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My friend and blogger Murray Newlands recently contacted me about some blog outreach he is going for the shopping deals website UrbanStone.co.uk. I have seen Murray picking up more and more blog outreach projects and decided to interview him about them.

Murray how did you get the project?
I had a meeting with the team behind UrbanStone.co.uk for another project and they had googled my name and seen my affiliate blog prior to the meeting. Once we had finished the meeting they told me about this project and asked if I could help. They saw the success of my blog and that I offered blog outreach. I always tell people, blog about what you want, the services you want to offer or the products you want to sell, so few people do that.

What is blog outreach and how you can it help?
Well firstly by contacting bloggers I know ad asking them to post about them. They want to rank for shopping deals and compare shopping prices as well as terms like freezers. In the first week I have had either write about them or commit to write about them. This part of blog outreach really is about who you know. Once people start blogging about a company people do start to come to you.

Why did you take on this project?
I saw that they have started their own blog and having spoken to the team at length they are serious about blog outreach.

So is it just about SEO?
No it is also about building traffic and buzz about the site too.

What are you looking for?
Be honest and write for your readers first, I am looking for bloggers who can build buzz about the site.
I want bloggers who have a real audience and can send traffic the only way you are going to be able to do this is if you are able to maintain your audience with quality posts.

What advice would you give to bloggers wanting to offer blog outreach?
Try and think what an advertiser is looking for from blog outreach and what their objectives are and then start working with smaller clients before moving forward.

How can bloggers contact you?
Stop by my blog and say hello or email me at mrn@(nospam)murraynewlands.com

Blog outreach involves communicating with bloggers to engage their audiences with your message. Bloggers are online influencers, and the best of them are prolific writers with a dedicated readership. Bloggers value relationships and will respond well to companies and individuals who reach out to communicate with them and do it the right way. Until recently it was innovative, at this point it is a necessary part of any ongoing marketing or public relations campaign.
Blogger outreach can be as simple as getting them to review your product or as involved as building an extended relationship with bloggers in your field that you can consistently give stories to and get feedback from.

1)Increase Sales- Good product reviews on the right blogs will lead to more sales from that blog’s readers. There are respected blogs in every field and thousands of readers who use the web to research their purchasing decisions-
2)Increase traffic- A review on a blog that ranks well in search engines is a powerful and effective way to increase search traffic. Since the reader is already online, they are just one click away from your product, a huge advantage over a product review in printed media.
3)Improve Search Engine Ranking- More links to your website will increase the search engine position of your site. This will help people find your product online directly through search engines.
4)Lead the Conversation- If you are not leading conversation in your subject area someone else will be. By reaching out to bloggers, you can start the conversation and make sure you are there to comment, respond and take part in whatever direction it goes.
5)Build Relationships- Reaching out to bloggers will help you build a relationship with the online influencers in your market- and that will add value and presence for your company in the online space.
6)Valuable Feedback- Engagement with your audience will lead to useful feedback for your company. If you are reaching out to bloggers, you will certainly get feedback from them. Even more important, you will get the extended feedback and exposure from their network through social media channels and blog comments.
7)Get the Jump on Competition- You should be building relationships with the blogging community before your competitors do. The online community knows what companies “get it” and who is good at
8)Follow Your Own Lead- If you have read this far you already know you need to do blogger outreach. You are getting guidance from a blog right now- the people you need to reach will do the same.
No matter your reason or duration, understand that blogger outreach is building a relationship. Bloggers respond well if you communicate with them as individuals, not to being on an impersonal mailing list. It’s best to learn something about their blog before contacting them and have a good idea of what they write about and their perspective.

Murray Newlands on blog outreach.

The Murray Newlands Fan Page is a resource for affiliate marketing and social media innovation, as well as a great place to find other people who are doing just what you are- growing an online presence. Beginning this week is the End of Summer, Murray Newlands Facebook Fan Page Competition.
By becoming a Fan at the Murray Newlands Fan Page you will have access to great affiliate and social media information- The MurrayNewlands.com blog, the @MurrayNewlands twitter feed, conference recaps and photos and other resources.

But what about the competition? It’s a way to have fun and grow the community! The two best things about Facebook in the first place. (And you can win $100!)
With that, here is how you enter the End of Summer Murray Newlands Facebook Fan Page Competition.
What: End of Summer, Murray Newlands Facebook Fan Page Competition
Who: You
Where: MurrayNewlands Facebook Fan Page
Why: For that one last bit of creativity at the end of summer! (and to win $100)
How: To with the $100 prize, show how creative you can be at recruiting people to the Murray Newlands Fan Page!

