Just Heather

It took me about a year and half to actually finish writing my 40×40 list. I wouldn’t stoop to the hubby’s level and cheat (#1. Put 40 items on my 40×40 list.), though. As I got more involved in working towards my goals, I found that the subject came up a lot with my friends, especially MFJ. During one GNO, we window shopped at a mall and saw the cutest shoes. With heels. I commented that I could never wear them because I can’t walk in heels. She stopped in her tracks and told me I absolutely had to learn and she could help. It became #40 on the list.

Enter BlogHer. The one and only professional conference that’s all about the shoes. When celebrity guests include Tim Gunn and Carson Kressley, fashion is definitely at the forefront. MFJ informed me that I would absolutely be wearing heels with my pretty dresses for the BlogHer cocktail parties. She was determined to teach me.


After a week of walking around the house on my tippy toes, we planned one of our infamous girls’ night in. It happened to be National Pina Colada Day so, naturally, that was our beverage of choice. We began with dinner, then moved onto pina coladas (including virgins for the littles). After the pineapple-coconut slushies were consumed, we sent the girls upstairs for their sleepover portion of the evening. After a few quick lessons, I was suddenly circling the house in heels (gotta love an open floor plan). We spent another hour or so walking and talking (and, okay, drinking pina coladas) before she deemed me sufficiently able to walk in heels and we collapsed on the couch.

Yet, I didn’t cross it off the list. I wanted to prove that I could actually wear them regularly. And, let’s face it, I want to be able to graduate to some serious stripper heels. Otherwise, what’s really the point? I wore casual, baby heels during the day at BlogHer, then donned my shiny new black heels each evening when I got to wear the pretty, pretty cocktail dresses. I survived the weekend rather well, I think, but I still didn’t cross it off the list. A few hours each evening just didn’t have me convinced. For BlogIndiana, I rocked the heels all day long.

That should have been good enough. I never tripped, never toppled and never kicked them off (as that would have meant losing their power). I should have stopped there. There really was no need to cavort around downtown Indy, amidst the freaks and geeks. Oh, yeah—stormtroopers! Who spends GenCon weekend in downtown Indy and doesn’t get to see stormtroopers? Not me! It was an absolutely fabulous time hanging with people I adore, great bloggers I’d never met in real life and all new friends, documented much more efficiently by fabulous people who are not me.

All while crossing an item off the list. I have officially learned to walk in heels. And I have the blisters to prove it.

Live Blogging Session #4

Shawn Smith, Netstuffers & IndyMojo

Making Money Formula
Blog + Engaged Users = Money

Growth of Media: Advertising is contracting, but it is still in power
Internet advertising is out there and you can be a part of it!

How Online Advertising Works

Types of Advertising
Most Common: Banner ads

  • Mostly unobtrusive—no worse or better than ads in newspapers
  • Easy to install or maintain
  • Easy to track—you know exactly how many times someone has clicked on an ad
  • Can be built into the layout of your site so it isn’t bothering people
  • Dynamic or Static
  • Widely available
  • Regulated a bit by IAB
  • Con—can be turned off by a user’s browser

Other kinds of online ads:

  • Text links
  • Sponsored Sections
  • Interstitials—breaks into the page a user is heading towards and presents a full page ad
  • Peel Aways
  • Backgrounds—MySpace takeovers are a good example
  • Sponsored Articles—product reviews, etc. (Transparency is key; people should know it is paid content.)
  • Vertical Markets—allowing a company to sponsor a particular section of your website; created pages on your site that are run by a company as opposed to actual website content
  • Pop-Ups—everyone now knows pop-ups are evil

Ad Networks
Gorilla Nation, Quigo, AdBrite, Yahoo, Vibrant, Google, Value Click
You serve their ads—ad networks are middle men:
+Easy to Setup
+Automatic (Kinda)—when you setup a position on your website and they serve the ads to you.
+Lots of Choices
+Great Start

-If users don’t interact, you don’t earn
-take a lot of effort
-low value

As Terminology/Models
CPC – cost per click:
+Based on click through average, so sites with little traffic can still earn
+Most networks still use CPC model
-Earnings are spotty and depend heavily on placement and content
-Awful for discussion forums or comment boards
-Advertisers love them—feel like their getting something out of it
-Needs effort to earn a lot of money

CPM – cost per thousand impressions
+Good for sites with lots of traffic
+Low risk, little effort
+Good for brand awareness
-Little guarantee of success for advertisers (works best for companies that are interested in branding)
-hard to find networks that use it

CPA – cost per action
+very high payout for little response
+advertisers see the ROI for this as very high and are often open to negotiations
-viewed as annoying by some users
-lose banner space in the hopes that someone follows through

eCPM – average

How to Make Money
Do it yourself—you can do much better than ad networks (use them to fill space when you haven’t sold advertising)
To Attract National, you’ll need many uniques
To attract local, you have to have a local niche
To attract both, know your audience.

