Monthly Archives: October 2010

Find a Sponsor for Your Blog

Darren Rowse, as part of his 31 Days to a Better Blog project, posted about finding a sponsor for your blog, something he has a fair bit of experience with.

He gives some great tips in the post, but one stood out to me more than the others:

If you have a smaller blog and haven’t had a sponsor before don’t aim for the stars straight away. It might be worth starting out by approaching smaller retailers, websites or companies in your niche and see if they’d be interested in some sort of partnership rather than aiming for the very biggest ones right up front. I did this a couple of months after starting my first digital camera blog and emailed 10 online digital camera sites to see if they’d be interested in advertising. 3 of the 10 bought small ads on my site (I think it was for something around $15-$25 a month). It wasn’t a lot of cash (and I didn’t have a lot of traffic to send to them) but I learned so much and made a little money in the process.

With so much competition out there, it can be very difficult to find sponsors for your blog. I have been lucky a few times, and have become friends with most of the people that have sponsored one of my sites. I didn’t make a ton of cash off any sponsorships, but it out performed AdSense, and networking connections are worth much more than pretty much any sponsorship.

Check out the full article on Problogger.net.

3 Reasons You Should Host Your Own Blog

Everyone and their mom is blogging these days – what sets you apart from the rest of the pack? This is not an easy question to answer, and the chances are that you will have to put a little more effort in order to get that edge. One of the things that you ought to do is to seek out a good data center service provider to host your own blog instead of relying on the hosting provided by a free blogging platform.

Take a look at these three compelling reasons why you ought to do so.

Control Appearance/Design

When you host your own blog, you have the advantage of gaining more control over its appearance and the design. Naturally, you want your blog to be as professional as it can be, and you want to have your own mark stand out. With a free blog network, the chances are that you will face restrictions in this regard.

Generate more revenue

Free blog networks come with a lot of stipulations. While you will be able to run a “full” blog on them, you might not be able to have as much access as you can from potential revenue sources. Hosting your own blog will open up so many more opportunities.

Promote your brand

This is linked directly to the first advantage. If you have your own domain and your own host, you will be able to establish your brand more fully. Compare this to having a generic URL and template/design attached to a free blog platform.

If you are serious about gaining that blogging edge, you really ought to get your own blog host. With all the choices available, it will not really cost you that much. More so, the benefits that you gain will outweigh the cost.

Photo via andyp

What is Your Weapon of Choice?

What is your most constant set of companions when you write? Would it all be things connected to the digital world? Or do you still have roots to the offline world.

Notebooks – Aside from the desktop computer at home. I keep two notebooks. The first one is a computer laptop. Actually, one of the first netbooks or ultralight computers that came out. The Asus Eee 701. Yes. It is still working and with a set of thumb drives and SD cards this is my mobile communication, mobile blogging device and my ‘typewriter’ when I am far away from home.

Having an ultralight it has its advantages. You can almost carry it anywhere.

Another set of notebook I still carry is a notebook. Quite handy when going from place to place or event to event. A pocket notebook is handy. Start up time is fast and it does not crash.

It is also good for brainstorming, mind webbing, doodling and playing tic-tac-toe.

Dongle, thumb drives and SD cards – The dongle is quite handy when connecting to the Internet where there is diffiultu getting wifi. Believe me there are such places. While thumb drives and SD cards are quite useful in storing data and running applications while at the same time not compromising the performance of the computer notebook.

A digital media player and a set of good headphones – Quite useful if you want to retreat into the coccoon of writing. Partially isolates you from the world and enables you to write under the musical environment of your choice. I prefer a different media player than the one in the notebook.

A camera – For capturing those moments in raw or jpeg or any other format. Most cameras come with video recording features. And this can also come in useful when capturing those precious moments and news worthy events.

A USB Microphone – This is good for podcasting on the road or when outside the house. A USB microphone can isolate sound and deliver quality podcast n terms of sound. But the content is still dependent on you.

A Dictionary – No matter how fast the Internet is. I still find it useful when writing and you need to check a specific detail. One of my favorite books.

A book – Of course something to reade during the free hours and when writer’s block descend.

Pens and pencils – These things are quite useful when scribbling things down and when doodling. I always carry a clutch pencil with me that its own sharpener.

Food and beverages – Most important for a scribbler and writer on the move.

Cash

Of course as in all things a sense of humor – a self-effacing one is of great also.

What weapons of choice do you have?

