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iBlog

ONE AFFILIATE VERSUS MANY MERCHANTS | 14 TIPS TO ROCK YOUR PERSONAL BRAND ON LINKEDIN

The magazine for women influencers & bloggers

Affiliate Marketing

HOW MUCH MONEY ARE YOU LEAVING ON THE TABLE?

Pinterest

Summer Trend Watch 153 Hot Content Topics PREPARING TO LAUNCH! A NEW INSTAGRAM MARKETING COMMUNITY

Unique Networks

Linqia | Social Fabric Influence Central InfluenceHer Collective

17K to 350K PAGE VIEWS IN 9 MONTHS!

May 16

The Affiliate Issue Join 100,000’s of influencers that read iBlog magazine!

SPECIAL REPORT

>iBlog magazine's Annual

Women's Influencer Industry & Business Survey Coming In May!


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“ I love working with Savings.com! Their affiliate dashboard makes it easy to share coupon codes and links to affiliated stores quickly, without having to remember what online store is with what affiliate platform. My favorite part about working with Savings.com is their team- they are great to work with.” - Jessie Alonzo, MoolaSavingMom.com

“ I love Savings.com. They offer great deals on brands that my clients love, which keeps them reading! Savings.com is also exceptionally easy to work with and I value that.” - Myrah Duque, CouponMamacita.com

Participate in campaigns and earn commission on sales for brands like:

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CONTENTS 10 PINTEREST: SUMMER TRENDWATCH 153 of the hottest content topics on Pinterest from June to August

12 INFLUENCER CAMPAIGNS Why awesome influencer campaigns combine many forms of marketing

10 25

18

12

INSTAGRAM Preparing to launch a new Instagram marketing community

28 ONE STRATEGY AT A TIME From 17K to 350K page views in just 9 months

40 ONE AFFILIATE VS. MANY The dilemma of one versus many merchants. What are you supposed to do?

40

Travel

Business

16 Finding Color Ditching corporate life for blogging

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iBlog magazine MAY 2016

Lifestyle

42 How to write your “About Me” How to write your “about me” page and why it’s so important

44 The Secret Ingredients The secret ingredients for a successful and blissful site


table of contents

Affiliate Marketing 20

CLICK

Feature - Affiliate Marketing 22

Hone your affiliate focus

24

Diversify your income for blogging success

26

Rosemarie Groner - BusyBudgeter.com Tasha Agruso - DesignerTrapped.com

Easy ways to increase your affiliate income now

Angie Nelson - TheWorkAtHomeWife.com

Feature - Unique Networks

30

32

Networks Looking for Communication & Attitude

34

How Influencers Can Stand Apart

36

The WOW Factor: How To Rise Above The Crowds

38

Delivering Innovative Influencer Experiences

Social Fabric by Collective Bias

InfluenceHer Collective by Her Campus Linqia - Influencer Marketing Platform Influence Central - Social Consultancy

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE TECH TOOLS RINGR: MOBILE INTERVIEW STUDIO QUALITY RECORDING

46

GOOGLE+ HOW TO USE GOOGLE+ FOR AFFILIATE MARKETING

47

LINKEDIN 14 TIPS TO ROCK YOUR PERSONAL BRAND ON LINKEDIN

48

CRAFTING DRAB TO FAB: SPRUCE UP YOUR OLD CLOTHES

50


The Affiliate Issue

W

hen bloggers spend time creating excellent content, it can be an extremely lengthy process. The writing process itself is time-consuming, requiring editing and adjustments to make it just right. But that is often just the beginning. The imagery of a post can be crucial for social sharing and capturing readers’ attention. Finding or taking the perfect image, editing it so it fits a post just right and then repeating the process all over again for any other images can take days. Yet crafting this type of content can definitely yield excellent results for bloggers who dedicate the time. It is the bloggers who take the time to create great content that are ready for the monetization opportunities when they arise. One of the fastest way to start earning on a blog is through affiliate marketing. While banner ads are successful for those blogs with millions of pageviews, those same results are not going to be seen on a much smaller blog. However, even a blog with a small but loyal readership can earn from affiliate marketing, especially if it fits their voice. How do you find products that make sense? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Angie Nelson from TheWorkAtHomeWife.com gives great advice: Head to your analytics. She suggests to “export a list of your top 20 posts from the past quarter and past year. Take time to revisit those that are relevant and useful resources. Add affiliate links to related and recommended products. Give them new images and get them sent out to social profiles again.” Instant earnability on posts that already get traction- brilliant. For other earning potential, check out the insights some great networks shared with us on the work they see from bloggers. With

Meet the Team.

countless campaigns each year and even more bloggers wanting to participate in them, it’s an ongoing balance to find the right fit. In our network section, you can get key advice from those who run these campaigns and networks. There are different approaches to earning. Affiliate marketing and network opportunities are out there and waiting for those who are ready to put in the work. As Stephanie Kaplan Lewis of Her Campus puts it perfectly: “Do more than is asked of you. Even after you’ve signed an agreement with a brand or agency on the specifics of what you’ll be doing for them, the best way to impress … is to go above and beyond”.

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

Christine Crowell VP Marketing

Networks Conferences brands

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

Contact us. Advertising inquiries: market@iBlogmagazine.com 813-551-0007

Membership inquiries: memberships@iBlogmagazine.com

Writing & Editorial inquiries: editor@iBlogmagazine.com

iBlog magazine Corp. Office: 231 N. Tennessee Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801

Halee Kalevitch Content Coordinator

6

Jackie Ratcliffe Graphic Designer

iBlog magazine MAY 2016

Amy Reid

Graphic Designer

Amanda Schoolfield Graphic Designer

Printed in the USA, Copyright © 2015 by iTell Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved. iBlog magazine 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 iBlogmagazine.com website only. Address all membership correspondences to membership@iblogmagazine. com. To change address please visit your membership account at iBlogmagzine.com. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission. Requests for permissions should be directed to permissions@iBlogmagazine.com.


iBlog Advisory Committee Industry leaders committed to your success

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 & SocialSpeaks.com

President, WOMMA Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc.

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

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

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

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

MJ Tam

Jeannette Kaplun

Editor, Chicagonista Co-Founder, Women Driving excellence

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

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

Laurie Schacht

Cecilia Mecca

Katja Presnal

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Debbie Bookstaber

Co-publisher The Toy Insider, President The Toy Book

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

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

Amy Atkinson

Yoly Mason

Missy Maher

Sarah Beeskow-Blay

Jyl Johnson Pattee

Founder, Amy Atkinson Communications

Founder, Cuponeando.net, 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: Advisors@iBlogmagazine.com

ADVISORS


May / June 16 conferences and events

3 SearchLove Conference

Media Camp 5 Social Victoria, BC Canada

Join some of the world’s leading thinkers in online marketing for two days of ideas and inspiration. This conference will discuss the latest in search, analytics, content creation, optimising your website, paid promotions and more.

We are a conference for experts, and a conference for beginners. If you are newer to social media, our renowned, complimentary coaching program will help kick start your Social Media Camp experience.

Boston, MA

9 Marketing Nation Summit MGM, Las Vegas

3 full days of learning, including best practices, hands-on training, and an environment where you can learn about the latest trends, technologies and methodologies from marketers around the world. Bringing together the entire community of Marketo experts and digital marketing thought leaders.

18 Social Media Masters Summit

13 Food and Wine Conf.

14 My Baby Show

Food, Wine and taking your blog to the next level! Going from blog to business while enjoying a great weekend filled with great food, wine, new and old friends and memories that will last a lifetime. You will leave the Food and Wine Conference inspired to take your blog to the next level.

A fun, informative, and family-friendly setting to explore a big mix of top products and services for maternity, baby, and toddler—while also taking advantage of an inspiring menu of expert speakers and beloved figures from the world of parenting and pregnancy. It’s the biggest Baby Show in the country!

19 TECHmunch NYC

19 Everything Food Conf.

29 TBEX- Travel Blog Exchange

The traveling conference that helps food and lifestyle bloggers learn the skills they need to succeed and take their blogs to the next level. Our practical, hands-on sessions bring attendees up-to-speed on the latest tools and tactics for creating great content, building buzz, working with brands, growing an audience and profiting from their hard work.

This conference is for food bloggers who want to grow their blogging business while enjoying engaging, hands-on experiences with other talented and seasoned food bloggers… and, of course, indulge in some crazy-good food. A hands-on, educational and FUN-packed experience UNLIKE any other blogger conference out there!

The largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and industry professionals. Each year, TBEX partners with fantastic host destinations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to bring the travel industry’s most creative minds together to learn, network and do business.

