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iBlog The magazine for women influencers & bloggers




February 16

Join over 120,000 influencers that read iBlog magazine monthly!


Make priceless professional connections with structured networking after keynotes and lunches, enjoy the expansive Networking Plaza, and connect with peers at multiple networking parties.

Pick from 100 expert-led sessions across seven tracks focused on tactics, strategy, measurement, corporate, small biz, content, and the future of social.

Make new connections at the opening night networking party held aboard an aircraft carrier. Enjoy the San Diego sunshine from the bayfront San Diego Convention Center.

Offer ends Dec 31st!

Master Your Video How to optimize your YouTube videos for search


Pinterest How to use Pinterest tools to boost your traffic

How To Leverage

your social media skills to succeed in your niche

Networks Now - The Blogger Network The 3 Pillars of The Blogger Network




How To

ExtendtheLife ofYour BlogPosts How To Extend

the life of your blog posts


table of contents




24 26



Mari Smith -


Ted Rubin -










Pat Flynn - Kim Vij - Amy Locurto -


Ashlee Marie -




CJ - Commission Junction





Social media content calendar to manage blogging & social Affiliate marketing made easy for your blog Customer relationship manager for your growing business Analyzing content and audiences for optimized reach

How To Master Periscope

for live streaming success

How To Build Your YouTube Subscribers

Copyright Law For Bloggers



You can report facts in another’s web page.

Parody… is fair use, P8satire is not.


Links to URLs cannot be afforded copyright protection.

The How To Issue


ith so many new tools and social platforms popping up daily, it is nearly impossible to manage them all. Luckily for us, there are many top-notch experts that specialize in learning, understanding and implementing these tools every day. To that end, we invited an incredible roster of social media superstars and experienced influencers to share some of their expert knowledge for our How To Issue. This informative feature section begins with Mari Smith walking us through the steps to master the new “Facebook Live”, Facebook’s answer to Periscope and other live-streaming platforms. Learn how to get started and engage your audience with this video tool and you will be up and running in no time. Speaking of engaging, Ted Rubin focuses on an important metric that too often gets overlooked - Return on Relationship (#RonR), the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. It is important to remember that social media is, by nature, social, and that those relationships need to be nurtured. Implement his crucial tips for doing so and watch your return on investment soar. As you implement these crucial development tools, ensure you are also setting your channels up for success. Is your website Pinterest-friendly? Do you know what categories perform best? With experience driving millions of followers on Pinterest, Kim Vij shares her knowledge on how to optimize your own pins and boards. Following the visual trends, video is the future, and the future is now. Expert influencer Amy Locurto walks through the steps to master Periscope for live-streaming success while Ashlee Prisbrey describes how to build your YouTube following she went from zero to 10,000 subscribers in under nine months!

Meet the Team.

Thriving in an industry where new platforms and changes occur every day takes a village of experts. While compiling the “How To” issue, we loved learning how industry leaders and successful influencers are achieving new heights and sharing their knowledge so others can do the same. With more than a dozen articles brimming with actionable advice that you can implement today, we hope that this issue inspires great success for you in 2016.

Contact us today

iBlog magazine partners: • Social Media Conferences • Blog Conferences • Influencer Networks • Blogger Networks • Agencies, Brands & PR Firms Matt Cherry

Founder & Publisher @iBlogmag

Ashley Abele

Operations Mgr & Editor @AshleyNAbele

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Networks Conferences brands

A strategic marketing partnership with iBlog adds value to your campaigns, helping you increase your reach with women influencers.

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iBlog magazine Corp. Office: 231 N. Tennessee Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801 Printed in the USA, Copyright © 2015 by iTell Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved. iBlog maga-

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iBlog magazine Feb 2016

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Graphic Designer

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zine is published monthly except for combined July/August and December/January issues, by iTell Ventures, Inc. 231 N. Tennessee Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801. Subscriptions are by membership to website only. Address all membership correspondences to membership@iblogmagazine. com. To change address please visit your membership account at Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. Requests for permissions should be directed to

iBlog Advisory Committee Industry leaders committed to your success

Laura Mayes Co-founder, Mom 2.0 Summit, Camp Mighty, Go Mighty, Kirtsy

Ana Flores Founder, We All Grow Summit, Latina Bloggers Connect, Spanglish Baby

Stacey Ferguson

Kristin Hylek

Kim Garst

Co-founder, Blogalicious Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media, Attorney

Manager, Alliances & Brands PR & Brand Engagement McDonald’s USA, LLC

Co-founder, Boom! Social, Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers

Emily McKhann

Barbara Jones

Aliza Freud

Suzanne Fanning

Ronnie Tyler

Co-Founder, The Motherhood The McKhann Media Group

Founder, one2one Network CEO, Blissful Media Group

Founder & CEO SheSpeaks &

President, WOMMA Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc.

Co-founder, Black and Married With Kids, Tyler New Media

MJ Tam

Jeannette Kaplun

Editor, Chicagonista Co-Founder, Women Driving excellence

Founder, Hispana Global, Author-Todobebe, TV Host Journalist, Spokesperson

Angela Sustaita-Ruiz

Pat Flynn

Co-founder, Hispanicize Partner, Hispanicize Wire, CEO, Latina Mom Bloggers

Founder, Smart Passive Income, iTunes Top Podcaster, Author, Blogger

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

Sami Cone

Instructional Design Mgr. Enterprise Training at Marketing Profs

Radio & TV Host, Savings Expert

Laurie Schacht

Cecilia Mecca

Co-publisher The Toy Insider, President The Toy Book

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Lynette Young Founder, Women of Google+, 1.5 million followers, speaker, corporate trainer

Nadia Jones

Joey Fortman

Cherie Whyte

CEO Niche Parent Blogger Network, Social Media Strategist

Founder, Real Mom Media, Parent Advisory Panel & Events Manager - Toy Insider

Director, Citizen Relations International

Bridgette Duplantis Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Debbie Bookstaber

Katja Presnal

President, Element Associates, Social Media Director, Child’s Play Communications

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Skimbaco Co-Founder, Global Mappin

Sarah Beeskow-Blay

Jyl Johnson Pattee

Amy Atkinson

Yoly Mason

Missy Maher

Founder, Amy Atkinson Communications

Founder,, Founder Las Blogueras

EVP, Zeno Group Edelman Public Relations

Director of Client Services, Share A Sale

Founder, Mom It Forward, Family Forward Conference

Do you support women influencers? iBlog magazine is seeking out new partnerships with national brand, agency and pr firm executives that would like to participate on the iBlog magazine Advisory committee. Join our industry leaders and partner with the largest business resource for women influencers online. Receive year-round exposure for your brand(s), benefit from our partnerships with leading influencer networks and conferences while discovering new opportunities to support and interact with influencers in the iBlog magazine community. For more information about iBlog’s Advisory committee please email us at:


February / March 16 conferences and events

Concentrated 18 Blogging Salt Lake City, UT

18 Dad 2.0 Social

19 Build Your Blog Conf.

Equipping professional bloggers and business owners with the necessary tools to be relevant and successful in the digital market. Blogging Concentrated offers a host of services and opportunities for bloggers ranging from individualized workshops or larger events to independent consulting and corporate blogger training.

Discover the commercial power of dads online, and learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business ideas. Connect with marketers, social media leaders, and blogging parents to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood.

The Most Educational Blogger Conference. We set out to create the best conference for blogs to actually learn and get inspired. The second largest blogger conference in the nation helping bloggers take their passion and turn it into an actual business!

Washington, DC

Salt Lake City, UT


for Bloggers 26 Thrive The Woodlands, TX

26 Bloggin’ Mamas

#WeAllGrow Summit 3 Long Beach, CA

A blog conference where bloggers from all backgrounds can come together and learn from each other and leaders in the blogging community. Party on Friday night to mix and mingle with other bloggers and our sponsors. Then on Saturday learn from accomplished bloggers as they teach you how to be a successful blogger.

More than just a conference, it’s an experience. 150 bloggers, media, marketing and PR professionals will join together to network with each other and experience the sites of Tampa, FL. With Pow Wows and Panels, this event will leave the attendees with real tools they can use to build and grow their blog businesses.

The go-to professional conference for Latinas in the digital space. The conversation, networking and learning experiences - all bilingual and in-culture - are crafted to create unique and long-lasting connections, as well as professional growth experiences. Designed to help you achieve your objectives, because we do grow together.

Tampa, FL




5 GoBlogSocial

6 Design & Garden Bloggers


Go Blog Social is a destination to meet in-person, connect with businesses, learn about the social industry and gain the tools to grow. Whether just starting out or a blog veteran, interested in building your brand or a business, GBS offers the information, advice and expertise to help you do just that. Go Blog Social is going on tour in 2016.

The only conference specifically focused on the interests of bloggers in interior design. Join interior design bloggers, new media innovators, and interior design industry leaders for the premier conference and experience for professionals actively using or interested in learning about new media and the interior design industry.

5 days of compelling panel sessions led by the brightest minds in emerging technologies, handson instructional Workshops, one-on-one Mentor opportunities with industry leaders and a variety of exciting networking opportunities. A true incubator of cutting-edge technologies and creativity – it’s the place to preview the technology of tomorrow today.

St. Louis

Atlanta, GA


Austin, TX



Concentrated 13 Blogging Phoenix, AZ

19 Simply Stylist

25 CVX Live

Equipping professional bloggers and business owners with the necessary tools to be relevant and successful in the digital market. Blogging Concentrated offers a host of services and opportunities for bloggers ranging from individualized workshops or larger events to independent consulting and corporate blogger training.

Connecting career-minded fashionistas, beauty lovers and geek-chic techies together in a space where they can network and learn from experts in their field. The Simply Stylist conference is designed to help you get there – wherever your own unique “there” may be.

CVX Live is BACK! There are multiple levels of YouTuber, vendor & activity booths. Meet up and coming YouTube talent, and see their unreleased videos. Learn about the latest technology used by content creators. Have fun with entertaining and free activities during two days of non-stop entertainment & interaction with your favorite online content creators.


iBlog magazine Feb 2016

Los Angeles, CA

Orem, UT


tech tools

Kim Beasley

Learn How to Manage Blogging and Social Media With CoSchedule


HAVE YOU BEEN SEARCHING FOR A TOOL THAT WOULD ALLOW YOU TO MANAGE BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA AT THE SAME TIME? Then look no further because I’ve found the solution you’ve been looking for, and it’s called CoSchedule. What I love about CoSchedule is that it allows you to have a marketing calendar where you can see all of your efforts in one place. Personally, it has saved me about half the amount of time I used to spend on the whole blogging and social media sharing process. By being able to do it all in one place, I can get things done quickly.

What is CoSchedule? CoSchedule is a social tool that allows you to manage blogging and social media efforts in one place. According to its website, you can … • Save a ton of time with social media. By using CoSchedule, you can schedule posting to all of your social media accounts at the same time. • Plan and schedule all of your social media. When you plan and schedule out your posting, it frees up your time. It also keeps fresh messages going to your social media accounts. • Get more traffic than ever before. It can encourage your target customer to check out your blog post when using CoSchedule to share your posts to social media in a timely manner. • Plan ahead to balance your life. By using this tool to plan out the postings on your blog and on social media, you can become more efficient. The freedom you get from doing this allows you to spend your saved time doing other great things. • Manage everything you create in one place. By being able to do this, you can go to one location online instead of having to log into your blog and all of the social media websites. • Boost traffic from your old posts. One of the best options that CoSchedule offers is the ability to send traffic to old posts that may need traffic love. • Become an even better blogger. It can help you create a consistent blogging schedule that can help you become known as a blogger in your industry. With all of this in place, I feel like CoSchedule is a revolutionary social media tool that’s perfect for everyone. It even has a two-week trial period so you can decide on how it will work for you.

Why use CoSchedule to manage blogging and social media? Good question, and the answer is simple. It saves you time and gives your organization an all-in-one place for blogging and social media. By having the capability to manage blogging and social media in one place, it also allows for automation to be set up. Personally, I use Google+ and Twitter a lot, and having the ability to automate postings to these networks with CoSchedule has made me very happy. It can also post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and even Buffer. It’s a one-stop shop for managing your online content sharing efforts. What are you waiting for? Take advantage of the free trial and experience the relief of spending less time on the blogging process. I guarantee that CoSchedule is what you’ve been looking for to help manage your blogging and social media efforts.



Kim Garst @kimgarst

Master Your Videos How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos for Search


iBlog magazine Feb 2016

Do you regularly post videos to YouTube? Are you frustrated by the lack of views and engagement your videos are getting? If so, the problem could very well be that they aren’t properly optimized for search. Fortunately, giving your videos the best chance at getting found isn’t highly technical, and shouldn’t take you a ton of time. This post will walk you through exactly what you need to do to optimize your YouTube videos for search – both for Google search and for YouTube’s on-site search.

Video Title


Your title is perhaps the single most important feature for getting your video to rank in search. Just as you spend time doing keyword research for your website content, be sure to work at finding popular and relevant keywords to use in your video title. Be sure to choose keywords that your audience will be looking for, but that aren’t so competitive that they’ll be impossible to rank for. If possible, use your most important keywords near the beginning of your title and your branding keywords (i.e. company name) near the end.

