Day 4 31DBBB – Analyze a Blog in Your Niche

Whew. Today it is NOT about me and my blog on the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog quest.

Oh!  Don’t forget that this is something YOU can do to.  Click here to get started.

Today’s assignment from ProBlogger is to Analyze a Blog in Your Niche.

Alrighty, I have already admitted to writing one of them, there Mommy Blogs so I am Analyzing Dooce.

You might notice that I don’t mess around.

  1. Take 15 minutes to look at what topics are being discussed/not discussed – Today Dooce is busy and has a guest blogger.  It is a very funny post about her favorite tweets with screenshots of those tweets.  I looked back further and saw the photo of the day, the photo of her dog of the day and the daily design.  In each post, photo or design tip there is humor.  Nothing that I looked through was very serious.
  2. What is the voice? It is light and silly with sarcasm.
  3. How often are they posting? Between all the daily things it comes out to 4 times a dayish.
  4. What kind of reader engagement is there? Tons.  It is Dooce.
  5. What is your impression of the design? Her photos are amazing.  I love that her header is small so the content and photos can be large.  I don’t understand the headers without her name in them, but she is Dooce.  I don’t think I could get by with that.  The headers are always unique and fun to look at.
  6. Is there monetization? Yep.  There is a Kodak ad, a Febreze ad and Google ad network ads showing.
  7. Traffic analysis – Dooce has an alexa ranking of 14, 240 so it appears she is doing pretty well…

He suggests that I subscribe to her RSS for awhile to get a better feel for the schedule and tone of the blog.  I already do that via email, but haven’t checked it in awhile so I will try to look at it more frequently.

The point of this exercise isn’t to COPY or BECOME someone in your niche, just to learn from it.

I am encouraged by looking at Dooce’s site more analytically.  I have been worried that I don’t really have a niche.  I write about life and take pictures and tell silly stories.  It appears that is her niche too…and she is doing OK.

Who do YOU learn from?

Day 3 31DBBB – promote your article!

I am three days into the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Summer Challenge (I am doing the work over at my personal blog, June Cleaver Nirvana and reporting about it here at the B2B blog) which you can still join – click here for information.

A quick recap -

Today’s assignment was to promote a post that you have already written through several channels.  Here were some of the suggested channels:

  1. Enlist the help of other bloggers – I loved this article about link building and think it brings up several really good points.  I receive requests daily to talk about this or link to that, but rarely is there a relationship in place that makes that type of request something I would consider.  BUT I have several blogger buddies that are SUPER helpful when I need help promoting something.  One of those people is Cammie.  She has helped me numerous times and I am always glad to help her if needed because I know whatever she is wanting to promote is of a quality that is easy to “sell”.
  2. Tweetin’ and Facebookin’ – Leveraging the audience that already follows you can ONLY be helpful.
  3. Social Bookmarking – Sites like Digg and StumbleUpon can create HUGE waves of traffic if you are promoting the right thing to the right audience at the right time.  I have been on StumbleUpon for several years and benefit from it every month.  Even things that I wrote that were Stumbled awhile ago every once in awhile will have a Stumble rebirth and get traffic.  Not everything is a good match for these sites, but when you write something that hits it big it can be worth all the time and effort you have to put into these sites.  Having friends that can also Stumble or Digg is a GOOD THING.
  4. Internal links – Don’t just rely on other people to link to you…link to yourself!  If you don’t promote yourself, who will?  One of the most amazing inventions EVER is the What Would Seth Godin Do? WordPress Plugin.  The WWSGD plugin displays a message on your blog to visitors of your choosing.  I started using it several months ago and set it up to promote my favorite blog post the first 3 times you visit my site.  Since installing this message, my favorite post has received 100s of visitors that would have just LEFT my site.  And because I can’t help myself, here is the link to my favorite post…Here in These Parts, Holly is Known as Fierce Trappersee how I just promoted a post in this post about promoting a post?
  5. Newsletters – This is such a great idea if you have email addresses.  Which I wasn’t smart enough to collect…moving on
  6. Other Blogs and Forums – There has been a big discussion on the B2B blog whether linking within a comment is good blog manners.  I believe that if it is really, really relevant than it is a great idea.  If you are linking to something that isn’t really, really relevant, than I think you will have some online karma backlash.  Forums like The Blog Frog and SITs Girls who are hosting this summer challenge is the PERFECT place to drop a link and visit the links that others are promoting.
  7. Email Signatures – I have most of my blogs mentioned in my email signature, but I NEVER thought about promoting a particular post there.  What a great idea!
  8. Follow-up posts – Follow up posts increase your internal linking ability and continue the story.  It is a win-win situation.  An example of this would be this 31DBBB series where I have been obsessively linking back to what has already been written…in the future I may go through and add forward links to make it easier to follow the entire story.
  9. Advertise your post – Hey, you could use B2B for that!  You could go the traditional advertising route, or enlist the help of other B2B member bloggers by submitting a request.  Genius.
  10. Pitch to Mainstream Media – ProBlogger suggests pitching an interesting story to the traditional media.  I have been approached on several occasions by the mainstream media due to something I have written.  I hadn’t thought of going to my contacts with stories that they might find interesting.  Watch the Wall Street Journal tomorrow for my interview due to my purchase of the Booty Pop! (I will link to that tomorrow when it is on their website).
  11. Pitch to other online sources – this could be as simple as asking to guest post.  You could modify your content a bit so it isn’t exactly the same as your original article or expand on your original thought and link back to your post.