Orlando, FL

New York, NY

June

Conference 10 BlogU University of Maryland, MD

New York, NY

Salt Lake City, UT

June

Conference 23 BlogPaws Phoenix, AZ

N. Hollywood, CA

Digital Megaphone’s Social Media Masters Summit is one of Chicago’s premier Social Media events. The summit features cutting edge social media strategies and case studies from top brand marketers. It’s a power packed day of best practice Social Media case studies that go beyond typical tactics, paving the way for a new way of thinking.

Dana Point, CA

June

Social 30 Chigago Chicago, IL

CHICAGO SOCIAL A networking and educational opportunity for bloggers and authors who are looking to improve their writing skills, expand their social media reach, learn how to get published, or just connect with other bloggers. There is a high concentration of speakers from the mom, humor, and lifestyle niches.

CONFERENCES

A 3-day conference jam-packed with educational sessions led by leading professionals, networking with influencers, a busy exhibit hall, exciting brand events, more influencers, and lots of pets. Pets remain at the heart of everything BlogPaws does. Our pet friendly conferences invite all pets, everywhere in the event space.

Boxless Media will gather a crew of nationally acclaimed digital marketing experts to one stage in Chicago. It will be a day jam-packed with great presentations, exhibits from some of the most respected businesses in digital marketing, a private VIP meet-and-greet reception and an evening networking event. This event will sell out so get your tickets early.


EARN MONEY PROMOTING THE BRANDS YOU LOVE Affiliate Programs Managed by Acceleration Partners

LEARN MORE & JOIN HERE accelerationpartners.com/programs

Join the industry’s most successful affiliate programs. Becoming an affiliate is a great way for a blogger or a high-performing content publisher to grow their online revenue. Whether you’re new to affiliate partnerships or already well underway, we’re here to connect you with programs that best fit your audience.

BLOGGER BENEFITS Personalized support from an experienced affiliate team Weekly newsletters Commissions up to 30% Access to many well-known brands Program bonuses

JOIN TODAY AT accelerationpartners.com/programs


Susan Wenner Jackson

VP of Content Marketing at Ahalogy Co-founder of the blog Working Moms Against Guilt @SusanWJackson

Summer Trendwatch 153 of the hottest content topics on Pinterest from June to August

W

ith summer on the horizon, it’s time to start planning and creating content now to publish while school’s out, vacation season is in full swing, and you’d rather bask in the sun’s rays (instead of the blue glow of your laptop).

With Ahalogy’s unique access to data from millions of Pins and thousands of blogs, we’ve identified the keywords and topics people like most during the months of June, July, and August. Just find your blog’s main categories here and highlight the topics you’re most passionate about. In no time, you’ll have a jam-packed summer editorial plan that will continue pulling in readers while you relax by the pool.

Beauty Key Search Terms: » » » » » »

 raids B Clear skin Eyeliner Hair Lip gloss Nails and nail art

DIY & crafts Fashion Key Search Terms:

Weddings Key Search Terms: » » » » » »

Bridesmaids Lace Marriage ideas Necessities Reception White

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» » » » » » » » » » »

B  ag B  lue B  right B  rown D  ress G  orgeous P  retty S tyle S unglasses T  op W  hite

Key Search Terms: » » » » » » » » » » » » »

 rt A College Colorful Create Crochet Decor ideas Mason jar Printables Project Super simple Tutorial Wood Wreaths

Holidays & events Key Search Terms: » » » » » » » » »

4th (of) July Backyard Entertaining Games Graduation photos Grilling Party/parties Patriotic Picnic


Health & fitness Key Search Terms:

Food & drink

» » » » » » » »

Arm workouts Healthy Light Paleo Salad Toning workouts Water Vegan

Key Search Terms:

Beverages: » Bourbon » Cocktail » Drink » Ice » Iced tea » IPA » Lemonade » Mojito cocktails » Peach flavor » Refreshing drink » Sangria » Strawberry lemonade Breakfast: » Breakfast sandwiches and burritos » Classic (bacon, hash browns) » Morning ingredients (banana, peanut butter) » Planning ahead (rolled, instant) Ingredients: » Cream » Cream cheese » Fruit (strawberry) » Peanut butter » Salsa » White chocolate Snacks: » Dip » Ice cream » On-the-go (smoothies) » Veggies for kids » Yogurt

Food Key Search Terms: » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » »

Avocado Bake dessert/no bake Banana split BBQ/barbecue Blueberry Cake Cheesecake Corn Cucumber salad Cupcakes Dessert Fresh fruit Frozen Grilled (chicken) Icebox cake Lemon Mango Pasta salad Peach Pie Potato salad Raspberry Side dish/perfect side Slow cooker Smores Tomato salad Watermelon Whipped cream Zucchini

Home Key Search Terms: Key Search Terms:

Cleaning & chores: » Bathroom cleaning, organizing » Eco-friendly (natural, organic, safe) » Laundry (fresh, whites)

»

Home decor: » Blue » Chic » Fabric (checked and cotton) » Furniture » Garden » Glass » Modern » Outdoor » Pattern » Plant » Pool » Table

Kids & family » » » » » » » »

» » » » » » » »

Activities (for) kids Back to school supplies Birthday/party games Boredom Family Fun kids Healthy snacks Keep kids (busy, entertained, etc.) Kids crafts (especially alphabet-related and edible) Kids love Lunches Newborn, newborn photos Play Popsicles School Together Whole family

Travel Technology Key Search Terms:

Apps Accessories Classroom Fitness Integration (i.e., syncing with other devices) » Tips and how-to’s » » » » »

Key Search Terms: » » » » » » » » »

Beach Disney World France Italy Lake National parks Texas Tour Vacation

PINTEREST PINTEREST


marketing

WHY

Awesome Influencer Campaigns COMBINE MANY KINDS OF MARKETING

DID YOU EVER THINK THAT A SELFIE COULD HELP THE COMMUNITY? IT’S A NICE THOUGHT, RIGHT? Toyota recently partnered with Saatchi and Saatchi LA to add a slice of philanthropy to their December Sales Event marketing strategy. They donated money to Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every selfie posted with their campaign hashtag #selflessie. They seamlessly integrated all areas of marketing to promote their #selflessie campaign – an expert move by Toyota all marketers can learn from. 12

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EVALUATE YOUR EFFORTS One of the most common questions marketers ask me is whether or not they can prove some sort of tangible ROI on their influencer marketing. In the case of Toyota, the answer is clear: yes! For every picture hashtagged #selflessie on Instagram during the campaign, Toyota donated $50 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, up to $750,000. The original donation goal of $250,000 was reached so quickly that Toyota Financial Services (an extension of Toyota proper) tripled the donation amount. “We are delighted with the success of the #selflessie campaign and excited that so many people joined us in supporting such a worthy organization,” said Mike Groff, Toyota Financial Services President and CEO, who also serves as on the Board of Trustees for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

INTEGRATE STORY COMPONENTS Toyota has a great product already known by everyone and loved by many. This campaign earned them gold


stars by adding a human element to their brand. Partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and putting “the average consumer” front and center set the stage for a relatable and shareable campaign. Notice how the conversation never revolved around Toyota – it revolved around the people talking the selfies and the money that Boys & Girls Clubs of America would get.

USE EMPLOYEES AND SOCIAL FOLLOWERS AS INFLUENCERS To help spread the word and encourage sharing, Toyota tapped into their social following and employees. Your coworkers are some of the best assets you have to help tell your brand’s story. Not all of us have the luxury of having thousands of enthused employees like Toyota does, but even if we only have three coworkers, it’s important to integrate them. Make sure they are kept up-to-date with the campaigns you are running, and equip them with assets they can easily share on their own social channels.

INTEGRATE “A-LISTERS” If you have the budget, it’s no secret that working with “A-Listers” can be a quick way to spread a message. Toyota enlisted the help of influencers Kelly Rowland, Paul Wesley, and Debby Ryan to get the message out. The hashtag blew up to such an extent that the automaker tripled their original gift of $250k, raising a whopping $750K for the kiddos. Toyota expertly leveraged the voice of a few celebrities to spread the word about #selflessie and to encourage others to participate. The focus remained on the average consumer, so their incorporation of “A-Listers” didn’t feel as alienating as some strategies do.

No matter the size of your brand, you can easily borrow and adapt the strategies used by Toyota in this case study: »E  quip everyone with easy-to-share content and photo assets.

» » » » When steering your coworkers or influencers in the right direction for successful posts, it’s good to equip them with basic wording and make sharing as simple as copying and pasting a tweet you provide. Toyota provided influencers with this sample copy to use on Instagram for their campaign: “Doing a little good while looking good. Between December 1 and January 4, post a selfie with #selflessie and @toyotausa will donate $50 to @BGCA Clubs, up to $750k!”