Here is how you enter the Facebook Competition :
1. Become a Fan of the MurrayNewlands Facebook Fan Page and invite ALL your Facebook friends to join.
2. Tweet this message: “I signed up for the @MurrayNewlands Facebook Comp – $100 prize! Sign up @ http://tr.im/wGym Plz RT”
3. Post it to your Facebook Wall.
So how do you win the Facebook Competition?
The Facebook competition winner will be chosen at random on the 30 August 2009 by Murray Newlands. No purchase necessary. Murray Newlands’ decision is final and the rules are by his discretion. You must be able to take payment by paypal.

Computers and the Internet have finally come full circle for the average American looking to make money through promoting products and services online. Blogging and site building has enabled many more people to earn money through affiliate marketing. I don’t know about save the economy, but affiliate marketing can definitely provide a means for more Americans to earn income online. Currently, there are several states that want to impose taxes on merchants with producing affiliates in those states, as is the case in New York. This can only be a bad thing and counter-productive to the growth of affiliate marketing as a vehicle for more people to earn money online. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of this happening, but people in their local states can protest and petition against this happening and get angry about it. It definitely has a negative effect on affiliates as merchants may choose to not working with affiliates in those certain states, which I don’t think is the answer at all. The merchants will just have to restructure their own margins to accommodate this change and make it work. The various affiliate networks seem to be stepping up and fighting this impending legislation more vigorously, so thats good. Everyone in the affiliate marketing world needs to mobile to fight this. The states are just looking for revenue anywhere they can get it.

Affiliate marketing truly is a vehicle towards earning income online by promoting various online retailers and websites. There are many supposed affiliate marketing gurus that novices come across, but they only want to sell you something themselves in the end by telling you how to make money through affiliate marketing. Stay away from anyone considered a guru! Affiliate marketing is very much about content, writing, and putting a heck of a lot of time in on your keyboard getting work done. I would venture to say that typing speed is one of the most important factors in how much content you can produce online. So I always recommend to work on becoming a faster typer. Doing a lot of reading online is also a good way to improve your own writing skills, which will help you craft better, more intresting content for your site visitors.

Blogging and blogs have really opened up the doors to many affiliates that struggle with creating their own sites in HTML. Now anyone can create a blog, put up the affiliate banners, and start writing. This is why I created the free affiliate site builder for the affiliate programs we manage. It allows you to get up and running with a .com or free subdomain site is under a minute. Everything is hosted for free and you can build as many site as you would like. There are other site building tools as well you can use like Synthasite. Once you are up and running with a niche site or blog, you can go to work adding articles and other useful/interesting information without worrying about building the pages in HTML and FTPing them to your server.

Content is one biggest part of affiliate marketing because sites with good content rank well in the search engines. Leveraging pay-per-click or PPC keyword marketing is also a great way to generate traffic to your site or in some cases directly to the merchants site, but more and more merchants are moving away from allowing that. So affiliates need to have their own niche sites or send the traffic to a dedicated page on their site which pre-sells for the merchant. A good pre-sell page can really help convince the consumer that they should buy from the merchant and maybe even promote a coupon code to increase conversion likely hood. Making PPC work is not easy at all but affiliates do make it work so it can be done successfully. I always recommend a very slow, controled experiment with about $100 to see how many sales occur and if any ROI is present. Testing out 100s of keyword niches in this manner may leave you with 20 or 30 that are profitable and can be run effectively to create a profit channel. Using PPC and organic SEO together is the best approach towards creating sustained long-term traffic and affiliate commissions. Make sure to make your site “stickier” by adding newsletter sign-up, Twitter follow, email this page, bookmark this page, etc.

Affiliate marketing is still a growing industry that is really seeing more interest due to the current economic crisis. As people look for way to generate additional revenue, they will be turning online. Affiliate marketing is the best way for the “average American” (I only mean that in the most general sense) to generate income by marketing products and services online. This industry needs to be supported and embraced in order for it to really flourish for more people. So yes I do think affiliate marketing can save the economy! This was more of a ramble than a well-constructed piece, so take it for what it’s worth. I’d love to know your feedback and thoughts! Happy Easter!

Great stuff:

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Social Media Marketing Madness [cartoon]

Not sure if it’s Google Reader or FeedBurner, but this is not cool:

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Skitch.com > samharrelson > GoogReaderFail

Six hours of latency. Six.

Track will kill the RSS star.

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Earlier this week, I lamented on Google’s poor handling of FeedBurner since acquiring the service.

Instead of capitalizing on FeedBurner’s large amount of inertia and kind feelings towards the service from the influence-sphere of bloggers, Google has relegated FeedBurner to the back shelf of its growing collection of dolls and toys.

