things. So I couldn?€™t come up with it, I hate, couldn?€™t come up with something but I?€™m also like ?€?This is a way to get engaged, get people thinking and talking about me, my brand and my blog like two weeks before the blog came out.?€? And I think … I forget how many thousands of entries I got into that contest, but basically there was thousands of people thinking about me and my blog and anticipating and then, when I wrote the blog post, I?€™m like, okay, go to the blog post and take a look and see, you know, see who won and then I was able to link that actually, take that over a couple of blog posts and I think I, you know, opened it Alexa, I think it was an Alexa top 10,000, instantly, instantly when I brought that blog out, like the first day.

And so there, there was no product for sale, you know, and there still isn?€™t. It?€™s just a blog, but I mean it was like I put some thought into it ?€?How can I sequence this to get people engaged ahead of time??€?

Darren: I can?€™t, I can?€™t imagine how many bloggers would like to have had 2,000 people wanting to read a blog before it actually even launched, so that?€™s fantastic.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah.

Product Launches as Events

Darren: What, one of the things I love about what you talk about is events and seeing a launch as an event rather than just a, you know, a sales page or a blog post or a tweet. Can you talk a little bit about this idea of events and how you teach that.

Jeff: Yeah, well, I mean if you?€™re, often like if you?€™re coming out with a new product, like for you Darren if you had, you know, you were running a blog for a long time and you hadn?€™t sold anything, published anything, then just by that very nature that you came out with something, that is an event. And like Apple, you know, they just came out with that iPhone and so that, that?€™s just an event because the iPhone is such an iconic device and people are looking forward to it.

They don?€™t have to work real hard to make an event but what they do is they stage it; they get some rumours coming out and Steve Jobs gives a keynote, then they let you download the keynote and then they, then they do pre-orders and then they open up for the phone a few days later and, similarly, like with someone like you, where you had, you?€™d spend, you know, you?€™ve been publishing this blog, you haven?€™t sold anything, just letting people know that something?€™s coming.

Often I?€™ll do, I actually start with what we call a pre pre-launch and that?€™s where we find a way to let people know that it?€™s coming ahead of time, without saying ?€?Hey, my product?€™s coming.?€? You know, no one just wants to read an email that says ?€?Hey, my product?€™s coming?€?, they, but they, but if you can sort of let it slip out, like I did, I held a contest. Or you can do a survey ?€?Hey, I?€™m working on this … you might?€™ve heard?€?, maybe subtly mention ?€?I?€™ve been working on this new course on how to play guitar and, but before I finish it, I?€™d really like to know like what you want to know about playing guitar.?€?

And so now … you can run a survey like that, send people to a survey and now you?€™re, instead of ?€?Tom, hey I?€™ve got something I?€™m going to sell you?€?, it?€™s like ?€?Hey, I really need your help. Could you, I?€™m really interested in your opinion.?€?

So that?€™s the way you start to build something into an event. You can also do things like tie it to, you know, your birthday or the New Year or a holiday or a graduation or a birth or a wedding and tie it … like, we did a, I helped out with a launch where the product was a series of, an E-book, actually it was a few E-books, on how to write love letters.

That was a great one ?€“ How To Write Love Letters. And so what we … this woman was helping out, she actually had a, her daughter was getting married. So we turned this whole, we turned her daughter into, getting married, into this event to launch this book. And it started off with ?€?Hey, my daughter?€™s getting married. I?€™m really excited. I want to surprise her at her wedding shower with a bunch of great well wishes and can you, so could you go to my blog and just leave a comment where you give your well wishes to Abbey and Jonathon and then I?€™m going to take all these, all your well wishes and I?€™m going to print them out and give it to her on the day of her wedding shower.?€? And so that was the beginning, we used that event at the beginning of the launch and then we took it from there, like, oh boy, this is so heart-warming, which it was. I mean this was like a blog where, if you?€™re ever having a bad day, you just would go and read. There?€™s hundreds of comments of pure love and I mean it was no one could read it without like ending up in tears.

But that was the start of the, that event started the launch and then we took it from there and evolved it into ?€?I?€™ve been so touched by this that now I?€™m, I?€™ve got like these, I?€™m going to make this the best offer ever and give you an extra three books on love letters and all this. So, there?€™s an example.