F  eature real people in your campaign. M  ake sure your campaign tells a good story. I ncentivize participation. I ncorporate influencers, coworkers, consumers, or social influencers.

» L everage paid content to power your initiative.

THE POWER OF PAID I’m not a fan of using paid content as a standalone strategy, but it can be a great way to power earned and owned media. Instead of paying for ads that said, “Toyota is awesome,” or anything blatantly self-promotional, Toyota used their paid ads to promote the #selflessie campaign.

Kristen Matthews convinveandconvert.com @KristenWords

MARKETING


Matchmaker of premium female, male and multicultural content creators to humanize brands. Text Pollinate to 66866 to Learn More @pollinatemedia | @weavemade

Co-authoring the brand stories for :

whoispollinate.com | weavemade.com


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travel

FINDING COLOR Ditching Corporate Life for Blogging Prior to my life as a professional blogger, I worked in corporate America. I was miserable. So I started Just Short of Crazy as an outlet to help maintain my sanity. I started the blog in 2009 and held onto that corporate job for two more long years while I built my knowledge of blogging, put together a solid business plan and had a nice cushion in my savings account. In 2011, I up and quit my job, much to the panic of my parents and a little concern from my husband. Five years later I can honestly say it’s been one of my best decisions ever. It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. I’m finally, after years of a mundane corporate existence, living a colorful and full life. 16

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DETERMINATION BREEDS RESULTS

A complete determination to never return to a corporate job. The first six months of relying on my blogging income was both exhilarating and scary. But the scary part made me work even harder. I wanted to be successful so I had to put in the time. I went from working 40 hours a week to working 60+. Some of that time was invested in learning the business and networking with others in the industry while a lot of the remaining hours were spent drinking great wine and exploring the world--for research purposes, of course. Attending conferences, meeting other bloggers face to face, and cultivating relationships that have turned into wonderful friendships have all been building blocks of a successful career. If conferences aren’t in the budget, join some Facebook groups and engage in conversations.

BE CONSISTENT WHILE OPEN TO CHANGE One thing that I’ve learned about blogging and social media is that it is always changing. Just when I have something figured out, it either changes or the next big thing comes along and I have to start all over again. That being said, there are a few things that remain constant.

Having a publishing calendar has been essential. It keeps


me on track and gives me goals on what type of content needs to be written and published in the upcoming months. Additionally, maintaining a presence on all the big social media platforms has stayed the same year after year. When a new social media platform comes along I try to snag my name on it right away even if I never use it. I like to have it—just in case.

SMART PLANNING, HOURS PAY OFF

Last year my calendar really booked up with travel, and I was traveling more than I was at home. I quickly learned that I need to be very conscious of what trips I am accepting and ensure that I am planning enough down time between trips to complete all the writing that needs to be done. That taught me a valuable lesson in the art of saying no and being ok with it. My best advice for new online business entrepreneurs is to have a solid business plan and to have set office hours. If you let it, this job will take all your time. It will suck you in as your list of “must do” gets longer and longer and you think it all has to be done today. I speak from experience; don’t let that happen to you.

The Top 3 Most Beneficial Expenses to My Business • A membership to a travel writers association - this gives me credentials as a travel writer • A smart phone with great photo capabilities or a good camera • Paying for a good portion of my own travel

SET YOURSELF APART

Being me keeps me different and new. That is one thing I truly love about this industry. I can present myself with all my quirky craziness and it’s ok! It’s what makes my site unique and different. I’m putting the crazy out there and having fun. My site name says it all, although my kids maintain that the “short of ” needs to be eliminated and I just need to own up to being Just Crazy (kids, no matter their age, will keep things real).

When presented with an opportunity of any kind, refer back to your business plan.If the opportunity fits within the plan, accept it and rock it out. If it doesn't, bless it and release it. You do not need to accept every opportunity. In fact, saying no opens doors for other opportunities to come your way. Also, be sure to maintain a healthy ratio of sponsored content on your site and non-paying content. A good balance makes your site more attractive to your audience. Set office hours also make sure that you are taking time for yourself and for your family. Now that my kids are grown and moved out (yes, I know, I’m way too young to have kids that old) my office hours are flexible, However, when they were home, my business hours were during they day when they were at school. If you treat your online business like a business and not like a hobby you will find that a happy and healthy life is possible.

Also, I think publishing a variety of content on a regular basis keeps me new and, more importantly, keeps me in front of the right people. One day I might publish a travel article, the next a recipe or a post about making chalkboard wine glasses. Many people have told me I need a niche to be really successful, but for me my niche is not having a niche. I like having a site that allows me to be creative in many ways. I also think brands also like that I have the ability to create content for a variety of topics.

Deb Thomas justshortofcrazy.com @debthompson

TRAVEL


INSTAGRAM

Preparing to LAUNCH

I recently launched a new Instagram marketing community, called Jenn’s Friends. And this was honestly the first time I ever really launched something. Yes, I’ve written books or added new services in the past but I kinda just put them out there. I might have teased their release a little and done a little promotion, but there definitely wasn’t a strategic campaign plan to alert the world to my newest venture. This time was different. And, wow, did I learn a lot! But before I tell you all about my first real launch, let me tell you more about why I did it. Because this is important too. So, obviously, I’m trying to run a business here and I’m looking for ways to scale the business and make more money. I love doing oneon-one work with clients for a lot of reasons. But as many business owners know, this isn’t always practical and it significantly limits the amount of customers you can have. That’s why I came up with Jenn’s Friends. It’s my chance to still offer highly personalized support, training, and interaction with my clients, but in a much more scaled way. I can create the content 18

iBlog magazine MAY 2016

each month once and share it to all the members of the community. I can have group spaces to interact with everyone but they can also interact with each other, offering new levels of support and guidance that even I can’t manage alone. So, it’s a time saving way to get more value to my clients – that’s a win-win!

You Will Want to Give Up

Ask anyone who’s executed a full launch and they’ll tell you, at some point along the way, they wanted to throw in the towel. It’s pretty much inevitable. The amount of work, chaos, challenges, emotions, and more that you go through will nearly break you. But, if you really believe in what you have to offer, you’ll forge on. And it will be worth it.


Get Help

This should be the one and only real lesson. Whether it’s people on your team or someone you can contract to help you, trust me, they will become your saving grace. For me, it was my wonderful web designer, Leah at Loop Digital. I emailed her and said, hey, I’m doing this launch, can you help me? I gave her some insight into what I wanted to do and what I needed her help with. She, of course, had all the answers, told me how much it would cost. And for the first time in my business, I didn’t second guess the expense. I said yes without question. Best. Decision. Ever! She did all my backend work. Set everything up. Answered every email and question I had. Some of which were at 10:00 at night. And on the morning of the launch, she hovered nearby, in the background, to make sure it all went smoothly. Like I said – awesome! But there is NO WAY I could have done this launch without her. The amount of work and expertise she brought to the project was worth every penny and more. Because it saved my sanity. No joke, this would have taken me a year if I had been silly enough to do it all myself. So, please, find someone to help you. In whatever capacity you need it. Know your limits, know what you need help with. And don’t be afraid (or too cheap) to get the help you need. When all is said and done, the money you make from your launch should cover your costs to get it up and running, and then some.

Give Yourself More Time

You think you can pull off your launch in one month? Give yourself at least two more weeks! Think you only need a few hours a day? Ha! You’ll need more than you estimate. Time is a commodity you will lose when you prepare a launch. It will fly out the window faster than you’ve ever experienced. So do yourself a favor and budget extra time into your launch schedule. You can thank me later.

Make Sure Everything Is Ready

Oh, not only will time flutter away taunting you as you try to hold on, but something will definitely go wrong. This is the world we live in. We rely on technology in ways you don’t even know until you launch something and it’s pretty much a guaranteed bet (I would put Vegas odds on it, seriously) that something won’t go as planned.

Promote until you are so sick of hearing yourself talk about it that you do not want to send one more email. But then you have to send one more email. happens. Read every piece of copy over again. Have someone else read your copy and instructions – does it make sense? Like I said, make sure everything is ready.

You Have to Promote – A Lot

Think one or two emails letting people know your launch is open is going to seal the deal? Nope. Not even close. You need to promote until you are so sick of hearing yourself talk about it that you do not want to send one more email. But then you have to send one more email. In fact, your promotion should start way before your launch. Start teasing it to get people excited about it. I started teasing Jenn’s Friends months before I went live. I teased it when it was literally just an idea in my head. Nothing built, nothing on paper, no website, no social media groups, nothing. But I was already talking about it and setting the stage.

