Stephen Spencer, Founder and President of Netconcepts kicked off the morning’s presentation. Besides learning that Stephen’s 16 year-old daughter earns $40-$60 per day off ads on her Neopets Cheats blog, Stephen gave a great overview of tips when optimizing your blog. Standard SEO applies, but a few more blog specific tips are to: include a tag cloud and tag pages (use the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin), include related posts (use the Contextual Related Posts plugin), and yet another useful plugin to help you create top 10 lists (use the Popular Post plugin). And when creating a feed make sure to create multiple feeds dedicated to comments, images, video, podcasts, and the posts themselves. He showed a few examples of blogs that had 10 or more feeds.
Rick Klau from Google was up next and discussed some tips and tricks when using FeedBurner. FeedBurner has gone through a ton of updates and changes in the last few months, so much so that I cannot begin to type them up in this post. However, I would recommend hitting their site for the latest news. Aside from that, Rick mentioned that FeedBurner’s “pro” features are now free – so go wild with TotalStats and MyBrand features.
Sally Falkow, President of Expansion Plus, gave some excellent case studies of good uses for RSS feeds: Holland America uses a feed for their news releases (although when I visited their site after the session, I was puzzeled as to why they didn’t have feeds set up for other things like specials and weather advisories), Pacific Outdoor Living has a feed for product information, SkinMD Natural has a feed for consumer education, and the Marriott has a feed for destinations.
The final speaker on the panel was Greg Jarboe, President and CoFounder of SEO-PR, who started his presentation stating that by next week the number of blogs will surpass the number of websites (93.8 million versus 100 million). Wow. He took a show of hands on how many in the room were bloggers and then how many of those were using their blog to drive traffic to their website, generate leads, or sales….many hands went down and his point was made. Many of us have blogs because someone told us to put one up, but many have failed to montetize the blog in some fashion. If you are one of those late adopters, he recommended looking at Google Trends to find an emerging keyword trend and developing a blog strategy around that. Of course you’d have to want to write about the trend as well. He then added to the list of great case studies by reviewing Wharton’s Economic Summit blog, Harlequin Romance Report’s blog, and NutsforSouthwest by those wacky flight attendants at Southwest Airlines.
One of the final topics was addressed in part by Greg and then during the Q&A session – how to determine who is influential and how to become influential. Greg talked about a tool he uses called BuzzLogic, which helps him identify which bloggers are influential and whom you should develop relationships with. At Anvil we’ve created our own “buzz” monitoring service by using in-house tools and partnering with some fabulous PR professionals, but have looked into using BuzzLogic to automate some of the tracking to allow us to be more strategic. I think Greg’s confidence in this tool might have sealed the deal for us. As for how to become influential, you have to participate in other blogs and forums, not just journal in yours. Pretty simple concept.