Secondary Benefits of running a Product Launch

Darren: One of the great things that I have discovered in doing launch after launch is that they actually build momentum for your blog and there?€™s actually other benefits. Every time I?€™ve launched a product, my blog readership?€™s gone up as, you know, my affiliates and JV Partners have promoted it to their audience and those people actually become readers. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, some of the side benefits of running a launch?

Jeff: Yeah, this is something we actually ?€?The Launch Echo?€™ and, until you experience this, it?€™s, it?€™s it … well, first of all, most people don?€™t know about it and even if they hear, even if they hear about it, they think it?€™s just almost mythical because it just sounds so crazy, but what happens is you build up amazing momentum and you use affiliates and partners but even, it works even if you don?€™t have affiliates and partners.

So, what you do is you are all of a sudden engaging in this conversation and getting, and usually there?€™s some pre-launch content involved and, you know, I advocate giving away great free pre-launch content. You know, I?€™m in the middle of my launch and I?€™m just giving away video after video with real training in it and then people just love it and they pass it around. I mean, if you look at Twitter right now, it?€™s just going crazy with, you know, like every five minutes or ten minutes, one of my videos is getting tweeted and so I mean that?€™s just building up huge momentum just in, not just in Twitter but all over the place. And, you know, you?€™ll see … I mean, I just took, the, my new launch is … I?€™m actually using a new web site and I hit the Alexa top 1,000 the day we started that thing. And, of course, that?€™s due to JV Partners, but that has this long, this echo effect going forward where you build up your, if you build your readership … I mean, what?€™s the value of like adding like 1,000 regular new readers to your blog, I mean going forward.

Darren: Yeah.

Jeff: I mean, that?€™s immense. You know, I mean, that?€™s like money in the bank, whether you?€™re going to promote someone else?€™s product, whether you?€™re going to run advertising, run AdSense or sell additional products in the future. Something, there?€™s another thing we call ?€?Launch Stacking?€™ where generally each launch gets bigger and bigger because of that echo, because you?€™ve added more readers, because you?€™ve, if you?€™ve got an email list, you?€™ve built your email list because you?€™ve attracted more partners. And also another key thing is, because you have increased the conversation with your readers, you have a better idea what they want going forward and then you can create those products.

You mentioned early in the call, like, people, they?€™re like ?€?I, we, I, well I give away so much already, I don?€™t know what to give people, I don?€™t know what I would sell them. How can I come up …?€? Well, if you just get that conversation going, they?€™ll tell you what they want to buy from you.

Darren: Exactly. We just ran a survey of our readers of people who bought our last E-book and we had 12,000 people tell us what they want their next E-book to be about. It?€™s just amazing, like they?€™ve actually told us and 75% of them told us the one thing.

Jeff: Yep, yep.

Darren: And they?€™ve said ?€?I will buy an E-book on this.?€? So that is the best research, you know, and you can tell what I?€™m working on next.

Jeff: Right, absolutely. It?€™s like … Darren, I don?€™t know, do they use this, there?€™s a term here that they, that, it?€™s called ?€?shooting fish in a barrel?€™, do you, do they use …

Darren: Yep.

Jeff: Do they use it? I mean, that?€™s what I, what I want my marketing to be is like shooting fish in a barrel. In fact, I?€™d like to take that barrel and shrink it down to the size of a bucket and, you know, the same number of fish are now in this bucket, you just cannot miss. And that?€™s what it, like when you have 12,000 people that just told you, and the amazing thing is is when you ask 12,000 people something, you will get all kinds of responses but they?€™ll always skew to two or three main responses.

Darren: Yep.

Jeff: And the reality is, if you had only gotten like 120 people or even probably 50 people to respond to that survey, you probably would have gotten as much data as you needed because it still would have gotten that one thing that they wanted to buy from you. I mean, and then it?€™s just so easy, when you create it, it?€™s like … I mean people think I?€™m like some marketing genius ?€“ it ain?€™t the case man – I?€™ve just got these easy steps that I follow and one of them is just selling stuff that people want. You know, it?€™s just, I mean it?€™s easy.

Darren: That is great. And the other bonus of running a survey like that is that I?€™ve had hundreds of people say ?€?Thanks for asking?€?.

Jeff: Right.

Darren: They?€™ve replied with emails that have said ?€?Wow, you know, thanks for sending this, doing this survey.?€? I?€™m like, there?€™s, there?€™s, you know, it?€™s more marketing, more good will.