Me? Oh yeah. We were supposed to launch on a Monday but PayPal was having problems processing my payment buttons (for recurring payments – btw this was a whole other catastrophe trying to figure out!) and we literally weren’t going to be able to collect payments. Kinda hard to launch when you can’t get paid! So we pushed the launch to Wednesday in order to give some extra time to make sure everything was running and we could test everything. You notice I said test… yes, test. Test everything. Sign up with every email you have to every option you have for purchase. Run every category. Try doing it wrong on purpose to see what

Jenn Herman

www.jennstrends.com Instagram: jenns_trends

INSTAGRAM


AFFILIATE MARKETING With more blogs being published than ever before, people are constantly on the lookout to monetize their content - and that’s great. However, many assume that display ads or sponsored posts are the primary way to make money. While this can be true for some, the more lucrative way for many bloggers to earn is through affiliate marketing.

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Affiliate marketing is a type of performance based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. This is done through tracking cookies and can lead to long-term sales. Unlike ad revenue, affiliate income is not tied directly to pageviews, which mean you can see better results sooner.


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How much money are you leaving on the table? In fact, you do not not even need to use new content to see results. Tasha Agruso from designertrapped.com shared how she wrote a post about painting kitchen cabinets in June of 2014, referencing the specific products on Amazon (with affiliate links, of course). Since then, she has earned $3,000 on just those products! While it does take work and dedication to see

results from affiliate marketing, there are plenty of natural fits like Tasha’s. There is always a balance when doing any type of selling to your audience. In fact, the more naturally you can tie products into your content, the more likely your audience is to believe in your recommendations and click through to purchase these items.

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Hone Your Affiliate Focus FIND YOUR BEST BETS. I focus on affiliates that I use and love and that fit my target demographic. I write about saving money and budgeting, so I factor in the cost of the product or service. If I use and love something but it’s too expensive for my readers, then I won’t promote them.

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s a new blogger, I was easily overwhelmed with affiliate marketing and the tons of affiliate opportunities hitting my inbox daily. Because I was overwhelmed, I would often just ignore them. The few times that I did promote an affiliate, it was a last minute decision with no planning. This led to lackluster affiliate income to say the least. I grew my blog quickly, reaching over 300,000 pageviews/ month and full-time blogging income in just a year. But I knew that I was leaving a lot of money on the table by not using affiliate relationships effectively. I developed and implemented a core affiliate strategy and my income more than doubled in just a month. In fact, I earned about $28,000 in affiliate income in February alone. Affiliates are usually 30% - 50% of my income. 22

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I usually reach out to brands myself to see if they have an affiliate program rather than waiting for someone to contact me. It’s very rare that I find a company that doesn’t have an affiliate program. If you do find one that doesn't currently have an affiliate program, consider asking them to create one for you.

LIMIT THE NUMBER OF AFFILIATES. In the beginning, limiting the number of affiliates that I worked with helped me focus on results. I only promote about 10 affiliates on The Busy Budgeter. I develop launch plans for each with blog posts, email campaigns, and social media promotions and implement each before I consider adding any new affiliates. By focusing on just a few, it eliminated the feeling of being overwhelmed and actually got me to take action.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. After you identify which affiliates you would love to work with, consider how complex they are. Does the reader need to make a purchase or just sign up? The easier it is to sign up or make a purchase, the better it will convert. A company that accepts Paypal tends to do better in my experience.


ASK FOR HELP.

KNOW THE SCHEDULE.

Not surprisingly, the best source of information for a product is often the brand itself. When I establish an affiliate information, even for a product that I’ve used and loved for years, I ask them to tell me about it. What are their strengths? How do they stand out from the competition? You would be surprised how much you didn't realize about your favorite brands! This helps you pass that knowledge on to your readers.

Most brands will have limited time sales or special promotions.

GET TRAINING. Just like everything in blogging, affiliate marketing is a skill that you likely weren't born with. Invest your time in training that will teach you how to market effectively. One of the best free resources I’ve seen on this is the free training that The Ultimate Bundles gives its affiliates every year.

DEVELOP A PLAN. If you’ve chosen the right affiliates than your readers will appreciate you letting them know about special offers or a company that you love. Develop a plan using your platform strengths. You’ll usually get the highest conversion rates with email, and I send three emails over a week if there’s a special promotion. That gives the reader a reminder and I can answer any questions that I get about the affiliate. Don't just stick to email through. Social media shares, blog posts and power bars are other ways to promote an affiliate.

Those are usually the days that you will get the most sales, so it’s important to know the sale dates and plan your promotions around them. Limiting the number of affiliates until you’ve mastered this is a smart idea because it helps you stay organized and avoid overwhelm. free Twitter analytics panel to see which tweets are most effective and if in doubt, try split testing your content. Experimenting with different times, copy changes, calls-to-action, and images can all help you find out what’s most effective and the optimal tweet format to gain seriously good results.

ANALYZE RESULTS. Keep track of what’s working and what isn’t. Brainstorm new ways to promote your affiliates based on past results and don’t hesitate to reach out to the brand and negotiate a higher affiliate rate. I usually skip by affiliates that don’t have a dashboard that allows me to take a deeper look into what’s driving sales. If an affiliate product isn’t converting as well as the others, I’ll drop the brand and look for a different product to fill its space in my core affiliate list.

DOUBLE DOWN ON WHAT WORKS. When you do really well with a company and readers are responding favorably, look for ways to promote that company more. You can add links to them in your top posts, you can test out promoting them with ads, or simply write more posts about their products. The purpose of the core affiliate strategy is to spend your limited time on the companies that you feel comfortable endorsing whole heartedly and quickly increasing your income by developing strategies that work with what your strengths are. I had a lot of success with this strategy and I suspect that you will too. At the end of the day, you should always follow the golden rule of affiliates. If you only promote companies that you would excitedly tell your best friend about, then you’re doing it right. This will resonate with your readers and lead to affiliate success.

Rosemarie Groner busybudgeter.com @BusyBudgeter

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Diversify Your Income for Financial Blogging Success It is incredibly important to diversify your income as a blogger and not rely too heavily on one income source. For that reason, I have several streams of blog income: ad revenue, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. Each stream is important, but affiliate marketing is my favorite way to earn money because it results in the best return relative to the amount of time I spend on it. Unfortunately, I have discovered that bloggers tend to under-utilize affiliate marketing. 24

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What is affiliate marketing? Simply put, affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people's (or company’s) products. Affiliate marketing is a natural fit for blogs. Regardless of your niche, chances are you sometimes recommend products to your readers or share links to things you love and use yourself. If you are sharing links on your blog or social media, you may as well affiliate them and earn money. When you share an affiliate link a unique tracking code is included so that any purchases made after that link is clicked on are tracked back to you. You then earn a commission off of those sales.

Is affiliate marketing “sleazy”? I’ve spoken to far too many bloggers who feel timid or even sleazy about affiliate marketing, but I strongly disagree. Affiliate marketing is a win-win for everyone. Why?

1) Your reader will not be charged anything extra to purchase using your affiliate link. 2) Your readers and social media followers like YOU and they like what you like, whether it is your home decor style, your fashion sense, or


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something else. For that reason, I have found that my readers/followers are grateful when I share links to things I love or to items in my home. Then they do not have to waste time hunting it down themselves.

3) Your FREE advertising caused someone to purchase something they may not have purchased otherwise, so it is a huge benefit for the brand/retailer. 4) You earn a commission for the otherwise “free” exposure you have given a brand or retailer.

Affiliate marketing is important for bloggers. Affiliate marketing is one of the most versatile and efficient ways to earn money as a blogger. Affiliate revenue is not directly tied to page views (which can take time to build) like ad revenue. Affiliate marketing is also more flexible than sponsored posts. Sponsored posts that pay significant rates are highly competitive and can take a lot of time to complete. Furthermore, many readers are are sensitive to sponsored posts, so most bloggers restrict the number of sponsored posts that they work on every month. As a result, the income from sponsored posts is limited. I sometimes earn more through affiliate sales during months that my traffic is down than when it has hit a record high. Most importantly, it takes about 5 minutes to include affiliate links in a blog post. Then, by strategically promoting my best blog content over and over again, those affiliate links that

took me 5-10 minutes to insert into a post will earn me money indefinitely. For example, in June 2014, I wrote a post about how to paint kitchen cabinets without priming or sanding and linked to the specific paint products I used on Amazon.

Analytics to identify and make a list of your top 20 performing posts. Set a goal to optimize 1 or 2 posts per week until you finish optimize your 20 most popular posts with applicable affiliate links. As you optimize each post, schedule that post for ongoing promotion. Continued promotion of your best performing posts is crucial. As you draft new content, be sure to optimize each post with affiliate links going forward.