The Psychology Behind Corporate Blogging

Something I’ve noticed changing over the last two years is how companies perceive blogs. Early on in blogging, despite the success of many great blog networks at the time, companies seemed to think that blogs were really only a tool for average people to write about their lives, and the various minutia that occurred in them.

Blogs at this time were creating a whole community of both Internet celebrities and Internet brands that were parlayed into huge amounts of cash through advertising systems, and sales. Corporations started, very slowly realizing how important blogs could be to their businesses, but we are still on the cusp of this realization going global.

The reason corporations look down on blogs is for a variety of reasons stemming from the massive numbers of personal blogs, to the low barrier of entry.

Personal Blogs

For every successful blog making money, or helping get out a strong branding message, there are probably one thousand blogs dedicated to people around the world talking about their lives. From the perspective of the average company doing research on blogs, they’ll likely come across many blogs talking about their pets, family, friends, and children. This doesn’t convey to them the level of professionalism available in blogging, and thus gives them a reason to think of blogs with a negative connotation.

Spam

We have all seen them, spam blogs are the bane of my existence. They steal content, and they push out crud through the Internet. Companies doing research on any topic will come across at least one spam blog in their searches, and this type of republishing outside of the normal control of the original publisher might scare companies who want to remain in control of their message. Imagine posting an article on your blog and a spam blog picks it up before you realize you’ve made a mistake. You correct your mistake, but the spam blog continues to have the “old” article which makes your company look bad. Small, and simple for sure, but this has to be a concern for businesses going forward.

Power of the Message Versus Money Invested

How powerful is the message going to be compared to the time and effort put into the blog? Companies are used to press releases and the results that can be achieved from them, but what can they expect from their blog? How will it grow, change and evolve over time? Will anyone even care? Companies are always looking at return on investment, and there hasn’t been many case studies released to companies regarding the return on investment of a good corporate blog.

Low Barrier to Entry

If it is too easy, it probably doesn’t have value. I have heard both people and companies claiming that due to the low barrier of entry in blogging, there is little to no value in blogging. It takes almost no time to set up a blog, make it look nice, and start feeding it content. But what companies aren’t seeing is how long it took to get to this point with regard to the barrier for entry. There were companies creating blog software in hopes of lowering the barrier for entry for over a decade. The barrier started high, but these companies weren’t interested in the idea behind it back in those days.

Knowledge and Fear

Most companies just don’t understand enough about the blogosphere, and what it means to be a company participating in it. Because of their lack of knowledge, they are afraid of jumping in and making mistakes, not completely understanding that transparency is one of the key benefits of blogging that will help companies connect to potential customers on a new level of relationship.

Conclusion

Companies can get into blogging, and do amazing things with their blog, but they have to be brave enough to take the first steps, find people that can help them reach their goals in an efficient and inexpensive manner, and be ready to be transparent. Blogging can be an amazing line of communication and community building for any company.

This is one topic where I wish I had taken a psychology degree so that I could articulate better the factors that really go into each point, as I believe someone could make a whole career around the psychology of companies involvement or lack of involvement in the blogosphere.

Have you read Charles Dodgson or Eric Blair?

Samuel Langhorn Clemmens would have been a dead giveaway. But here we are back to pseudonyms and here are examples of writers who have used pseudonyms or pen names when they wrote their work.

American humorist Samuel Clemmens is more known as Mark Twain. His literary creations like Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and the time traveller in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court have been part of a number of literary experience through out the world – crossing mediums from the written word to moving images.

The former Colonial Police Eric Blair also known as George Orwell wrote a number of essays and stories that have also become a part of our present culture. From his novel 1984 and his fable Animal Farm, Orwell or Blair has been able to transform political commentary into an interesting form of storytelling. So much so that blurns/phrases from his books have entered or crossed over and become a roundabout way of saying things: Big Brother is Watching and All Animals are Equal but some Animals are more equal than others are part of our culture today.

Mathemathician Charles Dodgson wrote fantasy novels under the pen name Lewis Carroll. His most famous work was of course Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It is believed that his pen name or nome de plum was a word play on his name: (i) Lewis from Ludovicus the Latin name for his middle name Lutwidge and (ii) Carroll from the Latin word Carolus or Charles.

And then there is Ellery Queen a pseudonym of Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky. Both respectively using the alias Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington. Ellery Queen was the name of their character. And both four novels about the detective Drury Lane again using the pseudonym Barnaby Ross. Both received a number of recognition and awards under their various pseudonyms.