OK.  The mission today is to choose 2-3 ways to promote an article and DO IT.

I have chosen to promote a recent story I wrote about a marital conflict – Tossing Memories because I think it is something people can relate to.  I am going to:

  • RT and RFB the link – retweet and re-facebook since I did that the first time around.
  • Stumble the post myself.
  • Post the link on BlogFrog forum.
  • I am going to think about ways I could run a B2B campaign that could help me build links and use blogs to advertise.

Since I wrote about it here and linked to it, that should be extra credit…don’t ya think?

What methods have you used to promote your posts successfully?

Day 2 of 31DBBB…thank God this one was easier

The day one assignment is still floating around in my head and I may never be satisfied with the results and I am trying to be OK with that.

The day two assignment is MUCH easier so if you still want to jump into this, please do…I don’t want to scare you off with yesterday.  Click here for more information on joining the ProBlogger 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Summer Challenge co-hosted by Blog Frog and the SITs girls.

Today’s assignment was to write a list post.

This isn’t something that I use very often on my personal blog, but I use it quite frequently here at B2B and on Burb Mom where I write about local happenings in Dallas-Fort Worth.  Lists seem to come naturally when the post is informational.

And as I mentioned yesterday, I don’t do much informational on June Cleaver Nirvana.

But today I took the challenge and wrote a list.

The 31DBBB handbook has quite a few good article links and examples of different kinds of list posts.  One article I found really helpful was a past article on ProBlogger:  10 Steps to the Perfect List Post – oh, and it is a list.

Genius.

My list post has to do with this…

Click over if you dare to find actual information on my personal blog.

I promise it isn’t overly informational…because that wouldn’t fit my elevator pitch.

B2B Blog Button Winners

We have 2 winners for our B2B blog button giveaway!!! Thanks so much to everyone who participated! We truly appreciate you spreading the word about Business 2 Blogger.

Louisa over at Ma21cuteboy.blogspot.com















Janel over at A Mom’s Take

Please send your button ad (125 by 125px) with a link that you want us to use to [email protected]

Thanks for participating and stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon!

Shauna

Day 1 of 31DBBB…oh no!

I started the ProBlogger 31 Days to Build a Better Blog today – it isn’t too late for you to join me…

see here for details

and I am already stumped.

Wow.

That was quick.

The day one task is to come up with an elevator pitch for your blog.

Something quick and easy that will explain what you do in a few sentences.  Out of that  elevator pitch you can pull a tag line.

