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What Can We Learn From The Top 25 Marketing Blogs?

top25.gifMarketing blogs are very near and dear to my heart. Obviously… because I’m a marketer, and blogger, myself, go figure eh?

The Viral Garden, written by Mack Collier puts out a list of the top 25 marketing blogs every week which I like to review. It’s a good insight into what other marketers like myself are doing. What they’re blogging about… why they are successful, etc…

Recently I thought it would be fun to analyze the top 25 list to see if any similarities could be found? After all, these blogs and personalities are successful for a reason correct? Why not see what they have in common and try to learn from it?

Introducing… The Top 25 Marketing Blog Analysis.

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What Did You Measure?

I tried to get a feel for several things, from if they use a photo of themselves on their blog, to things like “Is Seth Godin in their blogroll”. :) Here’s the official list things I researched on each blog.

Do They Have RSS To Email Subscription?
Do They Blog At Their Name.com?
Are Their Ads On blog?
Does The Blogger Promote Twitter?
Does The Blogger Promote Linked In?
Is Their Phone Number Listed?
Are They A Book Author?
Do They Have Seth Godin In Their Blogroll?
What’s Their Feedburner Count?
Is There A Photo Of Themselves On Blog Home Page?
What Is Their Blog Worth?

Some interesting insights have come out of my analysis. For example…

$7,819,446: How much all the Top 25 blogs are worth collectively.

The majority of top 25 marketing bloggers don’t brand their names. For example, you’ve got guys like Mack Collier who blogs under the brand Viral Garden rather than at MackCollier.com.

Seth Godin is NOT in everyone’s blogroll as I assumed he would be. What’s up? Some of you have a problem with Seth? :)

The majority do not put ads on their blogs, and even those that do have smaller text link ads, etc… I’d like to hear more about this from the top 25. Why don’t you have ads on your blog?

WordPress and Typepad rule the roost in terms of blogging platforms used. I expected to see more Typepad users.

Top 25 marketing bloggers don’t like to give out their phone numbers too much. This is a personal thing. I give out my toll-free number, but that’s just me.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more analysis down the road. Any patterns you notice?

Two WordPress Must Have Items

When you use WordPress every day like I do, across multiple blogs, you start looking for the coolest and most useful plugins and tools to make your experience for yourself, and your readers better. Over the last few days, I’ve found two things I have to share with you.

#1 Cool WordPress Thing
Did you know that you can make your admin look different? Yep, thanks to Sam on Twitter, I found out about a WordPress admin design called Tiger. Wow, what a difference! It’s much cleaner.

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But you know what the best part is? It makes your “write a post” text box much, much bigger. So you don’t have that really annoying scroll bar in the text box. The whole thing just feels like I’m using a Mac, which is a good thing.

#2 Cool WordPress Thing
This one is a plug-in called ‘What would Seth Godin Do‘. Found it over at Quick Online Tips blog (great blog by the way).

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“What Would Seth Godin Do” is the unusual name for a wordpress plugin, but the plugin author has credited Seth Godin for the idea. I spotted this plugin at work on several blogs, so checked it out. Its based on Seth Godin idea of using cookies to distinguish between new and returning visitors to your site and offer two experiences to two different sorts of people.

I’ve been trying to think of reasons why I would use anything other than WordPress, and I can’t think of anything. Can you?

How To Sell A $100,000 Sponsorship For Your Blog

Joel Cheesman is a blogger in a niche of career/recruiting. Early in 2007 Joel sold a one-year sponsorship for his award-winning blog, Cheezhead.com, to Jobcentral.com for $100k. I recently interviewed Joel via email to find out how he did it, and how you can do it to.

jclogo207.gifJim Kukral: Was it your idea to sell your entire blog or did the sponsor suggest it?

Joel: Mine.

Jim’s Analysis: It just goes to show that success comes to those who ask for it. Decide what you want, then make it happen. It sounds harder than it is.

Jim Kukral: How exactly did this sponsorship come about? Who contacted who? Who came up with the $100k number?

Joel: My blog had done (and continues to do) a nice job of supporting my SEO business. So the issue arose of Do I focus on SEO and blog less, or do I create a revenue stream for my blog and justify the time spent blogging. Revenue stream and more blogging won. I contacted JobCentral. They were a great prospect because they had supported me before (http://www.cheezhead.com/2006/06/11/jobcentral-wins-auction/).

I came up with the $100K number. I knew that if we were going to garner attention, it would have to be something big.

Jim’s Analysis: Never undervalue yourself. Sometimes asking for too little is a very bad thing.