Jeff’s New Videos – Must View Content

Darren: I just want to tie this up, but can you quickly talk us through the videos that you?€™ve just released. I?€™m going to link to them under this post but I have to say that the quality of them?€™s really great and particularly the last video that you?€™ve launched which outlines your Product Launch Formula is, whether people buy your product or not, you?€™ve given some really useful stuff in that video. Can you just talk about those videos you?€™ve released?

Jeff: Yeah, sure, the first one we put out was actually a real departure for me because I?€™ve, all my publishing has always been talking about the little guys and the strange little niches that have done really well with launches.

So, for this time around, I decided to do something a little different and the first video was called ?€?Product Launch Millionaires?€™ and it?€™s about the really big launches in the Internet marketing world because there?€™s a lot going on behind the scenes that people don?€™t understand. People think those launches, the big launches, are not working well. The reality is they?€™re working better than they ever have. So, I actually give a lot of insider stuff; I talk about the launch, I go there, stuff that, you know, some of the actual product launch math, what has actually, you know, how much you actually make, what the profit margin actually is.

The second one is probably, my favourite video I have ever put out is ?€?Product Launch Disasters?€™. In that one we actually talk about some of the things that have gone wrong and I name some of the names of people that have screwed stuff up, including me, but then at the end of it I talk about the most important launch ever and this is a launch that looked like it could have gone wrong but it ended up going pretty well and I highly encourage people to watch the Product Launch Disasters video. It?€™s literally the best thing I?€™ve ever done, I think.

Then I came out with the iPhone video, talking a little bit about the strategy behind the Apple iPhone launch and how it?€™s, how similar it is to the way we do launches.

And then, just earlier today as we record this, I released ?€?Product Launch Blueprint?€™ and that?€™s basically … you know, I do a lot of mind mapping. I use these, this mind mapping program. There?€™s a bunch of them out there; the one I use is called ?€?Mind Manager?€™ from Mindjet. And so I basically walk through the blueprint, like the overall blueprint of Product Launch Formula so they, people can download the actual blueprint, it?€™s a PDF. And then there?€™s also a video that accompanies that where I walk through the entire blueprint.

Darren: And that, that?€™s great. That gives you a real overview of, you know, a lot of your other teaching which is really valuable and it?€™s fantastic that you give that away for free. So, thank you for that.

Can Product Launches Work for Small Blogs?

My last question is, a lot of my readers are small in terms of the size of their blogs and their reach. Can this stuff work for a small blog, for a small, a person who has limited influence?

Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. I mean the reality is we all start with limited influence. I mean I certainly did. And, and one important thing I believe in is baby steps. You have to start somewhere and, you know, I mean if we look at, you know, the most accomplished people at anything, you know, Tiger Woods playing golf, Kobe Bryant playing basketball, you know, Jimmy Page playing guitar; they all started somewhere and they all took those baby steps to get started and move along.

So, there?€™s a lot of people that might have a small readership now, but there?€™s no reason it can?€™t grow a lot bigger. And I like to think of this … in fact one of the things in Product Launch Formula is, you know, that I?€™m going to be rolling out, it?€™s completely all brand new. One of the things I?€™ve never taught before is this, what I call the ?€?Product Launch Arc?€™ and that?€™s … I wish we could draw it ?€“ we can?€™t draw it right now since we?€™re in an auditory environment ?€“ but basically how, when you start out, you know, your launches might be small and your first few launches might be small, but because of that launch stacking and because of that launch echo, you build momentum going forward and at some point all of a sudden critical mass takes over and all of a sudden your launches just start growing exponentially. And then, at some point, as they get just incredibly large, you know, they?€™re going to stop growing exponentially and there?€™s more of a levelling off process and then you?€™re just sort of going back to the well and doing re-launches.

But, yeah, it absolutely will work for smaller people because what this is about … I mean we didn?€™t even talk about like some of the mental triggers and stuff but what you?€™re doing is your aligning yourself with the way humans communicate and humans are influenced. That?€™s what this is really about, is it?€™s about aligning yourself with the way to influence people and communicate with people and it doesn?€™t matter if you have, you know, 30 people following you or 300 or 3,000 or 300,000, the principles are all the same. You might not get as big a returns when you?€™re just starting out, but this really is how people get bigger and go from being like, you know, someone with small readership to being someone with a large readership.