While your thumbnail image won’t actually help you rank in search, it can have a significant impact on how often your video gets clicked on in search. You can choose to use either an automatically generated image, or upload your own custom thumbnail. In either case, it’s a good idea to keep the following best practices in mind: »U  se clear, close-up images so viewers don’t need to zoom in to see the image »U  se professional-quality images that accurately convey the topic of your video »O  verlay your video title onto your image »U  se good lighting to make sure your images are clear and the subject is easily identifiable »U  se bright colors that will stand out against YouTube’s white background »A  void using your logo as your thumbnail. Trust me when I say it will NOT help entice people to click on your video!

User Experience Video Description Your description is where your keywords can really shine. By accurately and comprehensively describing the content of your video, you have a better chance at getting found for both short and long-tail keywords. Most experts recommend making your description a minimum of 200-250 characters, but longer is almost always better. Use as many characters as you need to accurately convey the content of your video. Just as with your video title, be sure to include your most important keywords near the beginning of your description. Another important strategy for your video descriptions is your website URL. If possible, put your URL near the beginning of your description. Make it as easy as possible for viewers to visit your site or contact you for more information!

Keep in mind that YouTube also factors in user experience as a ranking factor. This means that the more views and engagement (thumbs up, subscribes, etc.) you get, the higher your videos will rank. For this reason, avoid using irrelevant keywords or other sneaky tactics, as these strategies will not get you ahead in the long run.

Tags Think of your tags as a list of all your relevant keywords. Include all the keywords you’ve found in your keyword research, but also consider adding long-tail phrases that speak to the problems your viewers might be trying to solve. For instance, “How to carve a turkey”, “Thanksgiving turkey carving”, or “Turkey carving tips”.

Video Transcription Transcribing your videos is not only useful for your hard of hearing viewers, it can also help boost your search rankings. There are two ways you can do this: either by manually adding captions via your video manager, or by creating and uploading your own plain text transcript file.



How To Use Pinterest Tools to Boost Your Traffic Map out your strategy to reach your ideal readers. Are you on Pinterest but feel like you’re floundering? Are you struggling to capture your intended audience? The key to success on Pinterest is a clearly mapped out strategy, which I’ll help you create in a few steps.

Flesh Out Your Target Market

Essential to a successful Pinterest marketing plan is fleshing your ideal readers out so that you can actually think of them as people, rather than statistics and numbers. If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, your first step will be to think about the audience you want to target. (If you’ve been blogging for more than a year, chances are you already have an audience, so feel free to skip this section and move on to the following section.) To determine your target market, get out a piece of paper and write down the answers to the following questions: » What topics do you blog about? » Are men, women, or both interested in your topics? 12

iBlog magazine Feb 2016

»W  hat are these people’s hobbies? What types of activities do they participate in? »W  hat career stage is your target audience in? »W  hat stage of life in your target audience in? (i.e college students, starting a family, getting married, raising a family, empty-nesters)

Think Of Your Audience As People

Now we will use the same questions asked earlier to take the analytics data and “flesh it out” into a whole person who has interests beyond the content of your website. These questions will help you think of your audience as a friend, someone you know well enough to buy a gift for. Take out a piece of paper and answer the questions that I listed in the previous section – we will be using them in a moment.

Define Your Style

If you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time, then you know that good images are essential to success on Pinterest. Develop a Signature Pin – a group of fonts and image type – so that all of your pins have a similar look and feel, to not only create a cohesive brand look, but to exude quality to potential readers. Your Signature Pin template should contain fonts, colors, and more.

Craft An SEO Plan

The SEO plan for your blog and Pinterest will look remarkably similar, because let’s face it: Pinterest is the fastest growing visual search engine out there. A Pinterest SEO plan works, but only if you first brainstorm, then optimize your board titles, board descriptions, and the description of each and every pin on the board.


From your brainstorming list, it’s time to choose the boards that work for you. Start with 20 boards – 10 that are related to your

“If you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time, then you know that good images are essential to success on Pinterest. Develop a Signature Pin …” blog, and 10 that are unrelated but that appeal to your audience. You will want to create a spreadsheet that lists these 20 boards, one on each line. The first column should contain the board title – feel free to be creative with this and make it your own, just make sure that the main keyword/focus of the board is still included in the title. The second column should contain one to two keywords that accurately describe what the board is about.

Board Descriptions

With a completed spreadsheet, it is time to actually create these boards. Alternatively, if you already have some of these boards in your PInterest account, you can just edit to optimize them. Start with Board #1 on your list, title it accordingly, write a description that incorporates the relevant keywords, and include a call-to-action at the end. Make your way down the list until all 20 boards have been created and SEO-optimized.

Develop a Plan To Pin Consistently

Just like any other social media site, the only way to see real results is to be consistent, day in and day out. But I know that you all have lives: families, kids, hobbies, and you cannot be on Pinterest 24/7, which is why I recommend Tailwind, Buffer, or ViralTag for bloggers with budgets of $10-$50 a month. These schedulers are all Pinterest API partners so they have been approved by Pinterest.

Pin With Purpose

Once you’ve decided on a pin scheduler, you need to determine the types of content you’ll pin. For each and every one of my clients, I recommend “sprinkling” your content in with other high-quality pins. Use a 4:1 ratio when scheduling pins – that is, 4 pins of others’ content to one pin of your own. This ratio doesn’t have to be exact, it is simply a good rule of thumb.

Brainstorm Write down 5-10 ideas related to the following brainstorming questions: »W  hat are the main SEO keywords of my website?

Your content will obviously be found on your own website, but to find good quality pins by others, there are several places you can go: » S earching “All Pins” on Pinterest » S earching “Boards” on Pinterest » Influencer’s pages This content and your own should be pinned to your boards at regular intervals.

Pin with SEO in Mind

When actually pinning or scheduling content, don’t neglect SEO. Each and every pin description on each and every board needs to include the corresponding keyword at least once in the pin description. For most pins that aren’t your own, the keyword will already be in the description, but if you want to be sure or step your SEO game up a bit more, there’s an easier way to make sure that relevant keywords are always included.

Copy and Paste

Simply use your board/keyword spreadsheet to copy the keywords for the correct board from column two, and paste them onto the end of each and every pin description. 99% of pinners will not see these keywords, but Pinterest will, and they will ultimately boost your boards’ and pins’ ranks in Pinterest search. If you have more time on your hands, then you can manually insert these keywords into the description and make it read comfortably at the same time.

»W  hat board titles could relate to the stage of life that my audience is in? (i.e. quick dinner recipes, parenting hacks, save money on groceries, cheap date ideas, DIY decor, etc) »W  hat board topics relate to my audience’s specific gender? (i.e. fashion, beauty, health, fitness) »W  hat types of boards relate to my audience’s hobbies? (i.e photography, blogging tips, sewing, crafting, decorating, building furniture)

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

As a blogger you know that the blog landscape is constantly changing. As your content evolves, make sure to adjust your Pinterest marketing plan for your new content, changes in seasons, and even popular content. Pinterest can be one of the most profitable and enjoyable social media outlets for bloggers, and and if you keep your Pinterest marketing plan in mind, Pinterest can take your blog further than you ever imagined.

Gretchen Lindow @RetiredBy40


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INDUSTRY/TRENDS Elisa Camahort Page @ElisaC

How To

Extend the Life of Your Blog Posts


iBlog magazine Feb 2016

You may have heard a concept called ‘evergreen content,’ which means content that is always relevant, or timeless. It’s the content you find when you do an Internet search on any given subject, whether today or a year from now. There are two types of evergreen posts – non-seasonal and seasonal and you may have dozens of both types without even realizing it.

Think About It Learn from that popular content and apply those lessons as you write future posts. Figure out why people are finding that particular post on your blog, then repeat what worked. · Did you use great SEO key words? · Is the subject matter a hot topic that’s trending now? · Where is traffic to that post coming from? If it’s coming from Google, you can be pretty sure you’ve stumbled across a hot search topic. · Pinterest? Maybe you used an awesome image.

Non-seasonal content is often evergreen, and if it's not it can be rendered timeless with mindful edits. Think creative crafts from recycled packaging, top ten nutritionally packed vegetables, best ways to fold laundry. Broad topics like parenting, family, or work are also generally timeless. These topics are interesting and relevant any time of the year, and with just a tweak or two can be made fresh again for reposting. Also, don’t forget to look back at the posts you may have outgrown yet are still very relevant for readers – even if your kids are out of diapers (for example), new moms are out there waiting to hear your stories, tips, and wisdom!

Remember, by providing more evergreen content, you become a source on subjects outside of your niche, which is a great way to broaden your audience. Next, when you react to timely events, think timeless. It's really tempting to brain dump everything into one post. When we react, we tend to do so from a place of emotion rather than a place of action. People often react to our emotions and feed them back to us in their comments. When we attach our actions to those same emotional posts, we often limit the longevity of our content.

Seasonal evergreen content is similar, but it’s useful during the same time of year or season, “It's helpful to understand that your most year after year - or seasonally relevant. Think popular evergreen posts may not be reflective gravy recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, how to make homemade valentines in February, of the rest of your content…” fitness tips in January. Repurpose your wedding content each June, top sunscreens in summer, back to school during the fall, and how to be a fabulous Look at some favorite posts you've written in response to holiday shopper every November – now you’re in the events. If a similar event happened today, would you share seasonal evergreen groove! those posts again? If not, what references in the post are It’s helpful to understand that your most popular evergreen posts may not be reflective of the rest of your content. You might have a post about shampoo that was astoundingly popular, but if you’re not a beauty blogger, you may feel you have nothing to learn from it and you can’t apply that magic sauce to the rest of your content. But here’s the cool part - you can still learn from that popular content and apply those lessons as you write future posts. Figure out why people are finding that particular post on your blog, then repeat what worked.

preventing you from re-sharing it? Would the impact of the post be lost without those references? How can you keep the emotion that sparked the reaction but limit the references that date your post?

Repurposing your content is an easy way to keep your blog fresh, especially on those days that you just don’t have enough time or energy to come up with something new and amazing. Ultimately, you’ll experience the most satisfaction, authenticity, and success when you write the posts you want to read. You are your best audience.



How to leverage your social media skills to Succeed in Your Niche

Leigh Anne Wilkes Pinterest: leighannewilkes

Maximize New Social Media Channels This past year, Instagram has been my favorite social media channel, and I’ve worked hard to create a consistent presence on IG, and a beautiful and fun curated feed. I’ve recently started using SnapChat, which has been a fun new social media channel. I’m still working on figuring out the best and most effective way to use it. I have also been watching others on Periscope, and even though I haven’t jumped in and done my first scope yet, my plan is to start using it and developing a presence there this year. Since Pinterest is the main source of traffic to my blog, I’ll be continuing to focus on and improve my presence on Pinterest. I have a tremendous amount of content – over 2,000 posts – in my archives. A big part of my efforts will be put into the older posts in these archives, such as updating them with new photos when necessary, adding affiliate links, and getting them back out in front of people through social media channels. Manage Your Budget Budget … hmmm .... I should work on that one! Currently, other than blog expenses (hosting, etc.) my largest expense would be my virtual assistants. This is definitely one of the best places I spend my money. They totally keep me sane, boost productivity, and increase efficiency. Google Analytics places Facebook as a key social media channel 18

iBlog magazine Feb 2016

driving traffic to my blog. I’ve hired a virtual assistant to help run my Facebook page and make sure I have a consistent presence there, and that interaction is happening with the people who come to my page and comment. Learn More About Blogging I’ve recently joined BC Prime, which is part of Blog Concentrated and also Food Blogger Pro, both of which I do pay a membership for but are a tremendous resource of amazing information. I highly recommend both. I’m also fortunate to be a part of several “tribes” with other bloggers, and we have a Skype group. That’s usually my first place to go when I have a question or want to learn more about something – I ask my Tribe! I find them to be an invaluable source of information and inspiration. Value Your Time Over the past several years I’ve been a contributor on several other blogs, and I think it was valuable at the time but now that my blog has grown and is continuing to grow I don’t find being a monthly contributor as helpful in building my own blog. This next year I’ll be focusing that time I was spending contributing to other blogs on my own blog. I still find value in being a guest poster on other blogs, but I won’t be doing any monthly contributing to other blogs anymore.

There are so many social media channels available to help us build and grow our online presence and connect with our audience that it can be overwhelming, taking an incredible amount of time. My advice would be to narrow your focus. You can’t be everything to everyone. Pick the top two or three of your favorite and relevant social media channels, and focus on those.

Manage Email Marketing I have an automatic daily email update that goes out to those who sign up for my mailing list. I also have a weekly email that goes out that I personalize. When my readers sign up for my email list, they have an option to receive a daily update, a weekly update, or both. The daily emails are just a notification regarding that day’s post, while the weekly emails are a recap of what was featured on the blog that week with a message from me. I also include “blast from the past” type of posts in the weekly email, which include posts from my archives that they might have missed. Make the Most of 2016 The blogging world is certainly different than it was when I began my blog eight years ago. A majority of the current social media didn’t exist at that time, so we relied on other ways to grow our blog; things such as guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and being visible. We connected with our readers through the comments on our blogs, but now that connection is made through social media. There are so many social media channels available to help us build and grow our online presence and connect with our audience that it can be overwhelming, taking an incredible amount of time. My advice would be to narrow your focus. You can’t be everything to everyone. Pick the top two or

three of your favorite and relevant social media channels, and focus on those. For me, it will be Instagram, Facebook, and either SnapChat or Periscope. Develop a consistent and authentic presence on the channels that will resonate with your readers the most.

