Blog Branding & Marketing
This post will be covering - LIVE! - the key points made at the Nuffnang Blogopolist Conference during Class 6: Blog Branding & Marketing.
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For all the key points made during each of the seven classes, check out the Nuffnang Blogopolis 2011 schedule, complete with links to each classes notes.

Class 6: Blog Branding & Marketing

Speaker: Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.

Tips and points made by myself will be indicated with [Bree].

[UPDATE: For a full list of tools & resources mentioned – with URLs – see here]

Key Points…

  • Tips to attendees – take the opportunity to interact with those around you here today.
  • [Everyone is discussing biggest day of traffic they got and why… insert lots of chatter here ;) ]
  • Darren goes to events with five questions in mind. One is what’s your biggest day of traffic?
  • Darren apologises for being sleep deprived. New baby at home! No need to apologise, Darren!
  • A lot of people are looking for “The Answer” but there is no blueprint for a successful blog.
  • The more successful bloggers have forged their own way in some way. Some have principles in common though, but there is no one approach.
  • It’s easier to market a quality blog. Put some thought into the design etc.
  • Mantra: Experiment, tweak, repeat. Blogs have been an evlolution.
  • 31 Days to Build A Better Blog started as a series of blog posts.
  • Aim for consistent, long-term growth. Momentum seems to grow. It doesn’t come over night. Darren’s goal: Aim to grow by 10-20% per month. Always try to beat your own record.
  • Don’t focus on the readers you don’t have. Don’t ignore the readers who are already in front of you. Love your current readers to death and they will promote your blog for you.
  • A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. If that’s the case, what do you want people to say about you?
  • Think about the feelings you want people to have when they visit/leave your site?
  • The more you know about the type of reader you want, the better position you are in to find them. It’ll also help you to form your content, and monetise your blog.
  • Try building a reader profile. Darren did this for his blogs. Include name, age etc, and where they hang out online.
  • Every blog post you write, takes you closer to being the brand you want to be, or takes you away from it.
  • When people talk about your blog, it’s about the content.
  • CONTENT: What kind draws in readers? Some posts engage readers and get shared around the web. Content that builds traffic solves a problem or need in some way.
  • With content: Inform, inspire and interact. That’s what they come online for.
  • When Darren started Dig Photog School – there were two types of content, one for regular readers (eg: How to hold a camera). Other content that got shared around was the long list posts, they were about generating buzz.
  • “Sneeze pages” get people lost within your site, and by the time they’ve come out, they’ve subscribed.
  • Opinion is something that can go viral online. But when you express your opinion, are you willing to listen to other opinions. And is creating this kind of discussion going to build or hurt your brand?
  • Self depreciating humour also does well online.
  • You may have “seasonal posts” – eg: How to photograph fireworks does well on July 4.
  • Look for what you can write about – events – that will work for niche. Eg: Create a blog post for events about to take place. [Bree – OR LIVE BLOG!]
  • Give people projects, things they can go away and do. Eg: 15 images on a particular theme.
  • Infographics can also do really well.
  • Ultimately it comes down to what you know/are interested in and what people are searching for.
  • Tip 2: Get off your blog. You need to promote it yourself. How to do this? It becomes easier over time. Visualise your home base as your blog, and have bases elsewhere – eg: Twitter, Flickr and other blogs.
  • Befriend other bloggers [Bree – YES! DO THIS! Some bloggers have become some of my best friends]. Look at how you can help each other. Start by mentioning each other.
  • Guest posts can do well – it depends on the niche as to how well it goes.
  • Consider advertising your blog. Try StumbleUpon.
  • Pitch other bloggers – all the same rules apply as those we wish PRs would follow.
  • Where are your readers engaging? For Dig Photog School it’s Facebook, Flickr and Google+ now too.
  • Media – particularly local – might pick up your pitches which can get you traffic.
  • When DPS started, Darren tought people how to use their camera at the local library. These interactions can help.
  • Hook people in! A lot of people spend time looking for new readers, but don’t hook them into your blog. Try RSS and newsetter. Darren is so glad he started the newsletter – around 600K subscribers. When it goes out it’s the biggest day of traffic each week.
  • Add to communities and forums (eg: Ning). DR waiting until readership had grown before launching his forum. Looked through blog for top 20 commenters and gave them early access.
  • DPS gives readers homework and challenges. Eg: Go take a photo on this and come back and share the photos.
  • Use social proof – highlight how many readers you have or comments on posts. Also: if you hit a milestone eg: Subscriber numbers. Celebrate the community and cheerlead that.
  • Build anticipation. Write your content in a way that points forward. “Next week I’m going to expand on this post…”. Give people a reason to return.
  • Get people going deep into your site via sneeze pages, but also have a clear call to action eg: a newsletter subscription.
  • What other people say about you is more important than what you say about you.
  • Enable sharing options on your site and educate your readers as to how they can share.
  • Reward good sharing. If you see someone sharing your content on twitter, thank them for it! It works.
  • Ask your readers to share stuff. Not necessarily every post. People will do it – they just need the invitation.
  • Real life meet-ups – these people become the most active participants on Facebook etc. They start to engage with you on a deeper level.
  • Occasionally have live interaction – eg: Ustream.
  • Make your readers famous. Link to their blogs. The more you share, the more likely it’ll come back to you. Be generous.
  • A note from Darren’s son on blogging: “Tell [the internet] something important”. He’s got the key to successful blogging. :)  [ENDS]


>> View Class 5: Editorial vs Advertorial
>> View Class 4: Working With Brands
>> View Class 3: Improving Blog Content
>> View Class 2: Blog Photography
>> View Class 1: Tools Of The Trade
>> Back to the Nuffnang Blogopolis conference schedule


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