Darren: And the thing I guess we all need to remember is that those big launches, they started somewhere and they started with small launches and, you know, you tell some of your own story around that and I find, that?€™s what I find so encouraging is that the first launch, it may not be mind-blowing but it?€™s, it?€™s, the most important launch, your next launch is your most important one because it?€™ll take you towards that, those larger ones. So, yeah, it?€™s really exciting to hear. Thanks so much, Jeff, for the time that you?€™ve given us today. I?€™m going to link under this post to some of those videos that you?€™ve already launched and I?€™d really encourage people to check those out. So, thanks for your time today.

Jeff: Thank you Darren. I really enjoyed it.

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>Anonymous Blogging 101: a Quick and Dirty Primer

>

A Guest post by Treacle from The Lingerie Addict.

When the internet first became popular, many people loved the idea of creating a new identity online. Name, gender, age, hobbies ?€?anything and everything could be fabricated. But in the era of Web 2.0, people have a new fixation–authenticity. Nowadays, your readers want to know that you are who you say you are, and for a lot of bloggers that includes using your real name.

But some folks, for one reason or another, just aren?€™t comfortable attaching their given name to a blog. Perhaps they?€™re blogging about sex or eating disorders or unfair corporate policies, but whatever the subject, the one thing they all have in common is a behind-the-scenes writer who wants to blog freely but not have to worry about some of the potentially negative consequences of blogging.

As one of those anonymous bloggers, I want to share with you the reasons why some people choose to blog this way, a few different methods to hide your identity, and a couple of things to keep in mind if you decide to go the anonymous route. Because this article is just a basic primer, we won?€™t talk about proxy servers, re-routing, and all the other technologically elite methods of making your online trail invisible. As the title says, this is simply a ?€?quick and dirty?€? guide for people who want to know how to get started.

Why Blog Anonymously?

  1. Privacy & Safety?€”An anonymous blog allows for the most complete separation between your blogging life and your personal/professional life. For example, the once anonymous author Belle De Jour completed her PhD and began her career as a scientific researcher while blogging about her other job as a sex worker. Being public with her identity from the get-go would almost certainly have limited her career options. As another aside (and this is especially true for bloggers who write about sensitive subjects like sex, sex work, and pornography) blogging anonymously helps to control the risk of stalkers?€”those people who are determined to pay you unwanted and uninvited attention. Finally, anonymous blogging makes it clear that you?€™re only writing for yourself; your place of employment needn?€™t worry about people thinking you?€™re a ?€?representative?€? of them.
  2. Honesty?€”Anonymous blogging allows some people to be more than honest than they might be if their real name was attached. For example, if you?€™re writing a blog about relationships, you may not want your name attached to that essay about your terrible date over the weekend. A blog identity that?€™s separate from your personal identity gives you a bit of breathing space that lets you write more openly and honestly.
  3. Personality & Character?€”Writing under a different name allows you to express different aspects of your personality, including parts that may not be appropriate to show at other times. In the same way that Superman was a cooler version of Clark Kent, your blog identity can be a cooler version of you. For example, my alter-ego Treacle is mellower, sexier, and more outgoing than the chick who shows up at my dayjob. Writing an anonymous blog gives me permission to play because I?€™m not dealing with the constraints of my already established ?€?mundane?€? personality.

Ways to Blog Anonymously

  1. Full-on anonymity?€”This style of anonymous blogging uses an obviously fake name (think John Doe), no photographs, no birthdate, no city, no hobbies, nothing identifying whatsoever. This is actually how I started blogging, and I don?€™t recommend it. Unless you are really, really, really good?€?it?€™s hard for people to feel attachment to a question mark.
  2. Semi-anonymity?€”In this type, you use a false name but share some identifying details. This is how I blog right now. Treacle isn?€™t my given name, but the photos of me are real. So are other details like my hobbies, interests, relationship status, and so on. You might call this ?€?everything but anonymity,?€? as in I share everything but the name on my driver?€™s license.
  3. ?€?Secret identity?€? anonymity?€”I know of quite a few anonymous bloggers who do this. In this style, you choose an authentic sounding first and last name, complete with its own Twitter, Facebook, mailing address, activities, and so on. A side effect of creating a new and fully-formed identity is that people believe they?€™re already interacting with the real you, and so don?€™t go looking for it. But the downside is that if it ever comes out you created a fictitious personality and put it out there as your own, your readers can feel massively betrayed. You also have to start doing this from the very beginning of your blog for it to work effectively.

How to Blog Anonymously?