I write about my life.  I don’t inform.  I don’t give advice.  I don’t usually review things.  I don’t usually give stuff away.  I just write and post pictures about what is happening around me.

The problem with an elevator pitch for me is that I need to come up with a reason to send people to my blog.

And I don’t think…

‘cuz you will like me?

…is very compelling.

So.  I need to pull out the positive things about my blog that might actually entertain readers.  And that is where I am stuck.  I believe that people read my blog because it is entertaining.

It certainly isn’t for the cooking.

Or the advice.

And how do I pitch the fact that I am “selling” entertainment?  When I am in the entertainment industry (not adult), there seems to be an overwhelming amount of competition and what would make someone choose reading my little blog over going to the movies, watching TV or reading Dooce?

And let’s just say that someone DOES forgo the movies, TV and Dooce to stop by my little blog…how do I SAY that they did without bragging?

I mean they didn’t go to the movies!

I mean they didn’t watch TV!

I mean they didn’t read Dooce!

Holy crap.

This would be much easier if I was selling Acme anvils.  An anvil can be described and marketed in its own anvil niche.

I am closing up my blog and selling anvils.

Anvils are tangible.

Heavy.

Obviously marketed.

Yep.  Anvils ‘R Me.  Bet the Twitter name is even available.

Crap.

OK.  Seriously, I need to think of something.  Something that I can work with because I suspect that the next 30 days of activities might have something to do with building on this assignment.

I have been toying with the tagline of some form of “Holly’s life in technicolor” or “Motherhood now available in technicolor” because I think it captures a little bit of what I am all about on June Cleaver Nirvana.

I present my life in a brighter, sillier way than it is lived.  Not sweating the small stuff has turned into mocking the small stuff on the internet for Holly’s entertainment.

I have found that it has changed the way I live my life for the better.  No longer are little problems stumbling blocks for my day because I look at them through the perspective of how funny this annoyance could be portrayed.

Hopefully that can be a pick me up to others who may be dealing with life.  Hopefully that is a little perspective inspiration?

It has helped me view my life as though there were a laugh track.

Wouldn’t that be super cool if there was an ACTUAL laugh track?

OK, so I am going with a working elevator pitch that goes something like this:

June Cleaver Nirvana is Holly’s life portrayed in technicolor.  It is motherhood with an implied laugh track because life is just better that way.

I am posting this quickly because I won’t be able to just let it go.

Have you had trouble with this assignment?

What have you come up with for your blog?

I joined the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge

Take the Problogger Challenge with SITS and BlogFrog
I have been blogging for more than 3 years.  I have rotated through seasons of blog growth and audience dwindling.

Yes, there has definitely been dwindlage.

When I started blogging my life was very different.  I had a baby.  A baby who slept 2 naps a day.  I had a toddler in preschool for several hours several times a week.  Everyone went to bed at 7 pm.  When added up, there were several hours of time I could be online and not disrupt my family or neglect my house.

I spent that time visiting other blogs, chatting on twitter and being generally social online.

Now I have three boys.  None even would consider a nap.  It is summer and the camps are infrequent.  No one considers 7 pm an age-appropriate bedtime.  When added up, there are several spare moments throughout the day I can be online and every night after the boys get to bed I frantically do what I NEED to do online.

There is NO leisurely visiting, chatting or being social.

I hate that.

I miss it.

I also hate that my blog has been neglected.  I slap posts up if time allows and tweet their existence in a plea for traffic…

Not exactly a plan for success.

I have heard about the ProBlogger 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and almost purchased it several times.  Today I was over at Blog Frog and found out that the SITS girls are conducting a Summer Challenge for 31DBBB.

It starts tomorrow.

I am signed up.

Wanna join me?

Here are the steps to get involved:

I will be periodically writing about my experience with the 31DBBB Summer Challenge here at the B2B blog.

I hope you will join me!

Holly is a founder of Business 2 Blogger and writes June Cleaver Nirvana.  She tweets as @Texasholly.