Jim Kukral: What exactly does the sponsor get?

Joel: Dominating presence on blog (header, banner, sponsors page, single post drop-down link); plugs in podcasts and videos; logo on T-shirts worn at tradeshows and conferences; advertising in anything I publish, etc.

Jim’s Analysis: $100k/12 months=$8,300/month. Not bad for all that. As Joel mentions below, a company can spend over $100k/year on a trade show presence and possibly never even track that ROI back. With a blog sponsorship they can track everything, and the buzz alone from the sponsorship can pay off as it reaches every major blogger in that space. Hey, look at this article for proof :)

Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to the sponsor for doing this?

1) It sounds corny, but there was really an element of “supporting the arts.” Bill Warren, head of JobCentral, really believes in the medium and where it can go.

2) Brand awareness. My blog just won Recruiting.com’s Best Recruiting Blog for 2006. I have a good name in the industry and healthy growth.

3) Zagging. A lot of companies will spend over $50K on one tradeshow in our industry, where they largely go unnoticed. By sponsoring a blog at this level, JobCentral took a different approach to its competitors’ marketing activities.

Jim’s Analysis: While I don’t think this will be an easy sell to most companies who are used to dropping wasted money into trade shows and banner ads, I do think that smart companies will see the advantages Joel talks about. The trick is finding one like Jobcentral, who is obviously way ahead of the curve. I’m going to try and interview Bill Warren, head of Jobcentral next and get his thoughts on Joel and this sponsorship.

Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to you for selling a sponsorship this way?

I can better justify the time spent blogging. Time is money, right?

Jim’s Analysis: I would agree. The #1 advantage is that Joel can now concentrate on his craft, instead of worrying about selling ads.

Joels’ Dirty Little Secret

I saw Joel in person at an event the other day and he secretly told me that after he sold this sponsorship he was contacted by other industry people he knew who wondered why he didn’t come to them first, as they would have given him way more than $100k. Lesson learned, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Read Joel’s story about “selling out” on his blog.

Digg this story please?

Here’s Joel’s “selling out” funny video. Good work buddy.

Cheezhead Sells Out

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I Just Resigned From ReveNews

I just posted my farewell post over at ReveNews. Today was my last day as Publisher.

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My first blog entry at ReveNews was on March 1, 2005. Three months later in June 2005 I was officially handed the keys to the ReveNews community car. And I drove it pretty hard that first year. In fact, I don’t think I slept much behind the wheel that first year.

So here we are 3-months into 2007 and I am announcing that I’m officially handing the keys to ReveNews back to Wayne Porter. Where the ReveNews car will go now is something I’m sure Wayne will be letting you know soon. I will find out when you do.

I leave on my own accord, having spent over two-years working with ReveNews as one of my main focuses. Believe me, it’s hard to let go of something you have so much invested in, but on the same hand, I knew that for ReveNews to continue to grow that it was time for me to move on and let someone else run the rest of the race. It has been a learning experience and I’m grateful to have had it.

There’s really not much more to say except that it’s a sad day for me in some ways. I poured a lot of energy into ReveNews over the past few years, and while I’m glad to know that it’s going to continue to kick butt under Wayne’s continued expertise, I’m sad that I’m not part of it.

However, with every end, there is a new beginning, and now I’m ready to pursue new opportunities. You know me, I don’t know how to stay idle for very long.

Let’s grab the popcorn and watch and see what Wayne has in store. Again, Wayne, friend, thank you for the opportunity.

Entrepreneurial & Success Blogs Wanted For New BUMPzee Online Success Community

I’ve been hard at work adding blogs to my How To Be Successful Online BUMPzee community. You can read more about the community launch in my previous entry here.

Tonight I added about 30 new blogs into the community, all focused around providing content that is either about being an online entrepreneur, or just simply about helping online entrepreneurs succeed online.

If you have a blog that is focused on those types of things, go and see if I added your blog. If not, add it yourself! We’re up to 18 members and 48 blogs in the feed.

I updated the community description too.

The How To Be Successful Online community is for online entrepreneurs who are interested in learning how to be successful on the Internet. The blogs and members of this community will focus on and discuss the world of Internet marketing, professional blogging, entrepreneurism and making money online.

New BUMPzee Community Launched Today: How To Be Successful Online

You all know how much I love BUMPzee! Well, I love it even more now that I was chosen as one of the select few to manage my very own community while it’s still in beta. So what community did I make?

bzheaderlogo1.pngIntroducing the ‘How To Be Successful Online’ BUMPzee Community

Bookmark this: http://www.bumpzee.com/onlinesuccess/

What is the community all about?