”Develop . a consistent and authentic presence on the channels that will resonate with your readers the most.“ My second piece of advice is just to be consistent. Be consistent in the number of times you post on your blog, have a consistent voice and message, and have a consistent presence on the social media channels you choose to focus on. Third, work on developing solid and good relationships with brands. Sponsored posts can be a large and consistent part of your income. We don’t have much control over ad networks and what they’re going to pay, so working on and developing a solid sponsored post base for your blog can provide you with a more consistent income.


networks now

The Three Pillars of The Blogger Network Always Do What’s Best for the Blogger THE BLOGGER NETWORK (TBN) IS A PREMIUM PUBLISHER-CENTRIC AD NETWORK FOUNDED BY BLOGGERS AND BUILT FOR BLOGGERS. One way we are different is that from the beginning we built this network to benefit bloggers rather than to cater to advertisers. Most ad networks are built for and by advertisers. The technology, reporting, and industry are stacked to help the advertiser. They provide no or very low level of service to bloggers and almost all online publishers. At The Blogger Network, our guiding principle in everything we do is to “always do what’s best for the blog.” Every morning we hold a company meeting, and in this meeting we celebrate new blogs added to our network. We show every new member website on the big screen and go straight to the “about” section to get to know our newest publisher. We’re honored and get super excited over every publisher who joins our network!

Power in Numbers Our message to bloggers and publishers everywhere is that you’re not on your own anymore. With the collective power of over 1,000 publishers, we have the power to dictate better terms and better treatment from the world’s largest advertisers. We also have the power of numbers in terms of data. With the economies of scale we have to see huge amounts of ad-performance data, helping us make the best decisions for your site.


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PILLAR 1 INCREASE YOUR INCOME Our goal is to be the monetization partner for publishers of any size. One of our core services is managing and maximizing display advertising. We are a “100% fill solution,” which means we can fill all of your impressions. We don’t ask for only the best ad spaces and leave you high and dry, and we won’t just add more ads to raise your income. We take a data-and-technology-driven approach to your ads to get you the very highest earnings for all of your individual ad spaces. We also maximize your mobile ad earnings through our proprietary mobile solution, which is available to all members! We then offer the highest level of daily reporting so you can see your ad performance, earnings, and payments on a daily basis. We proactively look for and build new ways to increase your income. From native and other alternative ad solutions to online trainings for creating your own products, we’re passionate about helping bloggers be professional full-time publishers!




We know that traffic can solve a lot of bloggers’ problems, so we also wanted to help bloggers grow! That’s why we created an online education platform called the Build Your Blog Academy. Bloggers of all sizes have learned how to grow by taking the courses; or if online learning isn’t your style, our yearly in-person conference, Build Your Blog Conference, is also focused on helping publishers grow. No matter what stage, we want bloggers to treat their blogs as a business. Though it’s often not profitable to manage blogs under 80k pageviews, it’s important to us to provide a way for smaller blogs to make money from ads. So we introduced Propel, the first ever growth and monetization program for blogs between 10k and 80k monthly pageviews. Chrisy at the Homemade Hooplah blog joined Propel in July, 2015. “I was averaging about 60-65k pageviews a month. At this moment, I’ve had 108k for the last 30 days and am projecting to have 120-150k for by the end of August.” She went on to talk about what this meant for her income. “Even before my traffic began to grow, I was earning more through Propel. With the added traffic, this means that my income for July increased by 35% and in August it will likely be 200% more than it was in June.” A month later she went on to say: “I took the plunge to join The Blogger Network’s Propel program – and so far it’s been one of the best moves I’ve ever made for this blog. I no longer have to “fight the good fight” of wrangling placement, tiers, and floor costs across multiple ad networks. TBN now shoulders that burden so I can spend more time promoting my content.” It’s testimonials like this that get us up in the morning!


The life of a publisher is incredibly busy, and every aspect of owning a website seems to demand all of your attention. Everything we do saves publishers the time and headache of managing your website’s income. If an advertiser doesn’t pay correctly, we take the time to correct the numbers and make sure you’re paid in full. We try to take as much off of our members’ plates as possible.

Telling the Future The world of advertising is evolving at an extremely rapid pace, so we’re building the technology and infrastructure to make the most of those changes. We’ve built a brand-new mobile tool to replace our current offering, as well as adding new revenue streams from new, patented technologies! We’re also providing new alternative modes of advertising, with some of the largest advertisers in the country. Ad blocking is also a hot issue that we’re working on to make sure that our sites can work with ad blockers to minimize earnings that could be affected. The future is extremely bright for online publishers to monetize the incredible influence they’ve built. Our goal is to help the current and next generation of content creators to turn their passion into a profession by being a part of The Blogger Network!

Kyle Ivins @TBloggerN





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HOW TO... How to craft great content. How to design a blog. How to be a social media superstar. How to make your first million. There are a million How To’s out there, and for good reason. In the blogging and social media world, things change every day (sometimes every hour). With new tools and tactics taking shape on a regular basis, it can be hard to keep up- even if it seems like a new How To hits your Facebook newsfeed or your inbox every few minutes. However, it is in the wisdom of these How To’s that we find benefit. Take Pinterest, for example. With more than 100 million users, there are clearly people actively seeking content. But is your content optimized for your target audience to find? With more than 1.6 million followers, Pinterest expert Kim Vij discusses setting up your Pinterest boards for success. Are you making the most of the relationships you build with friends and colleagues? Pat Flynn discusses how to do just that in his article about Mastermind Groups. As he says, “asking for help from another person, especially one who knows what you’re up to and can speak the same language, can be huge. In a mastermind group, that’s exactly what you have access to with your group.” With so many trends and tools emerging every day, it’s important to stay knowledgeable. Luckily, there are plenty of experts and expert teams who spend their time doing just that. With research, experimentation and implementation, these experts help us better understand how to take our businesses and make the most of them - which is exactly why How To’s will never go out of style.


HOW TO MASTER Facebook Live lets you connect with your fans, friends and followers by sharing real-time video of what you’re seeing and doing. In this article you’ll discover how to broadcast with Facebook Live and use Live video in your marketing. what is facebook live? Facebook has steadily been releasing Live over the last several months. It came out in August 2015 for verified public figures through the iOS Mentions app. Early in December, Live became available to select people on their personal profiles and then to all verified Facebook pages later in the month.

Facebook originally introduced Live to only an elite group of users for two primary reasons: to control the demand on the bandwidth and to hopefully set a higher standard for the videos streamed so there’s less “noise” in the news feed. Facebook is controlling the reach of Live broadcasts through the news feed ranking algorithm, as with all organic posts.

Even if you don’t yet have access, you can start planning your Facebook Live strategy or use some of these tactics on the numerous other live-streaming services such as Blab, Google+ Hangouts, Periscope and Meerkat. Regardless of whether you have or plan to use live streaming, you can still upload videos regularly to Facebook.

#1: Broadcast With Facebook Live You can broadcast Facebook Live through your profile or through the Mentions app. To broadcast through your profile, tap to update your status and click the Live icon. Next, write a quick description in the status update (this is your title). The description is what will go out in the news feed and in notifications. Just like with your other personal status updates, you may also want to choose the audience before going live. Select friends only, a specific friends list or public. Then tap Go Live. You can point the camera at yourself or outward to capture your surroundings. During the broadcast, you’ll see the number of live viewers, which friends are tuning in and comments in real time. While people are watching you, invite those viewers to tap the Subscribe button. This way, they’ll get notified the next time you’re live. After you end your live broadcast, it will be saved on your timeline like any other video you upload. If you don’t already have the Follower option enabled on your personal profile, I recommend enabling it. Doing so will allow you to reach a much wider audience, as anyone on Facebook can choose to follow your public updates. To enable the Follow feature, go to your settings and click Followers in the left column. Then, next to Who Can Follow Me, select Everybody. Now, any of your friends or followers can subscribe and see when you go live. Keep in mind, if your previous post was public and you wish to share your next post with friends only, you’ll need to select that option. Note: To broadcast through the Mentions app, the process is similar. Open the app,tap the Post icon and then tap Live Video. The only difference is you don’t select an audience, since everything you post is public on a business page. 24

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Tap the Live icon under Update Status to get started.

Write an update, select your audience and go live.

Change privacy back to friends only for updates you don’t want to be public.

#2: Improve Your Video Facebook recommends several best practices for Facebook Live. In addition, here are several of my own recommendations: Have a focus for your broadcast. Know what you plan to talk about ahead of time so you don’t have a rambling discussion about nothing. Knowing what you plan to talk about and doing it well will do wonders f or your reputation. Create a compelling title. It goes without saying that you should relate the title to the focus of your broadcast. When people get a notification that you’re live, the title is the only thing they see when deciding whether they want to join you. Strive for great audio. Speak loudly and clearly close to the phone or use a microphone. Like with any video, your audience needs to be able to hear what you have to say. To this end, avoid broadcasting anywhere that has a lot of background noise. Choose a clear, descriptive title that encourages people to tune in.

Use both the front and back cameras. Since you likely won’t want to have the camera in your face the whole time, you can easily toggle back and forth between the two. When the camera faces you, the audio is better. Speak up when filming away from yourself. Acknowledge your audience. When you go live, be sure to mention your friends and fans who are viewing, if it seems reasonable. Alternatively or in addition, respond to comments either during or after the show. Test different broadcast length and times. Facebook recommends you go live for at least 5 minutes. I’ve found that anything from 2 to 20 minutes is just fine. See what your audience likes and use that as your gauge. Also try going live at different times to see when most of your audience is around. End with a call to action. Live video can be an integral part of your social media marketing, so make the most of it by directing your audience to a specific place. Include a simple call to action at the end of your video, such as to visit your website or private message you for more information on the topic. Be selective. Don’t broadcast everything. Make your live videos special. That way when you go live, people will want to see what new thing you have to offer.

Optimize your Facebook Live video settings as you would any video you post. Choose a thumbnail, category and call to action (and add the corresponding URL).

#3: Edit Your Video Once the Facebook Live video is on your wall, you can go back and edit it. It’s like editing any video you’ve uploaded to Facebook. Click on the date of the post in your timeline to access it and select Edit. Make sure to choose a thumbnail, select a category and add a call to action. Amplify the reach. If your video is from your Facebook business page, you may want to consider getting more visibility through Ads Manager by creating a video ad from your Live broadcast.

#4: Repurpose Your Video As with other content, you’ll want to use your video in as many places as relevant. Write a blog post with some of the highlights and embed either the Facebook post itself or just the video. Then share it on all of your social media profiles. The reason to embed your video is to get more views. It will show up on your Facebook view count and you may also get new fans and subscribers.

In Conclusion Video streaming, especially through Facebook Live, is an incredible opportunity to showcase your knowledge and increase your fan, follower and customer bases. Since video is super-strong right now and Facebook Live seems to get higher organic reach than other types of content, it’s definitely worth getting ready to add Live to your marketing plan just as soon as you have access. Live is just the beginning of what Facebook wants to do with video. Facebook is currently testing a dedicated video news feed on select mobile devices, so people always have video in their pocket and at their fingertips. Start thinking about what you want to create as a subject matter expert, so you can take advantage of all of the opportunities in store for the future of video. Reprinted with permission by Social Media Examiner

Write a blog post revolving around your Live video and then embed either the entire post or just the video.

Mari Smith @marismith



How to Maximize

Strengthen Relationships With Your Audience If you want to continue to reach your market in this social media age, the marketing focus needs to be on building relationships, and metrics need to expand beyond ROI (Return on Investment) to include ROR: Return on Relationship,™ (hashtag #RonR) … simply put, the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through connection, loyalty, recommendations, and sharing. AND is used to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating authentic connection, interaction, and engagement. So how do you build and strengthen relationships with your audience (as a whole, and as individuals) to increase your #RonR? Here are 12 ways to do so …



If you want to be heard above the growing social media “noise,” you need to first listen to your consumers and followers, so when you do speak you get it right. What are they saying, what are they feeling, what are their pain points, what solutions do they need, what is important to them?


Return on Relationships


Thanks to social media, brands can gather vast amounts of valuable information about consumer preferences … but to build relationships you need to go well beyond data gathering and actually hear, and react, to what your consumers are sharing. True listening requires a willingness to place consumers’ opinions above the brand’s own (usually biased) view of itself and to even make product/service changes based on that feedback.



Short and simple: If you are only focused on the money, you risk completely overlooking the people. Don’t make that mistake! If you don’t know who your people are, you might as well toss your marketing money down the drain.