B2B Case Study – Promote Your Book.

Book Campaigns have proven to be the most popular of all the Business2Blogger Campaign types, and it just makes sense. Bloggers are writers, and mostly voracious readers. They are constantly looking for blog content, and if they can score a free book and suddenly have something to write about, that is one happy Blogger. But let’s look at why the author is ecstatic too…

Who can benefit?

Authors big and small, with global distribution or locally self-published. Publishers. Publicists. PR reps. You.

What do I gain?

  • expanded readership
  • very inexpensive exposure
  • targeted promotion to appropriate consumers/readers
  • blogger influence – the kind book buyers respond to
  • permanent book reviews, helps search engine optimization
  • incoming links, helps search engine optimization
  • more Amazon reviews
  • increased Facebook/Twitter following
  • potential buyer list development
  • SALES!

What do I do?

  1. Run a Campaign on B2B. Business2Blogger gives you the ability to run a basic Free Campaign to find bloggers who are interested in reading and reviewing your work, or for a small fee you can run a Paid Campaign and target either higher traffic blogs, or a specific blog genre.
  2. Decide how to compensate your Bloggers. This step’s pretty easy. Send them a free book to read and review. B2B’s only requirement for running Campaigns is that you must offer each Blogger either cash payment or something valued at $15 or more. If your book’s retail value is less than $15, consider offering something else as well, and consider donating a blog giveaway…we’ll get more into giveaways in a minute…

Read More…

B2B Blog Button Giveaway

Hello B2B friends!

We have been busy over the past few weeks pulling together some great ways to promote your business, blog, website, event or whatever on Business 2 Blogger!  Check out our advertising opportunities here!

To CELEBRATE (its completion and Shauna getting her life back), we would like to give away 2 FREE advertising spots on the B2B Blog!  Your 125px by 125px button will run for 3 months right there….

Here is how you enter:

1.  Sign up for Business 2 Blogger if you haven’t already!

See how easy that was?

Now click on the confirmation in your email inbox and leave a comment below that you joined.  Thanks!

2.  Want some extra entries? Each of these things will earn you one additional entry – Please leave a comment below for EACH entry…This is how we track your participation!

3.  Want even MORE entries? Seriously, this is getting ridiculous…

You can Tweet, Facebook & post DAILY until the contest ends on 7/15/10.  Once again, please leave a comment below for EACH entry.

Tweet/Facebook this contest :

  • Get a free advertising spot @Biz2blogger http://bit.ly/dae0O2 #biz2blogger
  • I love @Biz2Blogger!  Check out their free ad spot giveaway: http://bit.ly/dae0O2 #biz2blogger
  • I just signed up for Business2Blogger.  Whoo hoo!  Check it out at http://business2blogger.com//?page_id=899 #biz2blogger
  • OR Use your own words.  Please include a link to either this contest http://bit.ly/dae0O2 or www.business2blogger.com and the #biz2blogger hashtag

Increasing Your Online Sphere of Influence

One of the things that we look at when choosing a blogger to recommend for a specific assignment is their online sphere of influence.

This, of course, starts with blog traffic – as we can see externally through:

  • Alexa scores
  • Traffic estimates from places like Compete.com
  • Google PR
  • Health* of reader interaction as seen in # and quality of comments (*Doesn’t that sound all professional and fancy?  I just made that up.  Really, I did.)

Blog traffic is important, but the following things are also important:

  • Twitter follower count and quality
  • Facebook page likes/Facebook NetworkedBlogs followers or even in some cases Facebook friend count
  • Google Friend Connect
  • Other online communities – ning, BlogFrog, forums, local sites
  • Other places your writing appears

The good news is that you can affect some of these things quickly to bolster your online profile.  Blog traffic is something that usually grows slowly over time, but Twitter/Facebook/Google friends can change in a matter of weeks of work.