Affiliate marketing takes time, dedication and patience. The more ... in June 2014, I wrote a post you work on affiliate marketing, the more about how to paint kitchen cabinets affiliate marketing will without priming or sanding and linked work for you. I’ve written to the specific paint products I used on an eBook, Affiliate Amazon. Since then, I have earned over Marketing for Bloggers, dedicated to sharing my $3,000 from selling just those products on affiliate marketing tips and Amazon; ... I also earned commissions from strategies that allowed me anything else they may have ordered. to earn over $20,000.00 in affiliate revenue during my second year of blogging. It is a comprehensive “how-to Since then, I have earned over $3,000 from guide” that is essential for learning proven selling just those products on Amazon; bear strategies and to ensure you are complying in mind I also earned commissions from with the rules and regulations applicable to anything else they may have ordered (there is affiliate marketing. just no good way to track that additional layer of sales). That is huge payoff relative to the 5 If you have been putting off your affiliate minutes that it took me to insert affiliate links marketing efforts, take action today. Your into that post, and that post continues to earn readers and banking account will thank you. me affiliate revenue every single day.

What steps should a blogger take to maximize affiliate sales? First, apply to affiliate programs that interest you and familiarize yourself with how to obtain your affiliate links Tasha Agruso from each. designertrapped.com Second, use Google @designertrapped

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Angie Nelson

TheWorkAtHomeWife.com @thewahwife

EasytoWays Increase your Affiliate Income

{Starting Now } SINCE THE DAY I DISCOVERED AFFILIATE MARKETING, I’VE BEEN IN LOVE. MY FIRST MONTH BLOGGING I MADE $50 AS AN AFFILIATE FOR MY WEBHOSTING COMPANY, AND I WAS HOOKED! I COULD SEE THAT BLOGGING HAD THE POTENTIAL TO PROVIDE ME WITH THE INCOME AND FLEXIBILITY I SO DESIRED. I WOULD FINALLY BE ABLE TO STOP TRADING MY TIME FOR MONEY – HOPEFULLY. WHERE MANY BLOGGERS GO AWRY WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING IS FOCUSING ALL OF THEIR TIME CREATING NEW CONTENT SOLELY AROUND THE INCLUSION OF AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS CAN BE A BIG TURNOFF FOR EXISTING AUDIENCES, AS YOU MAY LOSE YOUR FOCUS AND AUTHENTIC VOICE. IT CAN BE A DISAPPOINTMENT TO YOU WHEN THAT NEW CONTENT FAILS TO CONVERT. NEWSFLASH: THE MAJORITY OF MY AFFILIATE INCOME DOESN’T COME FROM NEW POSTS. AND YOURS PROBABLY WON’T EITHER. INSTEAD OF THINKING ABOUT NEW CONTENT, CONSIDER MONETIZING WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE AVAILABLE.

Popular Posts

Your most popular, evergreen posts hold so much potential. Head to your analytics and export a list of your top 20 posts from the past quarter and past year. Take time to revisit those that are relevant and useful resources. Add affiliate links to related

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INSTEAD OF THINKING ABOUT NEW CONTENT, CONSIDER MONETIZING WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE AVAILABLE.

bottom line? A few of my favorite unique affiliate opportunities: »H  ost an informative webinar with your favorite product creator » Ask your favorite affiliate manager for a custom coupon that you can share with your readers » Post an “unboxing” or tutorial on YouTube » Instagram a photo of yourself using your favorite product and recommended products. Give them new images and get them sent out to your social media profiles again. If you come across a post on a topic that doesn’t have a lot of related affiliate products to choose from or is more informative than commercial, look to amazon.com. I’ve had great luck adding info blocks to relevant books that provide more in-depth information on the topic in this type of post – choose Text & Image when creating your Associates link. And don’t forget that you’ll get a commission on anything that shopper purchases on the site within 24 hours of clicking your link.

Resource Pages

Regardless of your blog’s topic, you’ll likely receive a few “What do you use for … ” questions from time to time. Create a dedicated page on your blog where you can list your favorite products and services, and why you recommend them. You can refer to this page frequently and easily in posts and emails, on social media and more.

Autoresponders and Subscriber Freebies

If you’re serious about list building, as you should be, you’re likely giving away some type of freebie to new email subscribers. Whether it’s an email course, e-book, printable, or simply a list of tips, think about how you can incorporate an affiliate link or two into the content. Don’t push it if it isn’t coming naturally. It’s better to keep a newcomer on your list for the long-term potential than scare them away immediately by pushing a purchase. Keep your initial contacts friendly and helpful. And make sure you check your newsletter service’s terms of service. Some, especially free ones, prohibit the inclusion of affiliate links in emails.

Unique Opportunities

Any ol’ blogger can write a product review or slap an affiliate link in a post. What can you do differently that adds value to your readers while increasing your

Don’t forget to include your affiliate link!

What About Sidebar Banners?

Sidebar banners have been waning in effectiveness for years. If you think about your own online reading habits you’ll likely have to admit you’re more than a little “sidebar blind” when it comes to the sites you visit regularly. And depending on how your site displays on mobile, a good portion of your visitors may not even see what’s in your sidebar. (Only 25 percent of my visitors are coming to me on a desktop computer today!) Because of those reasons, you can’t rely on your sidebar to support your blog. You’ll get far better results from inserting that banner code into a relevant blog post. Affiliate income isn’t always steady, and it can fluctuate a lot. But, it’s still my favorite way to make money as a blogger. Posts I wrote years ago continue to earn me money to this day through the affiliate links in them. And that’s the kind of income we’re all striving for, isn’t it?

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One Strategy at a Time From 17K to 350K Monthly Page Views in Just 9 Months Lena Gott was spending so much time on her blog in addition to being a stay-at-home-mom that there was no way she could scale that up and produce more income. So she buckled down and spent nine months putting smart strategies to the test. She has since put her top 17 traffic generation tips and theories, and a list of what NOT to do in an 82-page e-book so she can help other bloggers learn what has worked and not worked so they can also accomplish their goals.

How did you achieve your success? I think two things contributed to my success. First, I had the fortune of not depending on my blog for income. We’ve lived on my husband’s income for eight years, and we still do, so anything I earn from my blog is extra. I never felt pressured to earn X amount in a set timeframe, so I was able to approach it with a “let’s see if this works” attitude. I have a tremendous amount of sticktuitiveness (read: stubbornness), and I don’t like taking no for an answer … both things that helped me stick through the rough patches, even when it looked like my blog was going nowhere. I gave myself a year from the day I started to take blogging seriously to see what could happen, and I started to gain good traction nine months into this focused time. Once I saw the

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potential, I was invigorated and never stopped. I read somewhere that the difference between a successful blogger and one who isn’t is that the successful blogger is still blogging. I think this is so true. Too many people give up on a good thing before they’re able to see the fruits of their labor. Even with all the different updates within the online business world, what operational process do you keep year after year? I’ve been writing online for nearly eight years, and two things have never changed in my work processes: the amount of time I spend doing keyword research and the ridiculous amount of Excel spreadsheets I keep. Eight years ago, the name of the game was choosing the right keywords, optimizing your content for those keywords, and just waiting for the Google traffic to roll in. While you can longer expect a ton of search engine traffic to roll in immediately, you do still need to conduct keyword research to make your content stand out. I was burned badly by the big Google algorithm changes about five years ago, and it turned me off of search engine optimization for a while. I’m finding that giving up on keyword research was not a good idea, and it wasn’t until I started focusing on them again that my blog started to take off. I’m very intentional about the keywords I use in my posts and the overall content strategy of my blog. As far as spreadsheets – let’s just say I keep track of my income and expenses in Excel (probably will be changing that this year), and I also catalog my blog post URLs, pins, Facebook posts, and more in other spreadsheets. I’ve used Excel spreadsheets all my adult life, and old habits die hard!


How do you balance your work and personal life? My advice to new online business entrepreneurs would be to pace yourself and outsource some of your work, whether it’s your business work or household tasks. This is especially important for moms. All the areas of your life require a tremendous amount of physical and mental energy, and that’s before you take time to fit in exercise and breaks for yourself. Unfortunately, the internet never sleeps, so there’s ALWAYS something else to do! I made a point to recognize when I had accomplished something good and call it a day. It could be something as simple as figuring out how to resize an image for my sidebar, sign up for a new sponsored post network, or schedule out 40 pins. One little task doesn’t amount to much, but 30, 60, or 90 little tasks really add up to something big! What keeps your angle unique? I think I’m different because I’m willing to share my secrets with other bloggers. I remember what it was like to be a new blogger and see others making it big, getting tons of followers, saying they were making lots of money and supporting their families with

online income … and I had NO CLUE what they were doing to make it happen. As I figure this stuff out, I like sharing my knowledge along the way so others can grow their blogs, as well. I have learned so much from bloggers who are willing to share the little details that go into growing an online business, and that’s my goal, as well. I love sharing the little details, like how to source keywords for a new post, in addition to the bigger picture stuff like content strategies. For now, I’m putting all of this guidance on whatmommydoes.com but will likely eventually start a second blog just for this. What are the top things that you need, paid and unpaid, for your success? I’m a big fan of paying for solutions that work. I happily pay for technical assistance, paid plugins, and a virtual assistant. I need even more help than I get, so I need to pay for more virtual assistance than I currently receive. I also need to buy an actual accounting software and possibly hire a CPA (someone other than myself who can look at our finances with fresh eyes) to help me with tax planning. By far the most important thing I need and pay for is technical assistance. I’m a bit of a dunce when it comes to technical stuff. I used to fumble my way through website code trying to make updates or just made do with what I had when I couldn’t figure it out. Now that my blog is earning a significant amount of money, I can’t afford to just wing it. I can’t afford for it to go down, and it needs to run properly, so I pay for technical support.