First of all, you want to set up a separate e-mail address just for your blog, register your blog?€™s domain name anonymously (I think most folks do this anyway), and consider using software like Tor to make your IP address untraceable. Some bloggers refuse to blog from their personal or home computers; they?€™ll only use the libraries computer, for example. Other bloggers write while offline, and then copy and paste the entire post into the blog while Tor is turned on. You should also consider setting up separate Twitter, Facebook, and Paypal accounts and perhaps even buying a P.O. Box if you?€™ll need to send or receive goods later on.

Second, spend some time thinking about your pseudonym. Whatever you pick, that will be the identity always associated with your blog. In the same vein, spend some time thinking about your boundaries. What are you okay with sharing? What is absolutely off limits? What are you unsure about right now but will revisit a month or two down the road? For example, I never share the names or any identifying details of friends, family, and intimate partners on my blog. I don?€™t even make up pseudonyms; I just call them by nouns like ?€?The Boyfriend,?€? ?€?The Best Friend,?€? or ?€?The Cousin.?€? You want to work out the answers to these questions before you start posting.

Third and finally, just keep your mouth shut. If you don?€™t want anyone to know who you are, don?€™t tell anyone. Plain and simple.

What are Some Other Things to Consider?

  1. The only foolproof way to keep from being found out is to never blog at all. Therefore, you should start blogging under the assumption that you?€™ll be discovered one day. It?€™s depressing, I know, but it?€™s important to think about. One day, someone will recognize you and very possibly expose you. So, before blogging about anything, think about the potential consequences of that exposure. Whether it?€™s losing your jobs, losing your kids, or losing your freedom be prepared for the worst possible outcome.
  2. Anonymous blogging is not a free pass to be an asshole. Aside from the possibility that you?€™ll eventually be found out (see above), you are what you blog. Nice, nasty, or in between the people you attract are going to reflect what you write.
  3. It?€™s easier to start out with a lot of anonymity and open up over time than to do the reverse. If you?€™re not sure exactly how much you want to share just yet, start out by sharing a little less. You can always give more, but you can?€™t take anything back once it?€™s out there.

I hope this article helps you understand a little bit more about why some people prefer the anonymous approach, and, if you?€™re thinking about blogging anonymously, I hope it gives you a solid place to start. If you have any questions (about lingerie or anonymous blogging!), feel free to write me at thelingerieaddict@gmail.com.

anonymous-blogging-101.jpgAbout the Author: Treacle is a 25 year old knickers junkie who started blogging because her friends threatened to tape her mouth shut if she didn?€™t stop talking about her underwear. She welcomes lingerie lovers of every nation and persuasion to her blog, The Lingerie Addict.

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>The Unmissable Secret of Long Term Blogging Success.

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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

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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.

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>5 Ways I’m Using Facebook to Drive Traffic, Build Brand and Increase Reader Engagement

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I was always a doubter when it came to using Facebook to promote a blog. I’m not sure why – but despite my best efforts I couldn’t seem to get Facebook to ‘work’ as well as I could with Twitter when it came to engaging readers, driving traffic and building community.

However in the last few months things have changed – Facebook has become HOT for me, at on my photography blog.

I’m pretty sure it’s more about how I’m using Facebook than any particular change at Facebook but I’ve started to see it become a lot more useful in a few ways including driving traffic (see chart below), increasing reader engagement and building brand. Here’s the traffic from facebook over the last 13 months (click to enlarge):

facebook-traffic-dps.png

There were always a few days of spiked traffic (usually when we did a post that went a little viral) but the last 6 or so weeks we’ve seen a nice up swing in traffic).

All the action happens on the Digital Photography School Facebook page where the bulk of what happens is simply us pulling in new posts from the blog as status updates using the ‘Networked Blogs’ application – however in the last few months we’ve also started to try a little more reader engagement. Here’s what’s worked:

1. We Ask Questions

The best thing that we do (and I have my forum administrator help with dPS facebook page so it literally is a ‘we’) is simply asking questions of those who ‘like’ us on Facebook. Every day or two we pose a simple question that asks readers either for

  • their opinion on some aspect of photography
  • to share an experience that they’ve had
  • to tell us something about the photography gear that they use
  • to do something fun

These simple questions go crazy. Some examples include:

Interestingly when we ask the same questions on Twitter (where we have 1000 more followers than we have ‘likes’ on Facebook) we only get 10 or so answers to our questions where on Facebook we get hundreds (we’ve had as many as 700). The fact that Facebook allows our followers to see each others responses and that it’s less fleeting than Twitter is an advantage for this type of thing.