Key Selling Stats and Terms
Location of your viewers
Unique visitors
Pageviews per user (how many pages are your visitors seeing when they come?)
Time on Site
ROI—can you guarantee a good return on investment because your users are engaged?

Track your users for yourself
Ask information via optional profile questions when people register
Items of interest: age, job status, relationship status, education level, race, favorite brands, sex
Gives you marketability with potential advertisers
Opens the door to targeted ads

Additional Selling Points
User Loyalty
User level of engagement
Consistent Exposure
Tracking clicks and hits

If something isn’t performing well, be honest with your advertisers. Come up with ideas that may help.

Know Your Potential Client
National vs. Local—start with local ads until your traffic is high enough to dive into the national realm
Relevancy to your content
Timely or brand building—is it an event promotion or just brand awareness?
Big pockets or little pockets? Be aware of the budget for the clients you approach

Be prepared to hear “Prove It”—share stats, provide Google Analytic screen shots, offer a free trial

Due Diligence
You’ll have to put in the time and effort, but you’ll see a return.

Live Blogging Session #3

Marcia Taylor, Newstex

Blurring of Mass Media:
Mainstream journalists who vblog
Bloggers have moved to media outlets
Corporations are blogging
Twitter is breaking news before CNN.
Blogs are now mainstream.
Newspapers are now providing more material on their blogs than in their print medium.

Syndication—when things have a life outside of itself.
Blogs –>RSS, Email newsletters, ???

Types of Syndication
Free or Bartered—no monetary payment, but blogs can find benefit from added exposure
Ad-Supported—paid a percentage of revenue from the websites where your content appears
Licensed—distributed with copyright, licensing, royalties

The rest of this session was basically a sales presentation on her company. This is where I zoned out and played on Twitter & Facebook instead. Why can’t I remember to click Uno when I’m playing on Facebook? I am never going to win this game.

Live Blogging Speaker/Twitter Panel Q&A

Chris Brogan
Amy Stark
Krista Neher
Chris Baggott
Chris Lucas

This appears to be the official Chris panel, but they are also very fascinating tweeps. Clearly, I’ll have to label their answers by last name. Looking forward to hearing what they have to say. I’m not sure I’ll be able to capture it well in this format, but I’ll certainly try. This is not at all a full transcript, nor is it word for word because I’m not a stenographer. I’ve tried to capture the best quotes on the questions that most interested me.

Q. (BradJWard): Blogging is dead? The conversation has left the blogosphere? Discuss.
Brogan: “Knitting is not dead 100 years later, nor is blogging 8 years later.”
Baggott: Companies are trying to get more human.
Lucas: As marketers, you get tired of your stuff long before the market does. People are willing to write things off as dead before they see the real impact. You can’t get bored with a tool before you have conquered it.
Neher: The key to a successful campaign is to integrate all the tools. A blog can be a really great centerpiece to a good campaign.
Stark: Blogging is great for marketing, but it’s really customer service. Too often we put social media in the PR/Marketing department when it really should be in customer service.

Q. (audience): Chris Brogan, on your earlier keynote you mentioned sharing information and rolodex. For the sake of argument, if I have Senators and supermodels, I should really just give those out?
Brogan: Not everybody should know everybody, but you should share contacts with people who need to have them. If you know someone who could benefit or should have the ear of a senator and you know one, please share.

Q. (audience): In light of the review issue and IZEA’s new sponsored tweets, how do you feel about disclosure?
Brogan: I’m all for it.
Stark: Full disclosure.
Brogan: Full frontal disclosure!
Stark: My brother owns Beef & Boards and they’re competing on RTV6 A-List. When I tweeted the link to vote, I stated that this is my brother, please vote for him.