First think about and address what matters most to your audience. Empower them to show you what they need, want, are interested in, and expect. Whatever matters most to them should become what matters most to you! 26

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BE CONSUMER-ORIENTED (Whether that be retail consumers,

B2B prospects, or those who consume your personal brand) Most marketers like to think that social media is primarily a set of tools for our marketing purposes, but in reality, social media is also a strong set of tools our consumers use to share and influence opinion about our brand. Our consumers now have “the channel of me.” Consumers’ opinions now create the “reality” of the brand – if enough say negative things about your brand, your brand loses its credibility and (thankfully) vice versa. Welcome to the “Age of Influence,” where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships, and make a difference.



Taking the “ME” mentality one step further, when we are advertising instead of building relationships, we are focused on what our consumers can give us instead of how we can best serve them.



Your consumers will recognize in a heartbeat if you are simply trying to get something from them – and they will not stick around. It is not that you are not allowed to want anything from them, it is that there must be a give to go along with every take. If you truly want to make an impact, aim to always put more energy and attention in your “give” column than in your “take” column. It will pay off. Traditional advertising is going for instant impact, and hoping and praying you make an impression: splashy billboards, off-thewall Super Bowl television ads, eye-catching graphics, even shock factor (images of gore, poverty, nudity, animal cruelty, etc.). While those methods are effective in catching a consumer’s attention, they fall short of retaining that attention. Building relationships is about starting meaningful dialogue and taking the time to thoughtfully and genuinely engage in ongoing conversation. Relationships focus on getting to know your consumer and giving them reasons to stay engaged – not just getting them to react. This needs to be all the time … not simply campaign or initiative based. That is the biggest mistake being made today by marketers and brands … with consumers and especially with influencers. Brands tend to fall short on this one because real engagement takes time, attention, and overall effort, but I can assure you that working in a vacuum is one of the biggest mistakes a brand can make! A one-time Tweet, a quick Facebook posting, or an email here and there is an announcement, not engagement. Engagement requires a brand to reach out to consumers by asking questions, offering useful content and solutions to relevant consumer issues, providing useful community forums and feedback venues, etc. A Network gives you Reach ... A Community give you Power!



True authenticity in marketing requires brands to change their public filters. It used to be that a whitewashed image was the way to get consumers’ notice and buy-in (literally) … but now, if brands filter out any and all slight imperfections, consumers quickly get wary. If the only product/service reviews you allow the public to hear are about how amazing your product/service is, you quickly lose authenticity points.



In other words, do not waste resources whitewashing your brand. Put your resources instead into giving Advocates the tools to tell their truth about your brand … because that is what consumers trust, and what they trust they will buy. “LESS fabrication, MORE facilitation” = a boost to your ROR.



Give consumers ongoing chances to interact with you and your brand, so they can see that you always tell the truth. Do not waste your valuable marketing time making things up because your consumers will sense that you are not telling the truth. Do your products and services have all perfect recommendations, as your brand claims? Maybe – but unlikely. One-hundred percent on-time delivery? Maybe – but unlikely. Of course you do not need to announce your errors or be proud of performance inconsistencies, but if consumers bring them up publicly, consider NOT filtering those conversations out of the media. Speak directly to any issues consumers have with your brand, and let your problem-solving conversations be public. These authentic conversations are the ones that build ongoing relationships – the ones that create Brand Advocates.



Use social media for instant and ongoing engagement with your customers. Pay attention to them and address their needs early, often, and publicly. Make sure your social team and customer service team are on the same page, and communicate regularly and easily.



When a brand adopts the marketing philosophy that it is all about relationships, it automatically begins paying more attention to the consumer needs and preferences to learn whom the consumers really are. Consumers who feel valued by a brand will in turn assign value to the brand by buying the product/service and passing recommendations on to their networks. The sale then becomes a natural part of the ROR instead of a “hard sell” effort. “LESS fabrication, MORE facilitation” = a boost to your ROR.

“If you want to continue to reach your market in this social media age, the marketing focus needs to be on building relationships, and metrics need to expand … to include ROR: Return on Relationship™ …”


Ted Rubin @TedRubin #NoLetUp #RonR




Mastermind Groups OVER THE PAST 7 YEARS, I’VE GENERATED MORE THAN 4 MILLION DOLLARS ONLINE. I ATTRIBUTE THAT SUCCESS TO A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT FACTORS: Learning every day, taking massive action, becoming comfortable with fear and failure, and getting personal with my audience so that I can better understand their needs and better serve them. If there’s one thing, however, that I had to say contributed more than anything else to my success, it would be the mastermind groups that I’m involved with. 28

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You may have heard the term “mastermind group” before, and unless you know what it is it may seem like this mysterious “club” that business owners and entrepreneurs say they’re a part of. Since I started an online business I’ve been a part of a mastermind group, and in this article I’m going to surface exactly what a mastermind group is, why they are important and how to get involved with one.

Quick Mastermind Group Tips 1. Meet consistently. 2. Make it a priority. 3. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share!

WHAT IS A ‘MASTERMIND GROUP’ ANYWAY? There are many definitions of the phrase, however my favorite comes from Think and Grow Rich author, Napoleon Hill. He defines a mastermind group as “...a friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.” In other words, it’s a group of people who formally come together to help each other out. They hold each other accountable, they each provide advice and encouragement to one another, and most importantly, they’re striving to each reach their individual goals, together. Mastermind groups come in all different shapes and sizes. Some groups have just two people, some have up to 20 or more. Some masterminds meet consistently every week, while others may only meet twice a year. Some meet in person, while others all meet virtually or on a conference call. The format and structure of a mastermind group are really up to the individual members of the group, however there is a specific structure that I’ve found to be the most beneficial, which I’ll outline for you at the end of this article. Before we get into the technicalities, however, let’s talk about why you need to be in one if you aren’t already.

SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Imagine you’re working on your blog or building your business and you come to a point where you begin to struggle. Soon, you begin to doubt your actions, you aren’t sure what to do next, and you begin to stress out. All you really need is some guidance, or perhaps a look from the outside to give you a second opinion. Asking for help from another person, especially one who knows what you’re up to and can speak the same language, can be huge. In a mastermind group, that’s exactly what you have access to, except it’s not just one single person, it’s the group as a collective whole. You see, the true power of a mastermind group comes from the group itself. When Napoleon Hill interviewed Andrew Carnegie in 1908, the richest man alive at the time, he learned that Carnegie had his own mastermind group too. He said of his steel business, “We have here in this business a master mind. It is not my mind, and it is not the mind of any other man on my staff, but the sum total of all these minds.”

I don’t have enough toes and fingers to count the number of times my own mastermind groups have bailed me out of tough situations. From technical help to dealing with worklife balance, to the times I literally wanted to give up and quit – I can easily say that I would not be where I’m at today if it were not for the groups of people I’ve associated myself with and have learned to trust in these groups. Why would they do this? Why would these other people even care? Because when it’s their business and life that needs help, they know I’ll be there for them just the same.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED WITH A MASTERMIND GROUP You can get involved with a mastermind group in two different ways: you can join a group that already exists, or you can start a group of your own. The latter is much easier, but either way you’re going to have to get to know people first, and just ask. Who else is in the group with you plays a big role, and my best advice would be to get to know people first before you each commit to a formal arrangement. Conferences are the best place to meet potential members, and you can continue to meet regularly afterwards using platforms like Google Hangouts or Skype. You could meet in person if you’re closeby, but I’ve found the virtual meetings to be a lot more streamlined and focused. I have a lot of experience with mastermind groups, ones that I’ve been in for several years, and many that have failed over time. Here is what I’ve learned works best: » 2 to 5 members max » Meet for one hour each week at the same time (put it in the calendar!) » One person in the “hotseat” each week, who presents an issue or problem the rest of the group tackles. » Start meetings by each sharing a “win” from the previous week. » End meetings by sharing goals to accomplish by next meeting. » Be honest, but be respectful, and you’ll love it!

Watch for Pat Flynn’s new book: Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money

Pat Flynn @PatFlynn



How to Set Up Your

Pinterest Boards for Business Success The fact is, Pinterest drives traffic to websites. Are you using it correctly for your business? With over 100 million active users, Pinterest drives more sales than any other social platform. It’s crucial to make a marketing plan for your blog that includes Pinterest. Create a plan for success on Pinterest by setting up the right framework filled with great content, pinworthy images, and a website with content that readers want to bookmark onto their own Pinterest boards. Here are the steps to follow to set up your Pinterest Boards for business success. Create a Solid Framework

The basic setup of a Pinterest account can make the difference in its success. There are four areas to pay close attention to … » Account Bio: This is your prime area that is searched the most. Include keywords that are vital to your website’s strategies for attracting new readers. Think of this as space for your elevator pitch for your business that’s SEO-friendly.

»B  oard Descriptions: Each board title and board description is a call to action for Pinterest’s search engine to flag your content as relevant to users based on their search. Take advantage of this prime space to highlight what your board content is all about. Keep it in a conversational tone to make your boards easy to connect with and that 30

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people want to follow. One key element not to miss is to select a category for each board. »B  oard Arrangements: Pinterest now has two versions of board arrangements based on the device you are using. On mobile, it starts with a board of your most recent pins and then sequences to which board you most recently pinned to. On the desktop version, you still have control over the sequence of your boards. Use your top row of boards to highlight seasonal content to save your followers and potential followers time.

the image with only one or two paired fonts perform better. Make users click through on a pin count by having a marketing plan in place for when someone lands on your website. Having related content on those popular pin posts will help to keep them on your website. If you are just beginning an account, I recommend having at least 20 boards that highlight your blog’s focus. If you have been pinning for many years, be sure your boards are focused but also not overwhelming to your followers. »P  in Descriptions: Pin descriptions are so important to your success on Pinterest. Each pin that you create and repin needs to have descriptive words that you know users are searching for on this platform and online in general. Still keeping it in conversational tone, you should use keywords that you want to show up for search engine optimization purposes.

Build a Consistent Schedule

Accounts that are active and continually adding new content to Pinterest seem to perform best. Use your Google Analytics to research which hours your readers are online the most reading your content. Why? Because those are times when you want to be sharing pins on Pinterest and links to pins on other social channels. There are a variety of schedulers available for Pinterest users, such as Tailwind, BoardBooster, Viraltag, Buffer, and Ahalogy. The one that you’ll use consistently is the best scheduling tool for you. Make a goal of pinning and repinning new content onto Pinterest boards daily, whether it’s you live pinning or using a scheduler. Be sure that your pins are focused on the topics you want to be an expert voice of, not just pins to your website.

Know Which Categories Perform Best

Remember to use conversational tone when writing pin descriptions and incorporate keywords that you want to show up for SEO purposes.

Know Your Pinterest Analytics

All bloggers who use Pinterest as part of their blog should have a business account set up on Pinterest. One of the big advantages of doing so is that you now have analytics of your efforts on Pinterest. The other feature is promoted pins. Pinterest Analytics offers a variety of windows into your account through your profile, your followers, and your website. Make a point each month of downloading your analytics to take a month by month view of the trends happening with your account. One place to start is to look for what is getting clicked the most, and create more images and topics that fall along those areas. Set mini goals for yourself, and you will see a difference.

Create Pinworthy Pins

With so many users on Pinterest and more and more businesses adding accounts to Pinterest, you have to create images that are truly pinworthy. What does this mean? First and foremost, always create at least one vertical image to pin to Pinterest. I suggest to do a few and vary them so that you can see what resonates best with your followers and potential followers. Did you know that you can upload an image to Pinterest and never have to place it on your website? Just be sure to go back and add the link to your blog post with that image so you don’t have the dreaded pin to no source. Images that are bright, clear, simple, and have text overlays in the white space of

As Pinterest enhances its smart feed and guided search, be sure to know what you are targeting with your pins. As you set up promoted pins, this is important as well. You will want to know what categories your followers and potential new readers are following. Spend some time researching the tabs at the top of Pinterest to see which ones are more popular than others to make a marketing strategy for your pins. One thing to strongly keep in mind as you create images is that your images are now scanned with a visual recognition tool from Pinterest as it ranks your pins. Does your image scream the keyword you are hoping to be noticed for?

Make Your Website PinterestFriendly

The truth is that most of your success on Pinterest comes from your very own website. If your online community is frequently pinning blog posts onto Pinterest, it will bring your website traffic. Make it easy for your readers to share by having a Pin It button that’s easy to use on desktop and mobile. Make sure you have an optimized vertical image to pin on your website. Include in your alt text the pin description you have carefully crafted so it will auto populate onto the pin when someone pins from your website. You can set up your plan for business success this year by implementing these strategies on Pinterest. Start one step at a time, and you’ll create a path to your business one pin at a time.

Kim Vij @EducatorsSpin



How to Master Periscope

for Live Streaming Success


am addicted to Periscope! If you don’t know what it is, Periscope is a free app that lets you do live-stream broadcasts from anywhere. You can add it on your phone or iPad. It was purchased by Twitter in February of 2015 and was officially launched on March 26, 2015.

