The Happy Friday Series: She Loves to Heal

Michelle-Quillin.jpgWhen a woman the likes of Michelle Quillin gets on your good side, and she’s never on anyone’s bad, you have the privilege of a friend for life, a supporter extraordinaire, and the most loving individual you’ve never met.

It’s a good thing we now can all G+ Hangout, for it took me about three years to “meet” Michelle in sorta IRL. She’s worth the wait.

Michelle is the better half of New England Multimedia, the WordPress design and development firm in Rhode Island. Back in the earliest days of our ‘raderie, she was part of the SMB Collective with Neicole Crepeau, Jon Buscall, Jenn Whinnem, and me. We blogged together in 2010 for awhile, and it’s been nothing but a building relationship ever since.

Michelle is one of those people who makes instant friends with most everyone. On Facebook she has a scourge of admirers from foreign lands who insist on getting to know her…LOL…I’m not supposed to share that with her husband, Scott!

What always impressed me about Michelle is her command of Facebook community building. In the earliest days, she took to the channel like a fish to water and had oodles of likes and comments on her posts. She asked questions, and got people to reply; she posted surveys and earned responses…she knows her Facebook!

In her real other life, Michelle is a youth minister guiding troubled youths through troubled times. Yet, she serves over and above and home schools teens (not hers) who need attention. She has played nanny to infants and toddlers whilst the teen mother attended school. Michelle keeps this side of her life private to the extent she can; however, a woman so devoted to nurturing, giving and caring needs to also be recognized in some small way. She is an angel and messenger who loves and lives to heal.

She has always been part of this community, and she wrote a piece for The Happy Friday Series, too. I thank you, Michelle, for always contributing, being there and here. My warmest best.

 

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Who’s Monetizing Online?

happy-sad-mask.jpgEvery day another someone from a really cool company, blog, blogging community, organization, or other network asks me to write for them, speak to them, brainstorm about the exchange of content, consider paying a fee to join a network, or hawk a product pitched from the far reaches of Russia and India.

And, I rarely say no because who knows what doors may open as a result of that opportunity?

What’s happening is my stretch is thinning dangerously. The offers are ubiquitous, and as a starter, I’m jazzed about what’s new and next. They say a sucker is born every minute; perhaps you’re reading one right now.

But, I can’t think like that. What I’m doing by accommodating most everyone’s requests is building a brand that appears to be #RockHot solid, so I’m told. It feels that way to me, as well. And, here’s the elusive question:

Who’s Monetizing?

The answer is…few.

  • My friend Tim Bonner, a UK stay-at-home dad, informed me recently he made $300 on his niche site. Not sure what he’s hawking, but I informed him in a tweet I was envious. I’ve also watched his meteoric rise from being a sometime daddy blogger to a snappy smart tech geek blogger who experiments with Google do-not-follow links and writes about it. Awesome.
  • I know my friend Jon Buscall, CEO of Jontus Media in Sweden, is an extraordinarily busy podcaster and dad to a gazillion Basset hounds. He has earned cash recommending podcasting equipment and selling it via an Amazon affiliate program.
  • In that same program, I made about $10 once, and I also was pitched to run a blog post on another blog for $75. My first book, Writing with Verve on the Blogging Journey (you can buy it on Kindle for $3.95), is a collection of blog posts about my favorite topic of blogging brought in $85 from the publisher (who took a cut after Amazon took a cut). That’s truly the extent of my monetization.
  • I know that SpinSucks Pro requires membership, and really good content is sold to folks on SpinSucks. People can register or buy into a webinar for $50 to hear professional speakers on professional topics. Good on them.

But, I want to know who’s truly monetizing huge?

All of the peeps above come from the content/traditional marketing and PR realm. The ability to monetize takes knowledge of API and back ends, building and programming of websites, addition of shopping carts and management of digital marketing calls to action, forms and landing pages.

Do you have all that knowledge under your hat?

Nope, didn’t think so.

The Conundrum of Monetization

That’s the conundrum of late. We who can develop the substance and slap a price tag on it need the techies to join the team and figure out the platform on which to sell the products. Recall I said Tim Bonner earned money on his “niche” site.

What that means is Tim found a specialty topic or product, developed a new site oriented to that product and began to sell. His earning potential is in its earliest stages; however, he’s found the methodology and hopefully the product to keep on with residual income.

Digital Marketing Is An Answer

I see many of these passive income bloggers who started way early building an email list. Their lists are massive of trusting individuals who came to their site for some reason or another. When another product is hawked, that list of trustworthy and hopefully loyal community members are more inclined to make a second purchase. All of a sudden, that network of thousands is buying everything hawked by that trusted figurehead.

