Saturday, September 11, 2010

Afternoon on Day 1 of PodCamp Montreal

Just sat through Kim Vallee's presentation on how to monetize your blog. Lots of interesting ideas came through. My personal challenge is how do you maintain editorial integrity when you are doing sponsored postings.  I guess the key here is full disclosure of what is paid content, what is sponsored and what is editorial.

Now, the presentation makes a couple of big assumptions. First, you need to have a critical amount of subscribers on your blog because her tips focus on having a third party write the content, and the inclusion of those costs in your price. But let's be real. The blogs that have that critical mass are few and far in between. For the smaller, amateur bloggers that are looking to make some money with their websites, can't justify charging for all this extraneous costs. Plus, case in point, usually it's public relations that will reach out to bloggers, and they have a very limited budget. She mentions that when approached, you should consider jumping over to the media buyer. Which is nice... if you have the time, resources or even the stamina to talk to media buyers. They can be a pretty agressive bunch.

A good idea that came through in the questions was using the initial contact at low or no cost to actually getting samples of the products and trying them, whilst maintaining full disclosure of that you did get this free stuff, and that you've been asked to review it. In addition to that, you should provide an HONEST review. If you love it, great, if you hate it, disclose it - although politely - as you don't want to burn the bridge.

Some ideas on varying the types of sponsorships you can get for your blog:
  • Advertizing through banners and ad words
  • sponsored posts
  • twitter parties
  • contests and sweepstakes
When going down that route though, consider putting up an editorial policy that explains what you wil and will not do. Also, in the terms of sweetstakes and contests done as co-registration opportunities, always give an opportunity for people to opt out of being marketed through after the fact.

Montreal's PodCamp going on strong today and tomorrow

It's been a busy month in the Montreal Social sphere as we wrapped up the Montreal Wordcamp and now in the very heart of the Podcamp sessions. A few points I found useful in CT Moore's and Brian R.'s sessions.
  • It's not a matter of social versus search but rather social with search. The fact that search offers cold recommendations and social media offers hot recommendations, obtaining a blend of results is what marketers should be striving for. It makes sense to me as this represents the purchase process from recongnition of need, to research, to preference and ultimately purchase.
  • The advent of Facebook connect and the mass amounts of information it gathers seems to be hurling us into a narrowing of what the web has to offer. If all of your search results are guided by your own profile plus the preferences of your extended network, then there's a narrowing of what you will have access to.
  • If you want to opt-out to the narrowing of the infinite shelf space that the web has to offer, it's important to regularly clear your cookies, clear your cache, log out of your profiles and try searching again.
  • When selecting how much resources you should devote to social and search, make sure you consider your target market. Where are they looking for you? And consider how your target market will evolve. They might not be social now, but there will come a time where a shift will occur. Remember, your target audience changes over time.
Over all great sessions this morning. When I get home, I will provide the links to the websites and authors of the session.