I started “scoping” this summer when I went on my trip to Greece. It was so much fun sharing my travels via live-stream with friends and family! Since then, I have met some great new people, began a weekly Tip Tuesday segment, broadcasted my travels, shown behind-the-scenes looks of what’s happening at Living Locurto, and shared fun DIY ideas. I also just started something new that I’m super excited about called The Scope Movement! (#scopemovement) that launched in December. Periscope is completely LIVE! I love that there are no retakes, no fancy cameras or editing needed, nothing is perfect … it’s just what’s happening at that exact moment, and being able to interact with the broadcaster is pretty cool. If you have a Twitter account, you can easily get on Periscope to watch and do your own broadcasts (a.k.a. scopes). Anytime a new social media channel comes out, I cringe because it’s just one more thing to learn. But, don’t worry about that, because I’ve got everything you need to know condensed in this post! …


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Should Kids Use Periscope? I personally wouldn’t recommend letting your kids use this app, as it’s still new, and I’m not sure there’s a filter on adult content. Plus, there are often some creepy people who write nasty comments. My kids aren’t allowed to use any social media channels at all without me managing the account – so know that I’m a pretty conservative mom. But really, until Periscope works out the kinks, I would say to monitor your teens or just say no.

How to Use Periscope »D  ownload the app and sign in The first step in using Periscope is to download it to your iOS or Android device. The first time you launch the app, you’ll be asked to sign in. You can sign in using your Twitter account or you can use your phone number. » Click the camera icon to start a broadcast (a.k.a. a scope) » Swipe down to stop a broadcast »T  o share a scope: • Android swipe up • iPhone swipe from left to right »T  ap the screen to give hearts You can do this in both a live broadcast and the replay. Hearts are a good thing to do to show support and lets the broadcaster know you’re watching. When you do a broadcast for the first time, you’ll appreciate the hearts because sometimes it seems like you’re talking to yourself. »O  nly live viewers can comment Commenters can follow and reply to each other by clicking the comment. A popup window will show up with options. »R  eplays expire after 24 hours »Y  ou can choose who watches and comments on your scopes: • Limit a broadcast to specific followers by clicking the lock icon before broadcasting • Limit who can comment by clicking the comment icon

Six Tips to Produce an Awesome LIVE Periscope Broadcast 1. Remove Distractions Before you broadcast, be sure to have your phone fully charged and put your phone in Airplane mode with WiFi turned on. This way you won’t get phone calls while live broadcasting. 2. Be Safe Be smart about when you use the location service, because it will show the exact spot from where you’re broadcasting from on the map. I would recommend turning OFF location services before you broadcast if you’re at home. You can click the arrow to do this.

facing camera mode so people can see you. You can’t do that until after the broadcast starts. Make sure you have something interesting for people to see at first glance. Here are a few ideas: hold up your business card, point the camera toward something interesting, write on paper what the topic is and hold that paper up to the camera. Just don’t have it pointing toward the bright sun, a messy area of your home, etc. You get the idea! 5. Don’t Waste People’s Time Get to the point quickly and start sharing whatever it is you want to share after a few seconds. A person has about 15-30 seconds before they click away. Think of how you channel surf on TV. Periscope is the same way! If someone misses the beginning of your broadcast, they can always go back and watch the replay. You can remind people of this a few minutes into the broadcast. It’s courteous and very nice to say hello to people, but make sure to limit that time, as there are hundreds of other broadcasts going on at the same time as you. Know that viewers can click away at any moment. Keep it interesting. 6. Introduce Yourself New people are joining Periscope each day, so be sure to let your viewers know who you are and what you do each time. Something short and quick will do. Hold up a sign with your website URL or notes when talking, and let people know they can take a screenshot to save it to their camera roll. When they do that, a camera icon will show up along side the hearts. You might have some weird or nasty people writing comments, they’re called trolls – quickly tap on their comment and block them. If you make a mistake and block the wrong person, don’t worry about it. You can watch the replay and unblock them after your live scope.

3. Think About Your Title Don’t forget to type in what you’re scoping about before going live. You can’t edit the title of your broadcast, so make sure the title is clear about what you’re broadcasting about. Check your spelling! Depending on your settings, the broadcast can automatically go to Twitter, so using hashtags and keywords will help people find you. 4. Make a Good First Impression Periscope starts filming with the forward facing camera. If you want to talk to people while holding the camera, double tap the screen to change to

Amy Locurto Periscope: @LivingLocurto




Build Your YouTube Following


e hear it all the time – video, video, video! It’s definitely the future of the internet. There are various platforms doing video, but the big daddy of them all is YouTube. I launched my YouTube channel in March of 2015 and in January of 2016 I hit 10,000 YouTube subscribers. Here are a few tips so YOU can grow your channel too! 34

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Have a Plan I decided what my “show” was going to be about before starting (recipes, cake decorating and kitchen tips). What makes your blog different from others? Can you share that in video form? What posts are doing well on your blog that would make a good video? About half my videos from this year are new content and half are from my “popular posts” list. What will your video STYLE be? You can narrow this down by watching successful YouTubers and take from what they are doing to create your own. I knew I wanted two cameras: one on me and one for closeups of food, since that’s what does well in food. YouTube is the #2 search engine and 75% of searches on YouTube last year started with “how to.” People want to LEARN. They come to YouTube not just to be entertained, but to be educated. Decide what you can

teach and do it well. You need to be the FACE of your videos. That’s what will turn someone who came to your channel for one video into a subscriber, they connect with YOU.

The Right Equipment With video the MOST important thing is good audio. Don’t rely on your camera or phone’s internal microphone. Get a good lavalier mic or directional mic. This is a thing worth spending money on. Next you want to have good LIGHTING. This will be different if you are using a quality DSLR vs. your phone, but make sure you can see the close-up’s and details on camera. Yes, you can edit it brighter, but it will never be as good as having it well lit to begin with. And finally a tripod and sturdy work surface. There is nothing worse than feeling queasy watching a hand-held camera or when someone is using a tripod but their work surface keeps shaking and props keep sliding around.

Post Consistently When I first started, I posted three days a week for the first three months. It was hard filming and editing so much, but it was worth it to build a nice library of videos. After that I moved to a once a week schedule. In the end, whether you post once a week or three times a week, it all comes down to being consistent. Think of it like airing a TV show. There will, of course, be thousands of people who watch it later, but you will also create a core group of super fans who will be counting on that weekly video and looking forward to it! You’ll create a more engaged audience that way.



Use the same font, color and layout for each of your thumbnails, to create a familiarity between them. Also thumbnails with FACES tend to do better. People will start to look for and recognize your videos as they search, and will more often choose your video over another since they are familiar with you.

When people comment, comment back! So many bloggers say they miss when the readers were engaged and leaving comments. Well, they still are on YouTube! Create a conversation, be involved, answer questions, ESPECIALLY if someone leaves a mean comment. I’ve turned most of my nasty commenter’s into fans by simply addressing their concerns and responding with kindness.

The YouTube Tools Make sure you use the “branding watermark” (a small opaque square in the bottom right corner of your videos that is a constant “subscribe” button). I used to use my image for more of a “watermark” on my videos but recently switched to a YouTube subscribe square. It helps a ton!

Cards and Annotations Annotations are the boxes that you can use around inserts in your videos and video links in your end card or links to your website, BUT they only work on desktop. YouTube added Cards last year. It creates a small popup in the top right corner of your video and you can add up to 5 links to other videos, playlists, or to your site. The more people watch, the better, so link, link, link within your video to other videos. It’s all about watch time!

Education Learn from your first videos and get better. Take video classes or shadow a videographer whose style you like. When attending blog conference go to any and every class that has anything to do with video. And consider attending a video retreat. “The biggest advice I can give is to simply START! You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll learn SO much as you go. But you’ll never grow if you don’t try. Video isn’t going anywhere so put on your big girl panties and jump in.”

Ashlee Marie Prisbrey, YouTube: ashleemariecakes


How To Make Affiliate Marketing Work

For Almost Any Type of Blog


ffiliate marketing can be overwhelming and a little scary at first, but the learning curve really is small and there’s a reason people love passive income so much.

I started affiliate marketing on my blog 3 years ago. At first it was slow going, I have a small blog and a small audience so it was a few cents here and there. I’ve had a lot of trial and error on my own, I’ve seen a lot of growth, and now I’m working full-time in affiliate marketing at CJ helping bloggers monetize. Between my own experience and the bloggers I work with, I’ve seen a lot of examples of what works and what doesn’t. 36

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Almost everyone I’ve talked to has the same experience: they want to try it, they get started, they don’t see clicks and sales within a few days or weeks, they forget about it. Affiliate marketing's learning curve is small and there’s a reason people love passive income so much. I do less and less sponsored posts because I enjoy the editorial freedom and flexibility that affiliate offers, and I actually make more money this way.

So here’s my tips on how to make affiliate marketing work on almost any kind of blog.

1. AFFILIATE MARKETING IS NOT DRAG AND DROP I know that the affiliate sales pitch is basically, “Blog + Affiliate Links = Money!” Technically that’s true, but there is a strategy behind it. Not all affiliate links are created equal and some links may never lead to a single commission. It is a best practice to include affiliate links when possible, but I almost always see a difference between posts where I add my affiliate links because I can, and posts where I build my content knowing that I want this to be a revenue-generating post.

2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE Everyone sees success in different ways. Other bloggers in your niche may have different products and brands generate income than you will. Remember your readers fall into different segments and are there for different reasons. Your regular followers are more likely to trust you than people who have just landed on your blog for the first time from a pin or Facebook link. New readers may be more likely to read a long review of a product they’re interested in purchasing. Use your analytics to figure out what kind of readers are on particular posts and what kind of readers are sending you clicks and sales on your affiliate posts.

3. NUMBERS MATTER. KIND OF. If you have a million pageviews, you won’t have to try as hard to make money in affiliate marketing. That’s just the truth. Most affiliate programs measure revenue in EPC (Earning per 100 Clicks). And if your blog only gets 10k pageviews (like mine) you have to get a lot more views to get those hundred clicks. However, just because you have a small or medium blog doesn’t mean you can’t make a lot of money in affiliate marketing. But it does mean you will have to be smarter and more strategic, it also means advice from people with huge numbers may not be relevant. If you can find other bloggers around your size, that’ll provide you a lot more useful data.

4. FIND THE RIGHT ADVERTISERS There’s a few different elements to what makes the right advertiser for you. I recommend having your top tier favorite programs that you can promote happily and write about whenever you want to. A second tier of brands that you like that could definitely make an appearance in a post is great to have on the bench. I usually supplement those with a sub-affiliate network (like RewardStyle or Skimlinks) or Amazon Associates when there’s something I’m writing about but I don’t have an affiliate relationship with the brand. So what makes a top advertiser? A good fit for your audience and your content. A fair commission rate. A good team managing the advertiser. I’ve found success with apparel brands with low priced products and low commission rates because they have good sales and I have their links on posts with good traffic. I’ve also found success with hosting companies with very high payouts where just one sale can be a payout of $100 or more.

them an idea of how you plan to promote them. Second, talk to me at CJ about getting Content Certified (plug!). We built this program to address this exact problem, where we have a short screening process (it usually takes just one quick email exchange) and once you’re certified, you’ll be automatically approved for a fantastic list of brand affiliate programs in your niche. We also require brands to give bloggers a higher rate than their default program to make sure they really value working with bloggers.

6. DO MORE THAN JUST AFFILIATE As more bloggers get started in affiliate marketing, more advertisers are getting used to the way bloggers work. It’s still not exactly common, but there’s a definite increase in advertisers running sponsored posts and providing product to bloggers through their affiliate program. Some networks even have tools that let you pitch directly through your account, like CJ’s Placement Marketplace. I always recommend sending an email, even if you sent a pitch through your account. Product is usually easier to get, though advertisers may have a limit on how much product they give out per publisher, so when you email for product you may not want to ask for a high-ticket item. If you want to do a sponsored post for an advertiser, one thing that definitely helps you get your foot in the door is to already be an active member of their program who’s sending them clicks and sales. If you put in the time and build strong relationships, affiliate marketing can bring a whole new level of success to your blog.

5. DEAL WITH REJECTION An unfortunate truth of affiliate marketing is that it isn’t always very blog-friendly. Most of the big publishers in affiliate are gigantic brands that blogs simply can’t compete with. There’s also a lot of people trying to get started every day with a new scheme to get rich on the internet. Because of this, a lot of brands and program managers have autodecline rules in place when you apply to their programs. There’s a few ways to deal with this. First, don’t be afraid to send them an email telling them who you are and what you’re planning to promote. Be clear that you’re a blogger, link to your site, and give

Jessica Woodbury @CJnetwork



HIGHRISE Focus on fundamentals and customers for successful CRM Tool Lynette Kontny COO Highrise @highrise


How will Highrise help influencers reach their goals in 2016? What inspired the launch of Highrise? Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson had been having some really great success with Basecamp, which they launched in 2004. But that brought some new problems. They were lost trying to track correspondence with customers, accountants, lawyers, journalists, publishers, etc. And to understand the history of those communications across the team. Address books weren’t enough. Other CRM systems were too much. So they decided to take on the problem themselves. 38

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It depends on their goals. We like to think of Highrise as a “swiss army” knife to talk with who’s important to you. There’s so many ways. For example: If you’re a blogger doing giveaways, you can store the address information in Highrise and have it handy when you need to send out the prize. If you’re trying to get a guest post somewhere, you can create a list of people you’re trying to reach, and track those folks independently from all the other noise in your email. Highrise is great at tracking tasks and especially for tracking tasks related to a specific contact. So you can make


“We like to think of Highrise as a “Swiss army” knife to talk with who’s important to you.” sure to follow-up with the most promising places. It’s too easy to let things like this fall through the cracks if you’re just trying to remember stuff in your email. If you also send out email updates/ newsletters for some of your audience, you can send out Broadcast bulk emails. Then you can use Good Morning, the new group inbox we built in Highrise, as a queue to make sure responses back to you get answered. And even share the responsibility if you work with others.