To make this happen, you need knowledge of digital marketing; inbound marketing as HubSpot calls it. I’ve been in HubSpot school all year. As a solopreneur, the ability to do it all is daunting; the time and knowledge and effort it takes to learn new things is terribly exciting, however extremely fatal to making a living the traditional way – with a handshake and results-driven pure work on behalf of a client.

Monetization Requires A Team

I’ve come to realize I don’t have what it takes to monetize alone. I need to build a team with a tech pro who can help program a site (a simple WordPress site is all we need), a digital marketer who can manage and nurture the list, design the calls to action and add them as widgets in the sidebar of the site, write the landing pages, and consult on that back-end of the site.

The most critical part of the team is one who builds the products and content to bring in the cash. That’s me. If I could free myself up to truly concentrate on product development and trust my team was standing by to facilitate their ends of the triangle, we’d be golden.

So, who’s on board?

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About Google Authorship

English: Google+ wordmark

English: Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Jayme Soulati

By now your byline for any blog post, guest post, or other online published piece should be linked directly with a Google+ profile via Google Authorship. There is so much being written and shared about this topic, and it will not be a rehash here. What you will see are some very smart people sharing insights about Google Authorship that are too good to just let die in my Google+ stream. I’m going to share some thoughts for you in a random way from around the channels. I’d like your call to action to be to establish Google Authorship ASAP for your byline throughout the Interwebz.

About Google Authorship

Establish Google Authorship to claim brand, original content and rank.

This is to attempt to avoid what happened to Neal Schaffer of Windmill Networking when his blog post was scraped. Because he had added a hyperlink to an archived post, he got a pingback from the culprit’s blog.

Having Google Authorship allows the original author to claim dibs on original content; however, according to Mark Traphagen the acclaimed Google+ guru (he really is), there is nothing in place with Google + right now that protects any writer from content scraping.

“We need to be careful about overstating the claims of Authorship. In the introductory video Google’s Othar Hansson said that they could use authorship to determine the true author of content, not that they are (yet).

In any case, it doesn’t prevent someone from copying your content, just wouldn’t allow them to outrank you for it. I suspect we will have to wait for implementation of Author Rank for that to be fully in effect,” said Mark in a Google+ thread with Neal, Frank Strong, and me.

Frank Strong, who writes Sword and Script, is credited with alerting me to what’s been happening with Google Authorship with this keen post recently on the topic.

Back to Neal’s story…when he got a ping back, he rang the alarm bells in his community, and due to the ruckus raised, the offender removed the post (bet they won’t do that again, eh, Neal?)

Neal said in a recent G+ thread, ” I still recommend every blogger to at least include one internal link in each of their blog posts so that if their content does get copied, and it’s often copied as part of blogs automatically importing content through RSS feed manipulation, that at least you get a back link.

What Google Authorship also does is help rank that author in search for original content all over the Interwebz. Can you say guest posting anyone? How about blogging communities? (Just so you know, The SMB Collective is accepting new bloggers; it’s a blogging community I established in 2010 that is ebbing out of dormancy.)

How To Set Up Google Authorship on WordPress Blogs

If you need help setting up Google Authorship, please go directly to this link and do the easy tutorial. After examining four different blog posts sharing perspective on how to synch your WordPress-powered blog with Google Authorship, this one on Tizish by Josh Galvan was the easiest to understand in plain English. It also did not omit any steps like the others did (in re the back-end coding which is explained very well). My pal Kaarina Dillabough will attest to the ease with which this tutorial takes you through the steps.

Thanks for indulging my ping-pong sharing on this topic. When I learn so much in one Google+ stream, it’s too rich to toss by the wayside, and I wanted you to learn as I do, too.

 

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How Zemanta Pushes Blogger Link Love

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A little-known blogger content curation and link-love plug in has taken me by storm, and since sharing is what I do, I want to let you in on the Zemanta secret.

Sign up is free for bloggers who use a variety of platforms to write. When you add your post to the WordPress dashboard, Zemanta populates suggested other posts from bloggers world-wide with content similar to yours.

In addition, you can use its image curation tool, too, although I’m less enthused about the quality/breadth of images that are free and without copyright issues.

 

Also part of the Zemanta suite are in-blog links and tags. I turned off the in-blog links — Zemanta was providing live links for words like Apple and Wikipedia and other general word choices and this didn’t appeal.

The tags, though, are usually spot on, and I welcome help on how to tag a blog post as I generally don’t put enough of them with the story.

Once you join the Zemanta network and add your blog(s) to your profile, then your own blog content will populate across the ‘sphere and other bloggers can include your posts in their work, too.

The very first day I used this service, I had no idea what to expect. I found someone’s bicycle-sharing post in NYC and included it; lo, the gentleman came over and actually stayed to comment awhile!  That was very cool.

