October 14, 2008

Find us over at InternetBrandingStrategy.com

After a year producing the Internet Branding Strategy blog on Blogger.com, I've decided its time to integrate the website and blog over at InternetBrandingStrategy.com.

I look forward to seeing you there - come and say hello!

A curious penguin's guide to social media (video)

Two hundred and sixty-eight penguins lived in the colony of beautiful emporor penguins in Antartica. Only Fred was curious and observant enough to discover a potentially devastating problem threatening their home - and pretty much no one listens to him. Its a problem shared by marketers and communicators today, whether we have realised it yet or not.
This 6-minute video - marking the first anniversary of Internet Branding Strategy - shows the three easy steps that I took, and showing in which direction you should start swimming (if you are not already doing so!)

I was thrilled to hear this morning that this, my first video, won a prize in a For Immediate Release contest designed to encourage business communicators like myself to experiment with video. My prize is tickets to attend Web 2.0 Expo Europe in Berlin, Germany, on October 21-23, 2009. Many thanks to FIR hosts Shel Holz and Neville Hobson for selecting my video to win the European prize. Its also quite a relief as, due to the short timeframe, I've already signed up for a few side-events and let clients know I'll be in town - could have been embarassing!

October 12, 2008

The 3 things to make you money from your blog

1. Know your niche audience
2. Know what they want online and give it to them again and again
3. Know how to learn from your successes and failures

This weekend I’m at Barcamp Munich. Two of the sessions on day one were devoted to this topic, and I’m sure it has been widely discussed elsewhere as is often the case at such events where bloggers get together.

For those that want to make a direct income from their blogs – and for many passionate bloggers this just isn’t the point, and others they profit indirectly from opportunities supported by their blogs – there is no getting around understanding who your audience is and what they want.

You need this information to create your own products and services to fulfill their needs, as in a traditional internet-based business. You also need it to attract or target sponsors, affiliate partners, advertisers, etc. I’d argue you need to know this information before you create your blog or internet business and define it accordingly.

I’d like to share with you three resources that have helped me in understanding the theories and techniques that lie behind these points. I’m a member of their communities, a satisfied customer of each, and as such an affiliate of each (so if you buy any of their products or services you’ll be helping to make my blog pay!) As far as I am aware, all of these is available only in English – perhaps translating and marketing key products into German would be a potential business idea for one of my fellow Barcampers. If so, I’d be happy to provide some introductions. If other good resources are available in German, I’d love to hear about that too.

Insider Secrets is the best-selling resource from the Internet Marketing Center. This is the best introduction that I believe I could have had into understanding internet marketing and, for example the principles of how to create a blog that will pay. Insider Secrets is comprehensive, well-written, and explains its concepts and techniques in an easily accessible way. It’s particularly good at understanding how to do and use research and set up and learn from web analytics. Insider Secrets consists of two ring-binders full of data, plus multiple CDs. One word of warning: I find the very American get-rich-quick hard-sell very annoying, and you may too. In my experience, once you get through the sales process this is a very professional organisation.

Internet Business Mastery Academy is currently my favourite resource. I’ve listened to the Internet Business Mastery podcasts for years, and by the time Jeremy ‘Sterling’ Frandson and Jason ‘Jay’ Van Orden launched their subscription-based community site, I really wanted to give them some money for everything I had already learned from them (as I had never got around to using their Paypal donate button). Not surprisingly, the subscription site is more comprehensive than the free resources. Internet Business Mastery Academy consists of a series of learning courses using video, audio and text, detailed resource lists and ‘how to’ videos, and has an active forum, including links to internet business mastermind groups.

Teaching Sells is a subscription-based community created by Copyblogger.com founder Brian Clark and his partners. While I don’t believe it is open to wider subscription at the moment, it is definitely one to watch.

Do you know of any other resources or suggestions that would be useful to those trying to make their blogs pay? I’ll respond to comments in English or German.