What technology trends do you see happening this year? At Highrise, we try not to pay too much attention to trends in technology, and instead to focus on our own customers and what they need. And they usually don’t need things that come and go with trends. They need things that are fundamental:

to share work with a group, be responsible to their customers, get more customers, get more free time, etc. We focus on fundamentals that don’t change. But a few trends we’ve come across: » Blab lets anyone have their own show. Nathan Kontny, CEO of Highrise and Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp, currently do a daily podcast where they talk about the challenges of running a business, product design, and whatever else they’re going though. Many of the shows, especially recently, are recorded using Blab. » Medium blogging platform. Basecamp just moved their long standing blog SignalvNoise from a self supported site over to Medium. And it seems like more and more individuals are gaining a lot of traction blogging there. » Social selling, meaning actual purchases on Instagram and Facebook. Just seems like something that will become important as people move to selling more and more via social media.

Describe a core value at Highrise. We value People – both our customers and our team. People are everything. Our happiness is tied to our ability to have an impact people. At Highrise we do this in multiple ways, but our main

» Keep track of who you talk to, what you talk to them about, and when to follow up » Use Highrise Good Morning as your group Inbox or HelpDesk » Use Broadcast bulk email to send out newsletters, engage with your audience or follow up with groups of contacts focus is on saving steps. We look for ways we can remove steps or simplify. We have a small team so we focus on areas where we can have a quick impact. We stay small because we’re frugal, and we try to find ways for our customers to save money wherever we can.

What one piece of advice would you recommend to succeed in the social media and influencer space? Two actually. 1) Keep at it. One post at a time. If you’re consistent and persistent you’ll get where you want to go. But it takes time. Play the long game. The audience you gain doing this over the long haul will stick with you over the years. if you try for short hype wins, that audience is likely ephemeral and you’ll have to keep doing the work to earn a brand new audience. 2) Ask for followers. If someone reads one blog post, there’s no guarantee they’ll come back to read more or start following your blog. Make sure to always specifically ask them to subscribe or follow you on Twitter, etc and include a way for them to do so at the end of each post. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this can make for your number of followers.



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tech tools


Analyzing Content and Audiences for Optimized Reach

What inspired the creation of BuzzSumo?

What are some of the core values of your company?

The original idea for BuzzSumo was developed by Henley Wing and James Blackwell. They recognized the importance of social sharing in amplifying content and being able to understand what content resonates with your audience. Thus they developed the original BuzzSumo search engine which allows you to see for any topic or website the most shared content across the different social networks.

Our core values are to help and support our community. We share research and advice, and we also provide a free version of our tool which is used by over 170,000 people.

The tool has been developed over the years so that you can also see who is amplifying the content by sharing and linking to it. You can also search for the top influencers in any topic area. We have also added features such as Trending, so you can see what content is trending right now for any topic and a Facebook analyzer so you can see the most popular posts on any topic or for any public page.

How will your tool help influencers reach their goals? We aim to help content marketers create better content through research, amplification and monitoring. Research to understand what content resonates with an audience, including the most shared content, trending content today, what is working on Facebook, competitor top content and the content formats and headlines gaining most traction. Understanding who is amplifying content through sharing and linking. Identifying the influencers and top authors for any topic, seeing all the people that share your content or competitors content and building outreach lists. Sophisticated monitoring including alerts (real time and daily digests) when new content on a topic is published, when your brand is mentioned, when competitors publish new content, when someone links to your site or competitor sites.

What one piece of advice would you recommend to succeed in the social media and influencer space? Be helpful.

The top 3 highlights to our product for me are: Âť Instantly see the most shared content for any topic or domain Âť The ability to alert you whenever your brand is mentioned, anywhere on the web, within minutes of the content being published Âť The ability to see top influencers for any topic and who is amplifying popular content

What technology trends do you see happening in 2016? The big development we are seeing is the application of machine learning and deep learning to large datasets to create new insights from areas such as medicine to marketing.

Steve Rayson, Director @buzzsumo

We also think we will see people use webinars and tools such as Blab better to build relationships with their users. 41

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How to Improve Online Relationships 5 Things Bloggers and Marketers Need to Communicate About A BLOGGER IS ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS.

Kristen Matthews

Marketing Director, @KristenWords


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In fact, bloggers are considered experts on their topics and are sought out for purchase decisions more than friends and family. So, bloggers are a consumer’s digital family members so to speak. Brands are becoming increasingly aware of the power bloggers have to speak to consumers. Bloggers are becoming increasingly aware of their power to help or hurt brands. Yet, there seems to be a ton of miscommunication or non-communication going on between bloggers and marketers.

Authenticity and transparency should exist in every detail of a blogger outreach strategy. While bloggers need to be transparent with their audience on how and if they are being compensated by brands, brands need to be transparent in what it is they want from the bloggers in a marketing partnership. In my perfect, idealistic marketing world, inboxes are full of brandblogger communication. There aren’t lingering doubts about marketing relationships and both parties feel like they are getting value out of the partnership.


THE “GIVE” The give is simply one thing each party offers to the relationship. A brand gives a blogger product or monetary compensation and the blogger writes a post about the product or service which creates sales for the brand. The give should be worked out right away and while most bloggers prefer monetary compensation, trading free products and services are another common way brands contribute to the relationship.

The give can also be determined by how well a blogger’s post does. Many brands do affiliate type partnerships in which they compensate the blogger for the amount of traffic they bring to their site or sales that they directly caused.

MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS While the give needs to be established right away, the strongest brand-blogger relationships are ongoing. And in order to create that, relationships need to be nurtured on both sides. Brands can send bloggers check in emails, surprise gifts in the mail and make them feel part of the brand. In return, bloggers talk about the brands they like on an ongoing basis and should keep them in the loop about cool posts or projects coming up that the brand would be a good fit for.

END GOALS When partnering on a piece of content, it’s important for marketers to help the blogger understand what the end goal is for a particular campaign. For example, a brand may be reaching out to bloggers to write a post about a seasonal product. Making sure the blogger knows that the goal is quick online sales and that the product is seasonal very well may affect the post they write. Comparatively, a brand may want to work with bloggers to distribute a new ebook and want the blogger to link to their content which would then dictate a different type of post and linkable assets.

CONTENT THAT WORKS Bloggers know their audience very well in order for them to

“Authenticity and transparency should exist in every detail of a blogger outreach strategy." be as influential as they are. It’s important for brands to approach blogger outreach on a per-blogger basis. Meaning, the partnership should be different with each blogger so that brands can work with each blogger’s strengths and create the type of content and partnership that engages the audience.

LONG TERM PARTNERSHIPS Long term partnerships are in the best interest of both the brand and the blogger. When a blogger talks about a brand on an ongoing basis, the recommendation is trusted and valued more by their audience which in return creates more sales for the brand. Why not talk about long term relationships from the very beginning? Want to weigh in with your tips on how brands and bloggers can communicate better? Tweet your thoughts and opinions to @ GroupHigh and we can discuss!



New Technologies Expand Monetization Opportunities


s the power of bloggers grow, many companies are developing new tools to help make blog monetization easier to implement. Here are three new technologies which can easily increase your monthly income! Convert-a-Link WordPress Plugin Affiliate Window’s new Convert-a-Link JavaScript solution was so popular that they’ve now added a WordPress plugin version. The Plugin automatically converts any links to any Affiliate Window advertiser into a monetized link, and will even apply to the advertiser’s program on behalf of the affiliate. The original link can be either a general link to the homepage, or a deeplink to a specific product on the advertiser’s website. Given the breadth of Affiliate Window’s merchants, including exclusive programs such as Ticketmaster, and American Express Travel Money, consider joining Affiliate Window as one of your networks.

Jeannine Crooks @Jeannine_Crooks

Mixpression from Prosperent has developed a new technology which offers tremendous promise for anyone who uses images of anything they review. Mixpression enables a blogger to tag any part of any image, then add a link pointing to where to buy that item on the merchant’s site. Multiple tags are possible within a single image, so, for example, every item in an entire ensemble can be tagged separately. Once created, the blogger is given a piece of javascript code to embed into their blog, thus creating a shoppable image. Because Prosperent already works with almost all affiliate programs, the created product link is automatically monetized on behalf of the blogger. The Mixpression coding works with any platform that accepts javascript code, including wordpress, joomla and Prosperent CEO Brian Lovett explained their goal in developing Mixpression. “We wanted to create beautiful, shoppable images because shopping is now more visual than it ever has been before.” He continued, “We tried to solve a number of problems for bloggers so they can focus on creating content, not worrying about resizing photos and constructing affiliate links.” Access to Mixpression is included when joining Prosperent offers publishers and bloggers multiple ways to monetize content with access to over 50,000 merchants in all verticals. While there is no fee to work with Prosperent, they do take a tiny portion of the commission from each transaction.

Content Datafeeds from FMTC. Instead of trying to identify current promotions and discount codes yourself, consider the content data feeds available from FMTC. Countless times each day FMTC collects every offer and promotion from nearly every merchant across countless networks, then manually tests each one, standardizing labels, fixing issues, categorizing them all before providing them to site owners in a neatly bundled feed or via a Skimlinks URL. FMTC has a wide variety of feeds designed for bloggers, including a coupon mini feed and local deals feed. Just because a blogger is using an FMTC feed doesn’t mean they have automatic access to each program – merchant approval into each program is still required before their offers can displayed on a blog. Since FMTC is not involved in the commission payment process, there is a fee based on the service selected. With so many great technology developments, earning affiliate income is easier than ever before. By taking the time to set up a few accounts and use the tools available, influencers can focus on creating the content their readers love while increasing their revenue streams. 44

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Serve Your Readers First Engaged audience leads to increased earning avenues Paula Rollo & @paula_rollo would have taken a year ago and increasing my earnings and my engagement this way. I can usually tell immediately what will resonate with my readers and what will not, so I can select posts accordingly. There are far more opportunities to choose from these days and I enjoy having that flexibility. Also, more brands are responding when you reach out them personally these days, which is great news for bloggers! AFFILIATE MARKETING PAYS I have been putting a stronger emphasis on affiliate marketing this year. I have found that affiliate marketing is a great source of passive income for my blog. I earn money from those affiliate links every time a post goes viral, instead of writing a sponsored post once and never seeing more income from it again, even if it goes viral three times. I also create my own products which is a great way to increase exposure for my brand while also generating new sources of passive income for my site. All of my income sources have gone up in the past year. I am figuring out better ways to service my reader and this has meant a dramatic increase in each avenue of income that I use. I am not inventing new ways of monetization but rather maximizing the ones I was already doing. I’ve seen an increase in sponsored post rates as All of my income sources have gone up in my pageviews have gone up TRENDS SET EXPECTATIONS and I’ve learned how to write I am noticing how closely sponsored posts are the past year. … I am not inventing new them in such a way that my tied in with the marketing world. Things go up ways of monetization but rather maximizing readers love to read them. and down in specific patterns. Christmastime, the ones I was already doing.” Ads have gone up since my really the whole fourth quarter is always very pageviews have increased lucrative while January and July tend to be this year, same with my books that I sell! Affiliate sales have gone lower months. The first month of each quarter is typically the lowest up the most as I have been adding them to almost every post that I too. Knowing this going into months helps me to plan better and write. It’s a great way to monetize every post, so I get the most out of know what I can expect. Also, I’ve been noticing that more and everything I write! more companies are seeing the worth of blogging and social media promotion as a marketing tool for their brand. I love that we are having EXPANDING EXPERIENCES such an impact on how marketing looks in 2016 and beyond. The biggest thing I’ve yet to do is sponsored travel campaigns. I have been offered a few, but due to our family’s position this year I haven’t OPPORTUNITIES CONTINUE TO INCREASE been able to travel much. This will be changing in the coming months/ I have had more opportunities offered to me, which has meant I’ve year and I will be able to travel more, but I’m thankful that blogging become a bit choosier for what types of compensation I will take allows me to stay home when I need to and travel when I want to! and what posts I am willing to write. I am passing on things that I



Are You Busy or Productive? How To Approach Your Goals Like A Hedgehog


o you ever get that feeling at the end of the day that you were super busy but not productive at all? Like you can barely remember taking a breather but you don’t really have a lot of progress to show for all your work? This is a common dilemma of the wanna-make-it-big-blogger – thinking that in order to succeed you need to do a million different things.

But the truth is you don’t. And if you try, you might actually be hurting your chances of success. If you’re sick of feeling stretched too thin, busy but not productive, and totally exhausted without much to show for it, then consider this advice: instead of trying to do more, try focusing on less. In the land of super-sized everything, we’ve mistakenly come to the conclusion that in 46

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order to get more, we need to do more. IF we want to get 10x the results, we need to put in 10x the effort. But a lot of research and some great thinkers believe the opposite (and, if you ask me, it makes a lot of sense). Why do more when you can do less and get even better results? One of the best thinkers in the do-lessget-more arena is Jim Collins. He wants you to stop doing a lot of things, for very good reason.