Here are a few things you can start on today to expand your online influence:

  1. I suggest starting with Twitter.   What you want are followers that you actually WANT to interact with.  You don’t want spam followers because they are fickle and annoying – no body part profile pics, no Twitter handles that include some rendition of “FastMoney4U”, and no followers that ONLY RT (re-tweet). Find a friend on Twitter that has a good, solid following and go through who he/she is following and add people from that list that might be a good fit for you.  There are limits on how many people you can follow in a day, so just set aside a little time each day to add to your list.  I have found that about 40-60% of the people I follow, follow me back.  These numbers get higher as I find people who really do want to hear what I tweet.
  2. Invite all your Facebook friends to like your blog Facebook Page or follow you on NetworkedBlogs.  I know it seems horrifically self-promotional to do this, but most of your friends won’t mind and will be happy to help you out.  The ones that don’t want your invitation can just not participate.  So there.  Again, NetworkedBlogs has a very low limit of people you can invite each day, but it is something I have gotten into the habit of doing each morning and steadily it is making a difference.
  3. Volunteer to write for another site.  It could be a one time guest post or something to which you regularly contribute.  Often you will find that they will accept things that you have already written so it might be easier than you think!

The other thing I think is invaluable when you are building up your online profile is…promotion of others.  I know that sounds self-serving when I phrase it that way, BUT it is just great karma.  People LOVE to have what they are doing mentioned on Twitter or posted to your FB page.  It needs to be something that you truly love and admire and done with NO reciprocation expectations.  Get in the habit of tweeting your favorite posts each day or linking to something on your blog or FB page that your readers will enjoy.  There is no downside other than the few moments it will take.

Good luck!

What tricks have you found to increase your online sphere of influence?

P.S. To get you started, here is my twitter: @TexashollyI will follow ya back! And don’t forget about @biz2blogger ‘s twitter too…I am a little behind in my follows over there, but will get to it soon.

Holly is a founder of Business 2 Blogger.  She usually writes useless and non-informational crap at June Cleaver Nirvana.

First 6 B2B Bloggers pick up Chevy Malibus

It is a very exciting week for Business 2 Blogger because 6 B2B bloggers are picking up Chevy Malibus to test drive for a month and blog about their experience.

This is the first of many hand-picked Business 2 Blogger campaigns.  Up until this point bloggers have been chosen for different campaigns (if they were qualified) by speed and dexterity or luck of the draw.

We will ALWAYS have opportunities where speed and dexterity or luck of the draw is the way bloggers are chosen.

That is why we started Business 2 Blogger!  We want to get every blogger involved.

But what about BIGGER opportunities? Opportunities where a business needs a SPECIFIC blogger?

We are thrilled to have those too!

And this is the first.

The local Chevy dealers needed three mom-type bloggers in both Houston and Dallas areas to test drive the Malibu for a month and blog about their experience for Gotta Love Chevy’s Mom’s Time Out.

Business 2 Blogger presented them with some choices based on the B2B data base, those who applied for the opportunity, and all sorts of fancy Holly-made charts and graphs that plotted Alexa scores to the power of  Twitter followers divided by the square root of Facebook fans (if divisible by Google Friend Connect followers evenly) and multiplied by Page Rank.

She then fell exhausted on the ground and decided to just pick bloggers to present to Chevy based on their astrological sign (just kidding, Holly understands Alexa rankings MUCH better than astrological signs).

As you know if you have been following the blogger emails, this is the beginning of a series of one month test drives for Chevy in Dallas, Houston and many other cities.

It gets even more exciting…

over the next few months Business 2 Blogger will be working on a blogger user based system where you will be able to input all the information you want us to know about you.

So, when a company is looking for a Topeka coupon blogger with 7 children who are vegetarian yet raise cattle, we can deliver YOU.

You are the Topeka coupon blogger with 7 children who are vegetarian, yet raise cattle, aren’t you?

In the meantime, you can follow along on the B2B Houston and Dallas Mom’s Time Out bloggers -  They will be tweeting with the hashtag #mtotexas.

***

What is your DREAM blogging assignment – no time, money or geographical limitations?