You’ll see how Zemanta populates your blog with relevant stories YOU CHOOSE at the bottom of the story. It’s like adding another resource section to your writings and expanding peoples’ reading pleasure beyond your own material.

Customization 

Last night, I added about 15 bloggers I don’t like to miss to my Zemanta network. When this network writes on the topic I’m writing about, Zemanta will pull from these archives and curate content into “My Sources” in my dashboard.

I also looped my Instagram and Flickr accounts here, so my images are populating in the dashboard, too! Talk about efficient…love that, as I spend more time hunting for a decent image and get awfully lazy about it, too.

The good thing about Zemanta (beyond what I’ve already said) is that it’s all about choice; you can select what, when, if you’d like to use anyone else’s stuff. The best thing for me, is that it takes time away from finding links beyond the blogs I already hit to add link love. So, I’m jazzed right there about new sources populating right in my dashboard.

So, give it a whirl…What can go wrong?

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First Blog Post: 15 Tips for New Bloggers

Keeping up with my Sunday pattern of posting one from the archives, this post below was one of my very first written March 22, 2010. Upon reading it, I’m impressed this list still has merit nearly three years later…what tips might you add based on your own blogging journey? Lastly, how about publish your “First Blog Post?” (Still relevant and well written?)

From Soulati’-TUDE! Archives:

Now that I’m officially a blogger, it feels pretty cool. I’m eager to put all the back-end stuff behind me and concentrate on perfecting and building the network. Unfortunately, I need to dig deeper for the patience as it’s all part of the larger journey.

In spite of my short time here, there are tools a newbie blogger needs to stay the course. Let me suggest several based on direct experience in the first two weeks:

  1. Patience and Perseverance. Without high levels of patience, a new blogger cannot persevere.
  2. Tech Know-How. IT knowledge is not a necessity, although it’s a bonus. Some of the more daunting areas are installations, code, ftp, renaming files, creating databases on c-panel and so much more. When self-hosting a WordPress blog, be prepared to be frustrated.
  3. Know your limit. Hit a wall? Ask for help; hire the experts. I didn’t, but needed to. (I had hit my wall, but a guy on Twitter blew me off for a week, and it angered me so much I insisted on doing this myself.)
  4. Time. Blogging requires more time. Obstacles and snafus galore and solving each take precious hours. See number two.
  5. Listen at a higher level. When speaking with clients, colleagues, friends, peers, listen for the next blog topic. After any conversation, if something strikes you, jot down key words to trigger topics.
  6. Keep a notebook, folder. Keep the notes, posts, items you read in a manual notebook or desktop folder.
  7. Rip tear sheets. Familiar with this term? Public relations practitioners use it when one of our stories we’ve placed hits. Get oriented to tearing out stories and filing into an idea folder. I’m already tearing sheets from Advertising Age, BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal which offer an array of ideas.
  8. Follow and subscribe. No better way to get post ideas then to follow people on Twitter lists via Twellow or Listorious. Subscribe to blogs in a reader. That way when on the road, you can access posts galore and delete subscriptions not making the grade.
  9. Use a dictionary/thesaurus. There’s nothing like a good dictionary to help find the right word or look up a synonym. Each post I’ve written has required reference to the dictionary. I’m expecting a few grammar lessons along the way, too.
  10. Be aware. Being aware is more than just combing content for ideas. Curiosity is the first step towards greater awareness. Surf 10 minutes daily on Technorati and get a sense of topics, style, and popular bloggers’ content. With awareness comes relevance.
  11. Engage on Twitter. A blogger must have a Twitter account, but all tweeps don’t have a blog. Twitter is the first best marketing tool for a blog; it’s a built-in audience who already finds you credible enough to follow. Blog posts are first promoted on Twitter. Whether you include Facebook in this marketing scheme is up to how you use it (friends/family or mix of business).
  12. Be responsive. When you post, the objective is to get attention. The ultimate goal is to get comments and furthermore subscribers. Answer everyone with appreciation who takes time to jot a note.
  13. Queue the posts. It’s Sunday morning. I’ve written 3.5 posts. Am thrilled to have something in queue for the week. Find that quiet time to draft skeleton content. Come back to it and edit. Find support points from the Web to empower the message.
  14. Learn! Already after a solid week of blogging, I’m thrilled with learning opportunities. While I thought Twitter was wonderful, blogging beats it hands down. I now look at everything through the blogging glass…is this a good topic? Is it a trend? Where can I find the data to support this statement? Do I need to back up my opinions? Shall I link to that site? Should I self-promote the blog on another’s post? Does this content resonate? Who cares?
  15. Respect one another. Everyone is entitled to opinions. It’s what makes the blogosphere rich. Set a positive tone with the goal of garnering respect.

What might you add to the list, please?

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