2. Promoted ‘Hot Facebook Status Updates”

When we have one of these question status updates/discussion going on Facebook we try to get more traffic to it from other sources. This largely happens in two ways:

  • Weekly Newsletter – in our weekly email newsletter we’ve been linking to one facebook discussion a week as a ‘hot on facebook’ link.
  • Twitter – because the ‘conversational aspect of facebook’ is so great I’ve started to tweet when there’s a good discussion going. It might seem odd to promote one social media account on another but it’s led to significant increases in interaction.

The benefit of highlighting what’s going on on our Facebook page has been two fold – firstly it boosts the numbers of responses to the questions we ask significantly.

Secondly it’s led to a big increase in the number of people who ‘like’ our pages. We’ve gone from several thousand connections on our facebook page to over 27,000 in a couple of months.

3. Reader Involvement in Shaping the Site

Every Friday morning as I’m scheduling posts on the blog for the weekend I ask the same question on Facebook. The question asks readers to suggest a theme for our weekend photography challenge (something we run each week on the blog where we name a theme and everyone goes away and takes a picture to come back and share relating to the theme).

We get a lot of great suggestions in this weekly thread of conversation and the added bonus is that it builds a little anticipation for the challenge itself.

Another thing I did last week was create a survey for our facebook friends that asked them some questions about the content that they’d like to see on dPS. Over 600 people took the survey from facebook giving us some amazing insights into topics for future posts.

4. Promotions

We recently launched a Travel Photography eBook on dPS and saw some really positive response from our promotional efforts on Facebook. I’ve never seen much success with ’selling’ on Facebook before but this time around we built some pre-launch buzz on the facebook page and released it to our facebook community before anyone else.

Our best conversions did come from email promotion but Facebook was probably our 2nd most effective place of promotion this time around. We did some status updates about it but also sent direct messages to all of those who have ‘liked’ our page.

5. Landing Page

This is very new – but I’ve recently added a ‘welcome’ landing tab for those arriving on our page who have not been there before and ‘liked’ it (I’ve also added it to the ProBlogger Facebook Page).

Screen shot 2010-06-30 at 12.15.39 PM.png

The idea here is to create a tab (using the FBML application) which is a customized greeting page for new people to your page. The page directs people to the ‘like’ button and sells benefits of making the connection. Next time they arrive on the page they are taken to the ‘wall’ tab and don’t see the welcome (Facebook allow you to set this up in the ‘page’ settings.

It’s too soon to tell what impact it is having but in talking to a few other web publishers this has seen significant increases in connections.

I’ve also seen others add other things in such a page including welcome videos, email newsletter subscription forms and other things that help them achieve some kind of ‘conversion’. The FBML application lets you add pretty much any html to the tab. I’ve so far just used an image file but hope to convert it to live html with links in it in the coming weeks.

Update: due to many people asking for more information on how I created my landing pages – I’ve just written an update of this post looking at how to create a facebook landing page for your blog.

What are You Doing that is Working on Facebook?

I feel like I’m still finding my way with the use of Facebook and am still experimenting with different aspects of it. We have a ‘tab’ for our eBooks which I’m not sure is overly effective, I want to find a way to get our readers sharing photos better and I’m sure I could be promoting our newsletter better – but it’s one of those things where I find experimenting with one thing at a time is best.

What are you doing with facebook that is working (or that isn’t)?

PS: I’m pretty sure that facebook is not a site that will work for every topic. For example on the ProBlogger facebook page we’ve not seen the same sorts of results – for ProBlogger Twitter seems better. I’ve heard from a few other bloggers mixed results including some amazing stories of increases in traffic.

Also worth noting is that earlier this year I made a significant change in the way that I used Facebook when I defriended around 4800 friends and made my personal facebook profile purely for personal friends and family and concentrated all of my facebook efforts on creating ‘fan pages’/’pages’ for each of my blogs. This was the best thing I’ve done on facebook and released me to develop the pages and use my personal account to build friendships and connections with real life friends.

Update: I’ve just written an update of this post looking at how to create a facebook landing page for your blog.

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5 Ways I’m Using Facebook to Drive Traffic, Build Brand and Increase Reader Engagement

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5 Ways I’m Using Facebook to Drive Traffic, Build Brand and Increase Reader Engagement

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