The How To Be Successful Online community is for anyone who is interested in learning how to be successful on the Internet. The blogs and members of this community will focus on and discuss the world of Internet marketing, professional blogging and making money online. Join today for free, or submit your related blog for free as well.

That description you just read is really what JimKukral.com is all about, and many, many others like it that I read every day. Like those blogs, I don’t write about one topic like affiliate marketing only, but rather, I focus on writing about all types of online marketing, with the specific goal of trying to help businesses, brands and individuals be successful online.

Do you fit that mold? Are you someone who’s looking for more information about how to be successful online? Join the community for free!

Do you have a blog that talks about ways to be successful online? Submit your blog to the community for free!

FYI. I’ve preloaded the community with about 14 blogs, listed below (in no particular order & if I missed your blog, I’m sorry, just go add it).

If your blog is on the list below, go sign up and claim your blog, and most importantly, add the bump widget to your entries and sidebar. If your blog isn’t in the list below, what are you waiting for, submit it!

Not sure about BUMPzee yet. Read this.

Super Affiliate Marketing Blog
Earners Blog
Revenews
WaynePorter.com
Shoe Money
CostPerNews
Graywolf’s SEO Blog
Copyblogger
Andy Wibbels
Aaron Wall’s SEO Book.com
The Blog Herald
Ask the Blogger!
901am
ProBlogger Blog Tips
Jim Kukral Online Marketing Ideas

Oh yeah, and make sure to check out the other new beta BUMPzee community managed by CostPerNews’s Sam Harrelson.

Called “Next Gen Marketing”. In a nutshell, this community on BUMPzee will serve as an aggregator of blogs and insights focusing on developing trends and emerging tactics to address the rising tide of social media, attention economies and “web2.0″ platforms. It should be fun to see the discussions which arise there.

There’s also some new interface changes at BUMPzee too, so check it out!

Online Conversations & Business Blogging Insights From The Void

Hugh from Gapingvoid.com summarizes a talk he gave to the fabled PR agency Edelman.

bloggingthist.jpgThese 16 learning points pretty much sum up all intelligent thought on business blogging, online conversations and more. Do yourself a favor, click here, go read it and thank me later.

My favorite tidbits?

5. The growth will come, I believe, not by yet more increased efficiencies, but by humanification. For example, take two well-known airlines. They both perform a useful service. They both deliver value. They both cost about the same to fly to New York or Hong Kong. Both have nice Boeings and Airbuses. Both serve peanuts and drinks. Both serve “airline food”. Both use the same airports. But one airline has friendly people working for them, the other airline has surly people working for them. One airline has a sense of fun and adventure about it, one has a tired, jaded business-commuter vibe about it. Guess which one takes the human dimension of their business more seriously than the other? Guess which one still will be around in twenty years? Guess which one will lose billions of dollars worth of shareholder value over the next twenty years? What parallels do you see in your own industry? In your own company?

Indeed. How true is that? Which business are you? Think, be realistic. Which business do you want to be?

7. Blogging is not about reaching a mass audience. Blogging is not about creating yet another sales channel. Blogging is about allowing “The Smarter Conversation” to happen.

Why do some companies lose, while other companies win? Because the latter has a smarter “conversation” with its customers. Pret-A-Manger has a smarter conversation about food than Burger King. Starbuck’s came along 20 years ago and began a smarter conversation about coffee with millions of people within a very short space of time. Wal-Mart’s massive growth started from a smarter conversation about prices. Savile Row tailor, Thomas Mahon came along and, with his blog, had a smarter conversation about $4000 English bespoke suits.

Blogs allow you to cheaply and quickly begin a smarter conversation. And once you get it going, that conversation starts bleeding out into all other areas of your business- including advertising, PR and corporate communications.

Again, how true is this? This is the first thing I tell business blogging customers when I consult… We’re going to create a conversation, and that conversation is going to get you more customers, traffic and publicity then you can imagine, if we do it right.

If you are worried about what people might say about your company, you’re worrying about something you cannot control, because it’s happening, right now, online, whether you like it or not. The question for you is, are you going to control that conversation, or just let it happen without you?

It’s a brave new world out there. I’ve been setting up and building business blogs for over 4 years now. Back then, I didn’t think you had to have one. Today, however, I think it’s like a website. It’s a requirement. It’s expected. At least it should be.

Don’t have a blog yet? Not creating conversations with your customers? It’s time to get in the game, because you know what?

Your competitors are going to beat you to the conversation, and then they’ll control it leaving you playing blog catch up.

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