”I . have learned so much from bloggers who are willing to share the little details that go into growing an online business, and that’s my goal, as well.“ Now that my income has increased beyond where a simple Excel spreadsheet will do for tracking income and expenses, I need to invest in an accounting software, and it couldn’t hurt to hire a CPA to help us with tax planning so I can keep more of what I earn.

Lena Gott

whatmommydoes.com @whatmommydoes

LIFESTYLE


UNIQUE NETWORKS One size does not fit all influencers when it comes to choosing a network. Check out these four unique networks that take a different approach to influencer services.

Social Fabric by Collective Bias InfluenceHer Collective by Her Campus Linqia - Influencer Marketing Platform Influence Central - Social Consultancy

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Earning money is a top priority for many online influencers. However, there are many questions when identifying just how to go about accomplishing this. How do you get started? Where do you find legitimate opportunities? How do you know you will really get paid? This is where blogging and social media networks come into play. These

networks can bring extremely lucrative opportunities right to your inbox. However, with many influencers eager for the same campaigns, it’s important to stand apart from the crowd and go above and beyond with your content. We spoke to several networks who shared with us just what that looks like and how you can be on your way to earning even more.


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NETWORKS LOOK FOR

Communication AND

Positive Attitude

WHEN WORKING WITH INFLUENCERS COLLECTIVE BIAS HAS RUN OVER 500+ CAMPAIGNS FOR BRANDS AND RETAILERS GENERATING OVER TWO BILLION IMPRESSIONS IN 2015 ALONE. OUR INFLUENCERS’ MONTHLY BLOG REACH IS 80MM+, MONTHLY SOCIAL REACH IS 120MM+ AND THEIR CONTENT RECEIVES 1MM+ ENGAGEMENTS PER MONTH. There are many influencers in the space striving to find campaigns. This can make finding campaigns extremely competitive. There are a few key assets that make an influencer desirable for recruitment. 32

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• Blogging Consistency - we look for blogs that post weekly and/or 4 times per month for a minimum of the 3 month time period prior to the application date • Original Content - we look for blogs with mostly original content and storytelling (this excludes reviews, giveaways, etc) • Original Photographs - we look for blogs that feature mostly original photos, taken by the applicant. This excludes stock photos, text only graphics, etc. • Quality Photographs - we look for blogs with great quality, clear, very large photos (filling nearly the full width of the posting area) • Social Media Accounts - we look for blogs that have multiple social media accounts with sufficient following and interaction • Professional Blog Theme - we look for blogs with an organized and easily readable format.


WHERE CAN INFLUENCERS MOST IMPROVE?

Communication

When influencers run into issues or have questions while working on a program it is important to to communicate with their company contact ASAP. Asking for advice (or venting) in a Facebook Group or other forum, waiting until the day before to reach out or non communication often results in misinformation, frustration and of course missed deadlines not only for the influencer but also for the company. It is always better to be removed from a program for issues that are beyond your control than it is to be removed because you dropped the ball and failed to communicate.

Proofreading

Influencers should never post content that has not been proofread, we recommend having a friend read it for you as well. Once your content is live we are reviewing it for program compliance and should not have to be editing for spelling and grammar issues.

Compliance

It’s all in the detail and everything the influencers need to properly complete their assignment is included in their instructions. Even if you have been blogging forever or have done multiple campaigns for us, you should always read your instructions completely and carefully. Then, re-read them before you submit your content. When influencers submit content it should comply with all guardrails set by the client. Influencers should not be relying on our internal content review to bring missing information or errors to their attention.

Attitude

The best influencers not only have a passion for what they do, they also have

Ali Kirby

an understanding of the difficulties that sometimes arise when working with brands. When we face program changes or difficulties we work hard to come up with balanced solutions that have minimal impact on the influencers and still meet the client needs. Sometimes the balance is not always ideal, but it is the nature of the business of working with brands. Being snarky when returning emails, ignoring emails, or venting online about your frustrations is not a good attitude to have if you want to continue working with our network.

WHERE CAN INFLUENCERS GET FEEDBACK ON THEIR PART OF THE CAMPAIGN? Influencers are welcome to reach out to their campaign contacts or a member of the community team at any time for feedback.

Director, Community Recruitment collectivebias.com @CollectiveBias

Top 3 things Influencers Can Do to WOW a Brand »

S  how us how you are using a cool new platform or app to engage your audience and provide traction for the brand.

»

C  ome up with new and innovative ways for using the campaign products.

»

D  o a little extra! Just because the brand didn’t ask for a recipe card in your post, add one anyway!

Kim Janocko

Sr. Director, Community collectivebias.com @CollectiveBias

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How Influencers Can StanD

Apart INFLUENCEHER COLLECTIVE IS A CURATED NETWORK OF BLOGS AND VLOGS WRITTEN BY YOUNG WOMEN ON FASHION, BEAUTY, COOKING, FITNESS, DESIGN, LIFESTYLE, AND MORE. THE COLLECTIVE PROVIDES A COMMUNITY FOR INFLUENCERS TO SHARE IDEAS AND INSPIRATION WITH ONE ANOTHER AND RECEIVE EDITORIAL AND SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FROM HER CAMPUS AND OUR PARTNERS, AND PROVIDES BRANDS WITH THE CHANCE TO REACH 1,400+ DIGITAL, MILLENNIAL INFLUENCERS AND THEIR AUDIENCES THROUGH SPONSORED BLOG CONTENT, SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS, AND MORE. Finding the Right Fit The first characteristic we look for when looking to activate influencers is the quality of their site in terms of content, imagery, and site design. For content, we like to see original articles that are both engaging and free of grammatical 34

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errors. When it comes to imagery, again it should be original, interesting, and hi-res. As for site design, we like to see clean designs, preferably with a white background, and free of spammy ads and pop-ups. Page load speeds are very important, too. The second is category fit and influence. If a beauty brand comes to us and is looking to work with bloggers who create hair and makeup tutorials, we will first look at beauty bloggers and potentially secondary categories like lifestyle or fashion, where some bloggers also talk about beauty topics. After identifying our key list, reach and influence are analyzed to narrow the field. Our goal is to select influencers that are relevant to the consumer that the brand is trying to reach, and who have a strong presence and influence among their readers. While we prefer not to select solely by reach or engagement, it ultimately is a final factor when deciding who will be the best fit for the client’s marketing goals. Go Above and Beyond Do more than is asked of you. Even after you’ve signed an agreement with a brand or agency on the specifics of what you’ll be doing for them, the best way to impress the brand or PR contact is to go above and beyond. If you’re required to create a blog post and amplify it three times, amplify it six

or more times instead. It’s a small amount of work but will pay off in the long run. It should go without saying, but be excited about the brand or product you’ll be blogging about. Readers can very easily sniff out a stale sponsored post that was written with minimal effort. Put in the time and effort to use the product or educate yourself on the brand so you can create stellar content that you can be proud of. While getting paid to blog about the brand is always a great thing, it shouldn’t always be about the money. Follow Through, Even After a Campaign Keep showing the brand some love. If you recently did a sponsored post for a brand, don’t be afraid to continue to organically post about them one month or three months down the road. Organically talking about the brand, even when you’re not getting paid to do it, shows your readers and the brand that you’re a true super fan. Don’t be afraid to send these links to your contact at the brand or agency either. Doing so helps to keep the lines of communication open and will keep you top of mind when they’re ready to launch their next influencer marketing campaign. Stay Creative to Stand Out I’d love to see more creative ideas or pitches when an influencer is applying to a campaign. The most unique and original content ideas always stick out, in a good way, when looking at our applicant pool

for a specific campaign. Think outside the box and keep tabs on what other bloggers in your niche are doing, and then differentiate yourself from them. An influencer can always email the campaign manager regarding feedback about a campaign, whether it’s in regard to the campaign content they created or the selection process. During the selection process, it’s oftentimes the client who has the final say on which bloggers are activated, but we’re always willing to provide feedback when possible, if the blogger is interested in finding out more.