Create a Stop-Doing List In Jim’s book “Good to Great”, he talks about the “stop-doing list”. This is a list of things that great leaders jot down so they stop doing anything and everything to try to get to where they want to be. Mr. Collins suggests instead of trying to do more, and more, and more, we focus on less. A lot less. As he discusses, “after five years of research, I’m absolutely convinced that if we just focus our attention on the right things—and stop doing the senseless things that consume so much time and energy—we can create a powerful Flywheel Effect without increasing the number of hours we work”.

Channel Your Inner Hedgehog According to Jim you want your spirit animal to be more hedgehog-like than fox-like. Apparently, foxes think eating hedgehogs sounds like a tasty meal. Of course, the hedgehog is obviously in favor of not being the fox’s supper. So, while the fox keeps trying to come up with clever ways to eat the hedgehog, the hedgehog keeps foiling his efforts by doing just one simple trick – rolling up into a prickly ball. The hedgehog could try to get clever. She could try something different. But why bother? She already has an effective trick up her sleeve and trying to come up with other nifty defense mechanisms could (literally) end up getting her killed if they don’t work. Talk about high stakes! So don’t be a fox. Be a hedgehog. Instead of trying to come up with the latest, greatest, the-world-has-never-seen-this-before thing, figure out your prickly ball trick, and stick with it.

Do One Thing Really, Really Well. At this point you get it. Instead of trying to do more, you’re supposed to just focus on doing one thing exceptionally well. So how do you know what that one thing is? According to Jim, it should come from your answers to these three questions: 1. What are you passionate about? 2. What are you (or can you be) best at 3. Can you actually make a living doing that? To see this theory applied, here is an example. Cheryl owns a bakery called Sweet Treats. When she first opened she did everything from donuts to cakes to gluten-free items.

How to Know:

But after a few months, she noticed that business wasn’t really picking up the way she’d hoped. She wasn’t doing terrible, but things weren’t great, either. She was working so much without getting the return she wanted so she was starting to feel burnt out. It was time to answer Jim’s three questions.

What's the one thing you do really, really well...

1. What are you passionate about? Cheryl is passionate about old-fashioned, home-baked recipes that transport people back to sitting in their grandma’s kitchen eagerly waiting for a delicious treat to pop out of the oven. 2. What are you (or can you be) best at? Cheryl is best at baking delicious cinnamon buns (they always seem to sell really well). 3. Can you actually make a living doing that? Cheryl’s sales demonstrate that she can make a living with her bakery, and since her cinnamon buns sell best, the answer here should be yes. After diving into Jim’s questions, Cheryl stopped baking a ton of different kinds of things and focused on just one core recipe, her grandma’s famous cinnamon buns. For the next week, that’s all she offered her customers. She quickly found herself selling out by mid-afternoon and needing to close shop because she had nothing more to sell! This just made her cinnamon buns even more desirable since people knew they needed to get there first thing in the morning to get a taste. Cheryl found her prickly ball. While this is a hypothetical situation, it is based on dozens upon dozens of examples of companies that asked themselves “What should we stop doing because it’s not working for us?” and “What’s already working really well that we could amp up?” Cheryl could have tried all kinds of different ways to boost her business. But she was smart and realized that she already had a great recipe up her sleeve. She had a treat that was already selling really well, so she

1. What are you passionate about? 2. What are you (or can you be) best at? 3. Can you actually make a living doing that? focused on it, honed it to absolute perfection and marketed the (sticky) buns off of it until everyone in town called her The Cinnamon Bun Lady.

What’s Your Prickly Ball/Cinnamon Bun? This could be about your marketing – instead of trying everything under the sun, you focus on guest blogging for 3 months. It could be about an offering – instead of offering general, grab bag, “I’ll make you eat healthy” stuff, you focus on hour long sessions where you help moms of picky eaters – between the ages of 1-3 – get their kids to eat whatever they put in front of them. It could be about anything. Anything at all. The point is to stop doing a bunch of random things that aren’t working and start focusing on finding (and being awesome at) your prickly ball. That way you can do it over and over again and keep getting great results. It may not always be the same and things may shift over time. But if you keep thinking in this way, not only will you feel less busy, but you’ll actually be more productive.

Jenna Dalton @DaltonJenna



Chrissy Watson @TheOutlawMom and @BloggerEsq

Think Privacy Policies Are for Big Companies Only? Think Again. How to Craft an Effective Privacy Policy If you monetize your blog, you need a privacy policy. It’s as simple as that. Any website that collects and/ or stores personally identifiable information (“PII”) should maintain a privacy policy that’s easily understandable and accessible. If your blog shares your readers’ PII with partners – like when you host a giveaway for a company on your site and the company gets access to PII – a privacy policy is a must. This article will share five tips for crafting an effective privacy policy. 1 Identify the Personally Identifiable Information you collect. Your privacy policy should tell your readers what types of PII you collect and what you do with it. PII is any information that individually – or when aggregated with other information – can be used to distinguish or identify a person, such as a person’s name, social security number, birthdate, phone number, credit card numbers, mailing address, or email. Before sitting down to draft your privacy policy, conduct a privacy audit of your site and take note of:


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• What information you collect (names, addresses, phone numbers, ages, gender, etc.) • Where you collect the information (at newsletter signup, during the purchase process, in giveaway entries, etc.) • What you do with the information (store it for internal purposes like more targeted articles or products, share it with partners, sell it to other businesses, etc.) Tip: Don’t collect more information than you need to run your business just because you can and don’t store it for longer than required.

2 Use plain English. A winning tip for every policy or disclosure you write: write as if you were explaining something to a first grader. Use simple, plain, and direct English. Aside from legal compliance, your main goal should be transparency with your readers. Consider adding an opt-in provision at every PII collection point, along with a link to your privacy policy, so readers are clearly on notice about your practices and their rights.

3 Visit your advertising and affiliate network agreements. Some advertising networks require you to include particular information in your privacy policy as a condition of using their services. For instance, Google Adsense requires that you include language regarding cookies, third-party vendors, ad networks serving ads on your site, and opt out links and information. The Amazon Associates Program also requires you to tell your readers how you collect, use, store, and disclose data collected from your site’s visitors, and that third parties may serve content and advertisements, collect information directly from them, and place or recognize cookies on their browsers.

know they can obtain a list of all the partners with whom the businesses have shared customers’ PII. You also need to provide your readers with contact information for any privacy-related questions.

5 Update your privacy policy every few months. A privacy policy is not something you can set and forget. For instance, you might start working with a new advertiser that uses cookies or start a relationship with a partner that collects your readers’ PII after you have already published your privacy policy. If your collection or storage practices change over time, you need to update your policy. And make sure to include the date of your most recent update in your policy.

“Write as if you were explaining something to a first grader. Use simple, plain, and direct English. Aside from legal compliance, your main goal should be transparency with your readers.”

4 Check and comply with your state’s privacy policy requirements. Every state is different, but in California, for example, some businesses that collect and share PII are required to let their established customers

Note: This article does not cover the requirements for websites that are directed at children under thirteen (13) years of age. If your readership includes children, you need to comply with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) requirements, among other possible federal and state laws applicable to your business.



Dan Morris @BloggingCon

How to

Focus Your Audience


was trying to figure out how to make chili. I know that is ridiculous, but I think I have only made it once from scratch. So I was in the grocery store looking to compare vegetarian 50

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chili recipes and meatbased chili recipes. I really wanted to know what made vegetarian chili yummy without the meat so I could add that thing to my regular chili to make it even better.

And I found both recipes, quite easily, on two different sites I think. I can’t remember, though, because both sites were just noise. Recipes, ads, white space, clutter. Neither wanted to help me other than fulfilling my need to read the recipe. And one of them made it very hard to even find the recipe amongst all the “embedded� ads. So both made a page view of ad impressions but nothing else.

“If you can give me answers to all the questions I might have, and maybe questions I did not know I could have had … you are no longer noise.”

No loyalty, no email … not even a remembrance of what site I was on. So are you there for your readers, or are you noise? Let’s talk about what we can do to our sites to focus our readers and turn them into fans.

If you can give me answers to all the questions I might have, and maybe questions I did not know I could have had … you are no longer noise. You are the site I want to share with my mom, who would laugh at my silly questions.

Dynamic Content

To start, if you have many different topics on your site, it would be nice to help your audience by giving each section its own sidebar specific to that section. For instance, it would have been great to have easily found vegetarian, spicy, Southwestern, and crock pot chili recipes in the sidebar. Maybe even a cornbread recipe. takes another step to making sure the audience feels at home. That site has a custom header. Go there and navigate to the popcorn section … then to the margarita section and look at the header. Each gives you the idea you are in the exact place you were meant to be. I guarantee that you will not feel like The Cookful is noise. And look at Here is a site straight out of 1995, built on html with a fantastic dynamic navigation bar. Click the links on the top and see how the navigation bar really focuses your attention to the categories within that section. There is no link to “recipes” when you are in the painting section, for example. At Blogging Concentrated, we created a plugin that gives you

Every Pixel Should Have Purpose

dynamic widgets within your sidebar. Do your customers who have already purchased your ebook need to see the ads for it? How about making sure the buyers never see that again but perhaps see an ad for the next ebook?

Understand the Audience

In the course of writing the recipe, what other questions does your audience have that could be answered in other videos, posts, pages, or images? Personally, I was curious to know what the difference in taste was between pinto beans and black beans in chili. I wanted to know if chili seasoning was spicy, or if it needed to actually say spicy. And if it is spicy, how do I alter it to make it kid-friendly without using chili powder? And I was curious as to what I might do with the leftovers.

Take a look at your site. Does every pixel serve your audience? Look at the badges and buttons on your site; are they for you or the audience? What about the colors and white space? Do they serve the reader? Do they add to the clutter or to the relationship? Remember the eyes are drawn to the disconnect. If everything is busy and cluttered, the eyes will find the big open white spot. If everything is red, the eyes will find the blue. If you want your audience to see something, make sure it is the thing that looks different. Is your navigation bar about them or you? Oftentimes you will see “work with me,” “advertise with me,” and “PR-friendly” in the navigation bar. But that does not serve the reader. And you have to know that brands want to partner with a site that really has a good following. They want you to be the best blogger you can be for your readers. Get them focused. Keep them on the site and make them smile.



How to

Vlog like a Pro Best practices for successful vlogging


o me it’s intriguing to see how bloggers actually manage their blog and what helps them be successful. I’m here to talk about mine and getting behind the camera! So let’s jump right in! Vlogging seems to be scary if you’ve never done it before. Talking in front of millions of people on the internet … letting them see your face, your mannerisms, hear your voice, etc. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re used to expressing yourself through your writing. I’m here to tell you that it’s super fun! I’m definitely no professional, but I feel like videos are one of my strengths in blogging and I love to talk about how I do it all. There are some things to help your videos look better, and we’re going to get to that in a second. But, my friends, you must remember the most important thing: Always talk to the camera like you are chatting with your best friend and be yourself! You could have the 52

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prettiest makeup, clothes, background, hair, and your video is edited to the nines but if you have zero personality … NOBODY CARES! Laugh at yourself, sing in Italian, crack jokes. If you aren’t a “bubbly” person, or straight up crazy like me, that’s still okay. Just be you – talk to viewers like we are your best friends. Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty.

“Always talk to the camera like you are chatting with your best friend and be yourself!” Gear The most popular choice for filming gear, especially for beauty gurus, is using a DSLR with video capabilities. I have the Canon 60D, and the 70D is a popular choice because it has continual auto focus. These are both popular because they have a swivel screen. You can set the camera on a tripod and flip the screen out to make sure you are in the frame. The Canon T5i is probably the best budget-friendly choice because it has continual autofocus. If you have a camera that doesn’t have a swivel screen, put a mirror behind your camera to make sure you are in the frame. I used to do this before I upgraded and a tripod is almost essential for this. I tried to set my camera on tops of books and man, setting it all up took more time than the actual filming. You don’t need an expensive tripod or expensive lights either – just make sure you have plenty of light when filiming.

YouTube Setting Up Your Filming Spot The most important thing is to have plenty of light. Before I had my ring light, I filmed on the floor of my master bedroom (most of the time) in front of two windows. I would open the blinds to both windows and I make sure it is in the middle of the day and no direct sunlight is streaming in. Now, with my ring light, I turn around and sit in front of the curtains (on the floor) with the windows behind me and have the light stream in as fill light, while sitting in front of the ring light. Make sure your filming background isn’t too distracting. I sit in front of a chest of drawers, a wall, or white curtains. Sitting in a pretty bedroom is nice, just nothing too cluttered. Then, set the camera up on the tripod a little higher than head level and angle it down towards you for a more flattering look. Avoid that double chin! If you are using a DSLR, you can get a nice background blur if you sit closer to the camera and set your F-stop lower. I even do this on my kit lens.