Q. (indymojo): Lots of talk of twitter spam. Where is the line between spam and business/personal account with promotions?
Lucas: One thing you can do is have a personal account and a separate business account. Our biz account has a specific goal and its intent is to let people know what is going on with the company. You can integrate some of it on your personal account, but know your audience to know what level is too much.
Stark: Your work is part of who you are so it would be inauthentic to not share what you do.
Neher: If it’s not something you would do in the real world, don’t do it online. There’s a place for promoting your business, but it comes out overtime.
Brogan: The difference between spam and promoting business in relationships is when.

Q. (audience): Start doing anything well and the haters come out. Does that make your shit burn?
Brogan: People tend to see the internet as not human. I just ignore it.
Stark: I think the worst insult in social media is ignore. If you talk about the haters, you’re giving them power. Ignore!
Neher: I think it depends why they’re hating you. If it’s misinformation, you can correct that. If they just hate you because they want to, you can get upset about it or you can ignore it.

Live Tweet Wall Questions that went unanswered:

Q. (mooshinindy): Do you feel all blogs have some sort of intrinsic value? Or are some just douchebaggery?

Q. (mamacita): As an internet liason/social media team member for a business, what should my top priority be? What to do first each day?

Q. (rmpuckett): Where does this panel think twitter is going? I frequently hear folks predict that it will continue to exist “in some form.”

Live Blogging Session #2

James Paden

What do Analytics tell us?
Visitors: unique, location, loyalty
Traffic sources: websites, keywords
Pages: views, times on page, bounce/exit rate (learn what pages are most engaging)
Goals: conversion rates, funnel
Usage: clicks, scrolling, mouse tracking (current technolgy allows you to track what users clicked on, where they move their mouse, what they looked at)

Bounce/Exit Rate—how many people leave before reading another post. (60% to 80% bounce rates are common, 20% to 40% is outstanding.)

Don’t worry about hits—look at page views and unique visitors.

Why Use it
Write more targeted, engaging content
Measure marketing effectiveness

Google Analytics
Free—if you don’t use this, install it now! It can’t backtrack, only analyzes since installation.
Industry standard
Advanced Segmentation
Limisted Customizability
No User-Identifiable Information
Social Media Metrics Plugin

Analyzing Data
If less than half your traffic comes from search engines, learn about driving search traffic.

Goals—setup specific things you want to track (Google allows 4 goals)

Free & Paid options
Real Time Stats
User-Identifiable information—allows you to track individual users; you can track how specific visitors use your site
Fancy/Rich interface
Woopra: Live chat with visitors
Clicky: Visitor tagging

Hit Traffic
Paid, 60-day trial
keyword tracking
to-do list
blogger/typepad integration

Crazy Egg
Click Heatmap & Overlays—tracks exactly where on a page people clicked

Click Tale
Interaction tracking
session videos— watch exactly how a user used a website

Chart Beat
Realtime dashboard
Analytics, interation and marketing

WordPress Stats
Won’t tell you anything more than Google analytics, but it’s a nice built-in basic solution

Publically available
traffic stats
low reliability for small sites (guesstimates some)
Useful for comparing to competitors

I asked: Is there any software that provides data on internal searches so you can track what people are looking for within your site?
A. Google analytics can do this if you provide it with your local search page and the search query.

With a few minutes to spare, he’s going into some advanced analytics examples. It’s fascinating, but visual. Also, since I’m new the concept of analytics there’s no way I can cover it properly.

Session #1

Douglass Karr, DKNewMedia

Confession: I ducked out of my originally chosen session when I realized it wasn’t what I needed. I’m sure it’s great for a lot of the people in the room, but it was more basic than I had anticipated. That means I missed the first quarter of this session, but I’m jumping in where we are. I learned more in the first 2 minutes after arrival than I did in 15 minutes of the the session. Yes, I chose wisely, my friend.

Search Engines are Dumb
You are your words!
Search engines find you via keywords.

*Wordle* Tool to see if your blog is on topic.

SEO is a process, not an event. It is a strategy that constantly changes.
Keywords change over time, but if you are already established as an authority on a topic your blog will evolve organically to fit.

There are different ways of saying the same things over and over.

One topic per post—don’t write posts that are all over the place, stick to one main idea.

Analytics: Find What Drives Business
Critical component that is not in your analytics—the people who are finding your search results and not clicking through
Understand what drives search before people even get to your results
Beware of keywords—some keywords drive traffic but not business (measuring conversions is critical)
Pay attention to which authors are driving traffic and/or conversions
Referring sources—pay attention to which of your efforts are driving traffic and conversions
Setting Goes

Ignite Old Content
Don’t just move foward…move back!
Go back and edit old posts—a post may be dead to your regular readers, but search engines still read it and rank based on updates
You can change the post title, but leave the slug the same—never change a url!