“DO MORE THAN IS ASKED OF YOU. EVEN AFTER YOU’VE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT WITH A BRAND OR AGENCY ON THE SPECIFICS OF WHAT YOU’LL BE DOING FOR THEM, THE BEST WAY TO IMPRESS … IS TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND.”

Stephanie Kaplan Lewis Her Campus

hercampus.com/influenceher-collective @HerCampus

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The

Factor How to rise above the crowd for campaigns

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Brands love influencer marketing because it provides a direct, authentic way for them to connect with consumers. But there are millions of influencers online, and more seem to pop up every day. So how do you stand out from the crowd and establish profitable, ongoing relationships with the brands you love? Here are 3 tips we share with our Linqia influencers, who we call Storytellers, to increase their chances for being chosen to participate in influencer marketing programs with high quality brands: 36

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"There is an old saying, 'you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.' Applying that same sweetness to your influencer strategy can also help attract brands." Create Valuable Content: Brands often plan influencer campaigns with the future in mind. Because many brands repurpose sponsored influencer content onto their own social media channels, websites, marketing materials, etc they look for content that feels professional (especially photography). Create content that is wellwritten, authentic, and free of spelling errors or grainy images. Beyond aesthetic appeal, it’s even more important that the content adds value to the reader’s life. Websites with the most engaging content amass the most authentic followers, which is why brands place top priority on the overall quality of an influencer’s content. High quality content informs or entertains your audience. Informational posts include tutorials, recipes, life-hacks, or even op-eds on current events. Entertaining content comes in a variety of forms (personal experiences, interviews, etc.) but should always tell a story and activate audience emotions. Brands love content that weaves in personal stories because it develops a relationship between the influencer and theirhis or her audience. And when your audience trusts you, brands feel confident that your content will ultimately influence others to take action.


Be Professional: There is an old saying, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Applying that same sweetness to your influencer strategy can also help attract brands. A majority of influencer marketing platforms and the brands that they represent keep detailed records of all interactions and outcomes of their sponsored content programs. Influencers who have a reputation for being reliable and easy to work with, while delivering results, are given priority in campaign selection. Here are a few ways to keep the relationship professional: Stay positive: Any criticisms of the brand, product, or other campaign aspects in sponsored content are embarrassing for the brand and confusing to the audience. Unless a brand explicitly asks for a no-holds-barred product review, don’t accept a campaign unless you are ready to speak positively about the brand. If you don’t agree with any part of a campaign, it is best to sit that one out rather than participate and fake enthusiasm. Honor responsibilities: Committing to a campaign and then becoming non-responsive is problematic for brands who are relying on influencers to deliver on their commitment. This is especially true if the influencer has already received free product or compensation for the post - going silent will often result in being blacklisted for future campaigns. Communicate: Most brands and influencer marketing platforms do not have the time to deeply research your life and preferences, so they rely on the information you've supplied in your platform profile. Ensure your content and bios communicate the full array of your preferences and interests to avoid incompatible requests. If you are

approached with an ill-fitting campaign, undercompensated offer, or uncomfortable request, don't be afraid to let the brand know. Openly communicate what you would like to do as many brands may be open to trying a new idea or approach.

Drive Authentic Traffic & Engagement: There is a significant element of trust within a influencer-brand partnership. Brands trust influencers to represent their brand as directed and influencers trust brands to compensate them for their work. Driving fraudulent website traffic or inflating social media followers are the ultimate breaches of a brand’s trust. Brands compensate influencers for their influence with consumers so any deceptive practices will almost always result in non-payment of the influencer and immediate removal from a campaign. Influencers who break the trust of a brand are unlikely to be recruited again, and may be blacklisted from other influencer platforms. Build your audience authentically and organically through your quality content, not by using fraudulent clicks or follower purchases. The best Influencer Marketing platforms are listening and will filter out fraudulent traffic from authentic traffic. According to a report from AdWeek: 75% of brands today use influencer marketing in some form, with more expected to hop on the bandwagon. As brands seek out quality influencers to participate in their influencer marketing initiatives, keep these tips in mind to increase your influencer appeal.

Maria Sipka is the president and cofounder of Linqia, the first performance-based influencer marketing platform. Linqia helps over 150 leading national brands and their agencies reach a new generation of buyers through authentic, influencer-generated content, including Kimberly Clark, Nestle, General Mills, Unilever Black & Decker, Clarins, La Prairie, Disney, Gap, Method, NBC, Microsoft, Samsung, SC Johnson, Walmart and JP Morgan. Maria has been recognized as one of the leading women in technology by Forbes. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and 2 young children and loves watching Spanish TV series, exploring the Californian coast and taking her children on local adventures.

Maria Sipka

Co-founder and President, Linqia linqia.com @linqia

FEATURE


feature

Influence Central Delivers Innovative Influencer Experiences Influence Central is a social consultancy that believes that trusted, passionate, first-person recommendations prove the most powerful way to influence consumer behavior. Founded in Boston in 2007 – and one of Inc.’s fastest growing privately held companies for five consecutive years – we’ve developed in-depth expertise in the influencer space through extensive consumer research and the execution of innovative social, digital, and word-of-mouth campaigns. Working with leading brands, we provide strategic counsel and tactical engagements that result in powerful and meaningful ROI through the engagement of passionate influencers.

Our influencer community understands that we view them as valued, professional partners. We also provide our influencers with dynamic weekly opportunities, and we constantly seek to grow our community of influencers in such areas as fashion, food, DIY, home décor, fitness, travel, and more. We encourage new influencers to reach out to us via our new member portal https://members.influence-central.com, where they can register a profile, sharing with us their influence and interests on their blog and social platforms.

Harnessing the Power of Influence for Results At Influence Central, we deliver exceptionally strong marketing results by harnessing the power of influence, and through our cutting-edge social media and digital campaigns we prove again and again to the over 350 brands we work with each year how first-person, passionate recommendations: » Create high conversion in consumer purchases » Dynamically lift brand recognition and reputation » Raise awareness for new product launches » Persuasively answer and quiet brand detractors Our clients also value that we take an artisan approach to our influencer marketing campaigns – handcrafting programs that resonate with targeted brand advocates and map to measurable KPIs that really matter to brands, such as proving out increased sales or sales at a particular retailer, new customer acquisition, loyal customer retention, or in the case of non-profits, driving donations, participation, or memberships.

Visual for 2016 Innovation in Influencer Marketing As a social consultancy working in the always-evolving digital space, Influence Central exists in a constant state of innovation. From incorporating emergent technologies to addressing new applications of social media platforms, change has become ever-present. We’ve also proved out new, innovative thinking regarding influencer marketing – demonstrating that influence transcends a particular consumer group. We founded our company in the Mom space, but as we began working in other consumer sectors – including Millennials, Dads, Women, and more – we were able to prove out what we’ve always believed: that passionate, first-person recommendations can – and do – change consumer behavior, regardless of consumer demographics. 38

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Increasingly we see brands and agencies looking for more visual content as we see the rise of visual platforms – Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat – that really appeal to Millennials and allow them to share experiences in an entirely new and visual way. But we’ve also seen clients seek out visual storytelling – still images and video – from influencers across a wider spectrum of demographics – realizing that imagery can jump-start the discovery process for consumers. We expect to see more and more visual campaigns in 2016.

Stacy DeBroff

influence-central.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacydebroff

FEATURE


marketing

The Dilemma of

One vs. Many Merchants

Amazon has begun reaccepting affiliates in states where nexus legislation had once caused all applicants to be automatically declined. Thus all bloggers now face a dilemma – to work with individual merchants or instead work with one merchant who sells almost everything. What is the right thing to do? 40

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There are many factors to consider when making this decision – ease, cookie length, choice of merchandise, other products available, commission rates, etc. Each should be evaluated before moving forward.

Ease

Many affiliates like the tools Amazon provides to instantly create a link to a product. It is quite handy for sure, but it’s also not exclusive. Many affiliate networks have offered something similar for a while, and also offer deep linking tools within their interfaces. You must decide what you are willing to do, and gain or lose, to create the link.

Cookie Length

Most merchants offer 7-45 day cookies, which gives affiliates the opportunity to profit from a sale occurring long after the blog post was first read. The Amazon cookie lasts one day, meaning that the affiliate only earns commission if someone purchases something on the same day. While the majority of sales occur within the first 24-hour period, research has shown that purchases initiated by content sites tend to continue occurring over a longer-time period. A 30-day cookie means that the content affiliate can earn much more as a result.

large) items while purchasing the item mentioned in the blog post. Merchants selling something specific, like clothing or electronics, don’t offer as many choices of other products to a consumer as a superstore such as Amazon. Cookie length plays a huge role here - you need to know your audience to decide whether they will buy the item you recommended and also buy a set of dishes or tires during the same 24-hour period of the Amazon cookie vs. the 30-day period of the merchant.