While Filming Sometimes it’s good to write an outline of what you’ll be talking about beforehand so that it keeps you on topic. When you begin, make sure to introduce yourself and what you will be talking about! I always make sure to say “Hey everyone! It’s Meg! Welcome back! Today we’ll be talking about …” Also, look at the camera lens, not yourself in the screen. This is hard not to do. I always check the viewfinder to make sure I’m in focus and in the frame, but looking at the camera lens is the equivalent of making eye contact with your audience. I always aim to keep my video under 10 minutes when edited. That means when I am filming I try to be as brief as possible. If I have been filming for 20 minutes, it is going to be hard to edit, so keeping it brief during filming

makes it easier later. If it’s an in-depth tutorial, that’s a different story. I look at it this way: I don’t typically like to watch videos that are longer than 10 minutes on YouTube, so I try to do the same on my own channel. Editing is your friend. If I completely mess up, I pause, say “3, 2, 1” and re-start. When I’m editing, I know I can take that out. If I ramble, I just take it out. After I film, I always snap a selfie to use as my thumbnail. Sometimes I’ll hold up products or make a weird face. Whatever tickles my fancy. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action in your videos – encourage people to like, subscribe, and follow your blog.

Editing Editing does not need to be professional. I use iMovie on my MacBook Pro. It’s very easy to use. As long as you can put in some titles and cut out parts of a video, that’s all you really need to know. My most used edit is the split clip (command+B) and delete clips I split in between. Then I add titles and music and that’s it. There are tons of iMovie tutorials on YouTube that will walk you through simple edits – give them a watch and you will be a pro in no time. YouTube even has its own editor that’s supposedly easy to use! I always make sure to use royalty-free music on all of my videos. YouTube has a great library you can download music from for free. I will take the selfie I use for my thumbnail, and add some text over it in Photoshop, but PicMonkey does the job! I then always upload my custom thumbnail when uploading my video to YouTube. To ensure your intended image shows up on social sharing, set the thumbnail as the featured image in WordPress.

» Did you know that videos rank high with SEO? That means when someone googles, videos are likely to be among the top search results. This is why you need to vlog. » Set up your YouTube Channel using your Google+ account so it’s all connected to your blog. » Make sure to tell us on your blog how to subscribe to you on YouTube, and make sure you link to your blog on your YouTube channel. » Use the YouTube subscription bar to tell us how to follow you on other social media platforms. » I also use the description bar to put in my keywords.

Meg Owen @mo_meg



Laurie Marshall, Esq.

Copyright Law for Bloggers


Ignorance is not a defense.

hat is a copyright? A copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the creators of "original works." One of the many original works covered by a copyright is a literary work, which would include blogs. From the moment you write a blog post, even if you have not yet publicly shared it, you have created a copyrighted work. Essentially, if you wrote it, you own it; neither registration nor Š notice is necessary. However, use of the copyright notice is important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner and shows the year of first publication.


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Outside of my own original and creative work, what material am I free to use in my blog? >> Anything that is considered fair use >> Expired works in the Public Domain >> Facts >> Ideas >> Anything used under a Creative Commons license >> Links to a URL >> Your own photos, images or stock images

1. Anything that is considered fair use

4. Ideas

There are no set rules for what is considered fair use. The Copyright Act sets out four factors courts will look at (17 U.S.C. § 107):

A copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. The idea would only be protectable as a fixed, original, and creative expression but the idea, in and of itself, is not protectable.

>> The purpose and character of the use: Non-commercial uses are more likely fair than commercial use. Transformative uses are favored over mere copying. >> The nature of the copyrighted work: Creative works get more protection, while using factual material is more often fair use. >> The amount and substantiality of the portion used: Copying only the amount necessary is more likely to be fair use. >> The effect on the market or potential market: If your use of the work could replace the original, your use will likely not be considered fair use. Although parody is a well-established category of fair use, satire is not. So make sure to know the differences between the two. Parody uses the original to poke fun at or comment on the original, while satire uses the original to comment on something else entirely (politics is a regular example).

2. Expired works in the Public Domain Works that have entered the public domain are: - All works published in the U.S. before 1923

- All works published without a copyright notice from 1923 through 1977 - All works published without a copyright notice from 1978 through March 1, 1989, and without subsequent registration within 5 years

6. Links to a URL Although there has been debate on this topic, Courts have not found URLs to be afforded copyright protection. Ticketmaster filed a case against, and the judge ruled that such linking was legal as long as it was clear to whom the linked pages belonged. The court concluded that URLs themselves were not copyrightable writing: "A URL is simply an address, open to the public, like the street address of a building, which, if known, can enable the user to reach the building. There is nothing sufficiently original to make the URL a copyrightable item, especially the way it is used. There appear to be no cases holding the URLs to be subject to copyright. On principle, they should not be."

Unless a photo falls into one of the categories above, using a photo or image from another website may very likely be copyright infringement. If the image or photo does not fall into the public domain, is fair use or granted under a license, using your own photos or stock images is the safest way to comply with copyright laws. Beware of sites such as Google® images or other “free” image sites unless the site specifically states the creative commons license. Many times even these images are copyrighted material and, once again, you could be liable for copyright infringement, even if you received the image from a third party.

You can report facts in another’s web page.

3. Facts Copyright only protects the writer’s expression of the facts - the combination of words and structure that expresses the factual information - not the facts themselves. As such, you are free to report the facts embodied in another person's article or web page.

A creative commons license is one of several public copyright licenses that enables the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A creative commons license is used when authors want to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created. If the source you are quoting has a creative commons license, you may be permitted to use more content than fair use would allow.

7. Your own photos, images or stock images

- All works published with a copyright notice from 1923 through 1963 without copyright renewal

Congress passed a series of laws extending the term of a copyright to life of the author plus 70 years. Accordingly, most of the copyrighted works created from the late 1970s to the present may not become public domain during our lifetimes. In general, works published after 1977 will not fall into the public domain until 70 years after the death of the author, or, for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire, 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first.

5. Anything used under a Creative Commons license

Parody… is fair use, satire is not.

Links to URL’s cannot be afforded copyright protection.



Trends for 2016:

Create Your Own economy Identifying Professional Goals The financial crisis of 2008 did a number on many people who felt they did everything right – followed the traditional advice – go to college, get married, get a job, be loyal to your job until retirement, have 2.5 kids, etc. When the bottom fell out, not only were jobs lost and retirements dwindled, faith in the system dissipated as well. Many professionals – doctors, attorneys, professors – those that spent a lot of time and money to know what they know – began to re-think, if they were truly doing it “right” or if they had “the right” to follow their heart. TBPLLC has become the home for those that are now choosing to follow their heart.


oing what you love and earning money don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Our mission here at TBPLLC is to help

our audience and our clients create their own economy on their own terms. The company’s network encompasses everyday experts who want to share their unique selves unapologetically. Status quo is no longer viable for their lives. Our clients realize they have a desire gnawing at their hearts and are choosing to take the journey to fulfill it. TBPLLC strategically uses technology and high performance coaching to amplify our clients’ expertise and create financial freedom. 56

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TBPLLC is on the cutting edge to amplify your personal goals. There isn’t a “one size fits all” – we create personal success blueprints to fit your personality, your goals and your family, which creates an enhanced experience. Our programs address many frequently asked questions, such as: 1. Is work/life balance attainable? Yes, we believe so. Our goal is to create a community of thriving, passionate, conscious entrepreneurs. We aim for the stars by creating deliberate plans, hiring “A” players to deliver the plan. 2. Should I blog? Should I do video? A podcast? Facebook? LinkedIn? There are so many options and before deciding the platform it is important to determine your goal, your desired outcome, and how much time and financial investment you want to make. We don’t believe in being everywhere for the sake of popularity. Each placement, each status update, each blog, etc., is a piece of your overall plan.

3. How can I be the “go-to” expert for (fill in the blank)? We teach our clients to build their own platforms and demonstrate their expertise instead of waiting to be invited as the expert. We also teach them how to position themselves quickly so that they receive speaking engagements, virtually and in-person. 4. How do I create a sustainable, dependable income? There are currently 18 different streams of income we implement for our clients. Many of our clients start working with us and realize they only have one, maybe two and thought it would take too much effort or would reduce the focus on their core product/service. This is definitely a myth. Our clients find they are able to work less and earn more, through our innovative ways of applying automation, sales processes and fulfillment.

Learning Tools I think what is most appealing about our network is the tried and true business strategies mixed with new technology to go after your exact dreams – not what traditional living says we are allowed to have. We have been crowned “spouse/partner approved by our clients spouses and partners, because we bring everything back to a system or a process. Processes that many times can be programmed or scheduled after the initial work is completed. In this manner, when “life happens”, business can continue in less time, missions can continue to expand and your financial freedom continues to exist. Another appealing feature of our network is you can come learn how to do this for yourself or you can allow us to do it for you and you become “the talent”. We want our clients to love working with us; we don’t want them

dependent or feel like they can’t work with us because they can’t financially afford our done with you programs. It is our mission to give first and teach anyone who will listen the most reliable path to commanding your own online empire. Our new training center, www. is a comprehensive training center that teaches the tools and strategies to grow your business online. The trainings are broken into three (3) categories: 1. Foundation – These trainings give you the basics to operate any platform, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Tumblr, leveraging a platform like Wordpress, or how to do SEO. These trainings offer a certificate of completion, which is great for those seeking to use these skills as social media managers. 2. Pillar – These are intermediate trainings which assume you have a knowledge of the platforms and how to navigate them efficiently. The pillar trainings focus on how to leverage and monetize the platforms efficiently. 3. Titan Success Blueprints – These trainings are exclusively for those that are the “brand.” They have already experienced success and are ready to claim expert status.

Options, Options, Options

represent so many different industries, and demographics. Currently we have retired professional athletes, professors, coaches, speakers, healers, therapists, nurses, doctors, chiropractors — even an end of life leader — those that have a mission to share and support and be supported by those who align with their message.

Learn How to Earn Most importantly, we are teaching those who are popular how to get paid. While we love the fact that many of them are doing sponsored posts and seeking brands to monetize, there are 17 other ways to monetize their message. Another trend that will be popular in 2016 is in-person events. People want to be in physical proximity with other people again and get out from behind the computer. We are livestreaming behind-thescenes access wherever we go and that trend will continue throughout this year ahead. In March, TBPLLC is kicking off a ten-city tour called Titan Talks. Twenty-five powerful women will deliver messages to local businesswomen in each city on how to live the life you want right now. This tour kicks off in Miami and includes Los Angeles, Raleigh, Austin, etc.

We are not status quo. Our clients have an opinion and a deeply felt, unwavering purpose. Brands find the variety of talent of our roster exciting because they

Tina Brinkley Potts @tinapotts


Is healthier living always on your list of resolutions? This potato soup recipe is a great way to eat healthy without feeling like you’re sacrificing flavor. It’s a light recipe that many Weight Watchers members use in their point system. At 4 points per serving and only 148 calories (say what!?), this delicious potato soup is one that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. Looking for a no-bake treat idea for the peanut butter fan in your life? These nostalgic peanut butter bars are the ones to make! The amazing texture is so delectable and dreamy. They’re nice and creamy with a slight crunch from the graham cracker crumbs and hardened chocolate. These peanut butter bars are absolutely divine!

Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup

Lunchroom Peanut Butter Bars



7 c. potatoes, diced into small chunks 1 c. onion, diced (You can also cut the onions into larger chunks to add flavor and discard later.) 1 large carrot, chopped 2 c. ham, diced 5 c. hot water 5 chicken bullion cubes 1/2 c. milk 1/2 c. low fat sour cream salt and pepper, to taste

¾ c. butter 2 c. powdered sugar 12 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs 1 c. creamy peanut butter 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


3. Stir in graham crackers, powdered sugar, and peanut butter and stir until well combined. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan.

1. Prepare the soup broth by coming the five bullion cubes with the hot water; dissolve completely and set aside. 2. Place potatoes, onion, and carrot in the slow cooker. Place the diced ham right over the veggies and pour broth over top. Cook on low for 5 - 5 1/2 hours, or until potatoes are cooked through. At this point you can remove the large chunks of onion if you aren’t leaving them in the soup. 3. Remove half the potatoes from the slow cooker and mash with a potato masher. Return to the slow cooker and add milk and sour cream. Cook 10-15 minutes until heated through. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

DIRECTIONS 1. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with aluminum foil so foil hangs over the edges so bars can easily be removed. Set aside. 2. Place butter in the microwave and heat for 1 minute, or until melted.

4. Place chocolate chips into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir, then heat for another 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. 5. Pour chocolate over peanut butter bars and spread smoothly and evenly over top. Allow to cool for three hours then cut the bars while the chocolate is still soft. Cover and serve when the chocolate has hardened.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings / calories per serving: 148 I’m Alli and I’m a food-aholic. I like to cook, bake, throw parties, and tell all about it here at Cupcake Diaries! If you’re looking for family recipes that are easy to follow and absolutely delicious, you’ve come to the right place! I’m all about easy recipes that the whole family will love. Even the kiddos! From cupcakes to crock pots and everything in between. 58

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Allison Miller Pinterest: cupcakediaries


McCafé® is expertly roasted for a smooth, rich flavor. Now available where you buy groceries.

© 2015 McDonald’s. McCAFÉ, the Swirl design and the Golden Arches logo are trademarks of McDonald’s Corporation and its affiliates.

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