It’s Not Easy
Starting a blog is easy, but creating an effective blog that people use is not.
Most blogs are abandoned; most business blogs suck
Don’t just post or rehash press releases

Don’t believe that isn’t going to work—people are searching for you, your products or your services…be there!

Live Blogging Keynote: Attention Wars and the Rise of the Trust Agent

Chris Brogan

I’m not sure I’m capturing this one well. You really just have to see this guy in person. We’re currently watching a photo slide show while he name drops. And it’s beyond awesome!

The Attention Wars
We’re not competing with tv, podcasts, banner ads—we’re competing with everything

“How many ADD kids does it take to change a light bulb? Let’s ride bikes!”

“There will never be another mega superstar because we’re all superstars to 500 people now!” (Side note: I told you I was kind of a big deal! That’s why I wear a crown.)

3 Levels of attention

Trust Equation
Trust = social capital
social capital + web = links
links = traffic
traffic = social proof
social capital + web = a big f’n network

Make your own game—it’s not a niche. Be the only one doing it.

“The Long Tail is a great justification about why you can be a loser & still feel good about yourself.”

Find your value differentiation
Create a new word for yourself
learn the systems – decide when you should be attuned or distorted

When you are in a circle, you have the transferred wonderfulness of being one of “us” – cool by association.

How to be one of us
Find the agent zero
seek frictionless distribution
be everywhere and create/maintain bonds
all knowledge is vocabulary—the more you learn people’s languages, the more it matters
insider language is huge

Leverage can be time, money, etc

On Bill Gates
On “Who ever figured geeks would inherit the earth?”
You can get to be the richest guy on earth by becoming the almost richest guy.

Archimedes effect
build off your previous success
never start from nothing

How to be Agent Zero
Be the priest; build the church—get your religion, then help others do the same
be the relationship before the sale—don’t try to sell your product if I don’t even know you.
you live or die by your database—do not keep all your contacts in Twitter or Facebook (make the most basic spreadsheet and keep everything in it!)
be part of everyone’s 150—if, primates can only truly maintain 150 relationships, how do you connect with thousands? Really maintain a relationship with 1 person in each group you want to be a part of.

Being a human audience means connecting with people. Being a trust agent online means being human at a distance.

Connect people constantly
share rather than hoard—share your rolodex, share your ideas (they have a shelf life anyway)
practice simple touch points of loyalty
self aware vs. self involved—it’s never about you, it’s about what people can take and learn from you.

Support the people around you because they’ll never forget it.

Be a coach, not a teacher—coaches go beyond the material and all the way into your lifestyle

Give your ideas handles—share small, packaged ideas people can pick up and run with
Teach them to fish
Bring your own dialtone

It’s always about the people; it’s never about the tools.

Live Blogging Session #5

Pat East Hanapin Marketing

How To:

Step 1 – follow the right people.

Step2 – engage and interact with them

Step3 – take it offline

What qualifies as a deal?

Anything that dramatically moves the business forward:

Anything that directly generates revenue

Anything that indirectly generates revenue and is just one step away from generating revenue

Anything newsworthy and/or helps grow business

Follow the right people

Choose your area of expertise; informs your target audience—follow people in that area.

Use Twitter search for keywords and locations

Follow people you know and people you want to know.

Engage and Interact

Be valuable: don’t think “what are you doing,” think “what would people find interesting?”

Respond to @mentions

Don’t worry about seeing every single tweet that passes by – if you are following enough people in a niche someone will retweet the important stuff.

Be specific. Just because they’re following doesn’t mean they’re listening. Stay at least 75% on-topic.

Take it offline

Contact them – meet for coffee, meet for lunch, meet at a conference

Pick and choose targets – select those you have interacted with before on Twitter

Reverse the process and take it online – follow people you meet on Twitter

Tactics for More Influence

Influence is more than quantity, it’s quality

Follow the people your friends follow

Add to the conversation: Tweet about what others are talking about (don’t just repeat or RT, add your own thoughts)

TwitTemperature.com measures how much you’re talking about things that are hot topics

Start a conversation: Tweet what others aren’t talking about but should be

Make people think

Always follow those you’ve met offline

Keep your eyes open

Follow local people