In a post about the coming possibilities of a “ping economy” (attention economy?), Steve Gillmor points out the growing latency (ie impotency) of FeedBurner and how Google has mis-handled RSS notifications within Google Reader in general:

The Realtime Ping Server: “Whatever the case, and whether or not we’re correctly implementing a ping or not, the notion that blog posts are effectively removed from a realtime audience which is increasingly dominant is mindbogglingly stupid. Some even suggest there are competitive reasons for this lack of a strategy, but I can’t quite construct a convincing rationale for it to date. However, I will throw out the apparent fact that Google makes much more from Web pages than they do from RSS pages.

Inevitably, FriendFeed will roll out Track, and so will Twitter in short order, perhaps even sooner than FriendFeed’s smaller team can prioritize it. Until then, we will continue to model our Twitter cloud in FriendFeed constructs, make do with a lack of filtering tools to constrain the friend-of-a-friend overspill, and look to other players (Microsoft in particular) to compete directly with Feedburner at the RSS routing layer. There is no reason why RSS can’t be an effective protocol at the realtime layer, and FriendFeed’s growing arsenal of features is both a roadmap and a toolkit for the transition.

Note: I am publishing this post at 3:31PM Pacific time.

Update: 5:01PM No RSS.

Update: 5:52PM Still broken.”

Such a shame. FeedBurner could have taken blogging and pinging to the 2.0 level with more instantaneous notifications of updates. Instead, Google placed more “relevant” ads on our feeds and moved on.

Nothing to see there (except the ads, of course).

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I’m technically on family holiday vacation this week, holed up in a lovely cabin in the mountains north of Asheville.

We have wifi here, but I decided to opt for the Touch and my Blackberry (and Kindle of course) over lugging up the Macbook Pro. I’m actually writing this on the Touch with the fantastic WordPress app. Honestly, it’s pretty smooth and I need to do this more frequently.

What I’ve realized this week is that I can do most everything that I do on my laptop with just the Touch and the Blackberry. Tweeting, reading feeds in Google Rader, answering email, playing in Facebook, and now blogging are almost more enjoyable on the Touch over the laptop.

But what about “business stuff” like checking stats, reading and writing Docs and spreadsheets or FTP’ing into sites? All are (easily) doable and smooth in this sort of a mobile scenario. Actually, I’m really enjoying stretching myself and learning the new skill of mobile aptitude.

Of course, much of the content I create and consume is based in cloud computing rather than relying on a desktop. I make heavy use of all the Google apps. When I have needed a doc, I just access it in either Dropbox or on drop.io since I keep things sync’d on those places anyway. It’s worked out well.

So, my grand experiment in digital nomadicism is going surprisingly well. I could easily see myself just bringing the Touch and Blackberry to Affiliate Summit this month and leaving the Macbook home. 8 of my text books for the coming semester are in the Kindle, so my load for school will def be the Touch (Bible software apps are tremendous), blackberry and Kindle.

Digital nomadicism isn’t for everyone, of course. I unabashedly rely on web and cloud apps over desktop bound software and I’m not tied to an enterprise infrastructure that requires any special software. But a lighter load in a new year is always a good thing!

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Will Jangro break the curse??

Lots of good nominees this year and congrats to all the finalists:

Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards Finalists Announced — MissyWard.com: “The Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards Gala is affiliate marketing’s most prestigious, competitive honor for the leaders in the space. Award winners are recognized because they are innovative leaders with vision and influence.

The Pinnacle Awards Gala is open to all attendees of Affiliate Summit West 2009 and takes place Monday, January 12th from 5:00pm-6:30pm in the Brasilia room at the Rio Hotel Las Vegas.”

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This piece puts a thumb on what annoys me so much about the Aweber subscription pop-ups/lightboxes that so many people in the marketing blog space seem to be using these days.

So annoying:

No-Permission Pop-up Subscriptions Are A Bad Idea:

Thanks (or not so much) in part to some meta bloggers, pop-ups have crept their way into the blogosphere. I am seeing more pop-ups on blogs, especially in the marketing, tech and social media niches.  Pop-ups are a dated tactic that were thrown out by many design and usability conscious marketers years ago for good reason – they interrupt a positive user experience on a website and are not permission based.

Go read the whole piece (especially if you’re following the “make money online” bloggers and putting, or considering putting, these on your pages).

In my opinion, let people sign up as they please. If your content is good enough, people will gladly sign up for your newsletter. You don’t have to throw a lightbox in front of people to have them be aware of subscription options.

I’m not making any “rules” here, Jim. I’m just pointing out some common courtesy for readers and how playing the long term game is often more beneficial than gunning for short term rewards.

Just sayin’

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Awesome:

Disqus Blog » Facebook Connect now available on Disqus: “We began our Facebook Connect integration with our announcement last week. Tonight, all websites using Disqus now have the option to enable Facebook Connect.”

You can try it out here in the comments (if you’re logged into Disqus already, you have to log out first).

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