Choice of Merchandise

Commission Rates

There’s no doubt that Amazon sells almost everything, so you’ll rarely have to hunt for a product someplace else (though I couldn’t find a pretty set of queen-sized flannel sheets on there!). If a consumer is coming to buy a specific item based on your recommendation, though, they’ll probably buy it from the place you direct them to, knowing for sure that it is exactly the same thing you’ve told them about. If there are additional choices in the item, they are much more likely to be offered choices on the manufacturer’s site.

Other Products Available

Earning commission on other products is also a wonderful opportunity. Many affiliates have enjoyed larger commissions on products they never reviewed, simply because they were also available on a merchant’s site. Affiliates often hope that they will hit the “buying jackpot,” that a shopper will buy many other (hopefully

Two factors come into play here – commission rate and basket value. It is important to consider the difference between the volume-based commission offered by Amazon and the payment available from specific merchants; frequently the merchant’s rate is higher, even if a content site generates an adequate quantity of sales to hit the next Amazon commission bump. Perhaps your site generates 111+ sales/month on Amazon, earning a commission rate of 7%. Compare that to the payout of an individual merchant – where would you make more money? For example, if this involved items from LonelyPlanet.com, affiliates could earn 15% directly from the

merchant rather than 7% from Amazon. Over time, that’s a lot of money! Basket value is the second factor – since Amazon focuses so highly on discounting everything, the total value of a sale tends to be smaller, meaning there is a smaller base for the commissionable amount. That’s not to say that items available directly from a merchant are always more expensive – with specials and coupons the deals are usually comparable – but with a merchant you have a greater chance of having some full-priced items, which means higher commissions as well. Owning a blog means you own a business. As a business owner, you must decide what is best for your business – which trade-offs are worth the cost. Ease vs. greater income? Volume vs. commission rate? Working with Amazon or directly with merchants is not mutually exclusive – you can work with both. Just remember, as you select the link source for your blog post pointing consumers to a product or service, you have a decision to make about what is best for them, and best for you.

Jeannine Crooks AffiliateWindow.com @Jeannine_Crooks7

MARKETING


How To

Write Your "About Me"

AND WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT! I love to read other people’s blogs. I visit many different websites, sometimes to give feedback and other times because a link caught my eye. I’ve been blogging for over three years. In internet years that’s ancient…even worse than dog years. I’ve seen numerous “About Me” pages over the space of those three years. Some great, some not so much. Before I get very far into this, I want to clarify that there is a difference between an About Me page for a blogger and a business “About” page. And if you are both

blogging and running a business on the same site, you’ll need to weigh both sides to find what will work best for you and your site. As a blogger you need to give a good sense of your personality, a taste of your voice, and an overview of what can be found on your site. In the case of a blog, you’re not selling a product, you’re “selling” YOU. If your site is solely for the purpose of a business you’ll need to use the About page to convey some simple facts about the products or services available on your site, your business’s mission, all the while showing 42

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how you are uniquely positioned to meet the need they had when they clicked onto your site. Before you start writing your about page, you need to consider a few things. Hopefully you’ve already done them without even really stopping to think about it as you built your blog. But maybe intentional thinking was not the part of your brain engaged when you staked your claim on the internet. I know it wasn’t mine! Since I’m first and foremost a blogger, I’m going to be tackling this from a blogger’s perspective. And from a blog reader’s perspective. If you’re a business website owner, hit up Google or Pinterest. There are loads of great tips available.


designed for biz

IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.

WHAT SETS YOU APART?

Don’t skip this step. Just don’t. It’s the core of your blog. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, you’ll never find them and be able to share your words with them.

I am not advocating the humblebrag here. Absolutely not. People will see right through that. So go ahead and brag. If you’re really good at something, tell me about it. I want to know. Why else would I have clicked your “About Me” page? Right? What makes you different than the 947,382 other bloggers out there? (And that’s just the ones I know about.)

So for just a moment, let’s daydream. Picture in your mind the people that you want to be reading your blog. Who do you see? Tired mommas who just need a good laugh and a two-minute distraction from the never ending drudgery of laundry? Savvy shoppers looking for coupon deals? Eager DIYers looking for the next fabulous pallet project? Women in need of encouragement? Or maybe you see technology challenged people who are parenting children that are MASTERS of technology and you want them to wake up smell the coffee rather than playing the ostrich on internet safety? Once you know who you’re writing for, it’s easier to craft your About Me page. If you need to be professional, you can. If you think you are hysterical and you’re writing to entertain…rock it! If you’re a fan of subtle snark, snark away and let your underhanded humor carry your message. If you’re breezy and upbeat, let it shine to engage your readers.

KNOW YOUR “WHY.” If you’ve created a tagline for your site, you probably have your why figured out. There’s something about culling the purpose of your site in its entirety down to 5-10 words that will give you a deeper understanding of your why. You might have just randomly taken up blogging with no niche or tagline in sight, instead choosing what you hope is a clever enough domain name to make up for that fact. Did you know it took me a year…A WHOLE YEAR…to come up with my tagline and identify my niche? I don’t regret it at all! Rather than boxing myself into something right off the bat, I was able to slowly explore different topics and find out what interested me and what I was most passionate about. Then the words started bubbling out of me!

If you go to my “About Me” page you’ll find some of the happenings that have shaped me to be able to blog about what I blog about. You’ll find my experience. And you’ll learn about who I really am. Yes. I love techy stuff and gadgets. But I’m also a musician and a mentor in a MOPS group. Some of that is completely applicable to what I choose to write about, but much of it is not.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER. Now to pull this information together and make your “About Me” interesting. Invest some serious time editing and re-editing until you LOVE what it says about you. This page is like the trunk of your blog-tree. Aside from your home page it will be your MOST VISITED page on your blog (as long as you make it easy to find!). Sprinkle liberally with photos that will help you become more than just a 2 dimensional spewer of words. We are a visual society, so help a sister out and show us what makes you tick, don’t just tell us. Add your “About Me” page to your main navigation menu. Don’t hide it under a submenu or let it be hard to find. If I can’t find it, I’ll most likely never be drawn back to your blog again. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. When is the last time you took a look at this page on your blog? Many people set up their About Me Page and never go back again. Whether you’re a long-time blogging veteran or brand new to the game, this is the perfect time to take another look and make sure that you shine.

Maria Davis

aproblemlikemaria.com mariakdavis

Even without a well-defined niche or tagline, there’s still a “why.” We all have something in us that made us decide to set up a blog and dispense words into wide-open public spaces for anyone in the world to read. So, know your why and speak it on your “About ME” page.

DESIGNED FOR BIZ


lifestyle

The Secret Ingredients for a Successful (and Blissful) Site Who would have thought that a little site started in 2006 by original founder Alli Worthington would continue to grow to be a thriving community full of great content and inspiration through 2016. What really makes Blissfully Domestic wonderful is our audience. Without an audience you have nothing. It’s not about you; it’s all about your readers, subscribers, and community. You really need to know who they are, and focus on what brought them to you and what you have to offer them. You must create relevant content, have a clear message, and be consistent in your message. So how do Write Detailed Content That’s Rich in Imagery and Information We’re seeing a dramatic shift in the online environment. In 2006, there were a few interesting personal blogs that had explosive growth because they were the pioneers. They started writing and sharing, and others followed. There was intrigue and inspiration that was refreshing and compelling. The landscape has shifted from sharing short stories to a more journalistic, researched, and elegant environment. (Did I hear an “amen” from my journalist friends?!) Our mantra is Quality over Quantity. This will help build your site, your resources, and your audience. Elevate Your Exposure by Contributing Editors aren’t seeking out writer contributors, so you need to seek them. » Introduce yourself, and offer content ideas or even a draft to increase your chances of getting published. » Start by guest posting on similar blogs and then seek opportunities with leaders in your niche vertical. » Follow the site and editor on social media, and learn their content style, then ask to join as a contributor and continue to engage. » For mainstream media exposure, think about pursuing your local community publisher as well as a national publisher. 44

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you reach and attract new readers, how do you retain them, and how do you make it all come together? Gain Attention From Brands by Being a True Advocate If you write about brands that are truly relevant to your audience, you may just be attracting that brand for future sponsored content.


With social listening tools, brands recognize and often want to work with publishers who are already fans of their products or services. Engage with the brand on social media regularly and become “known” to them, but be genuine. Some of my favorite publishing tips and tools: Create Allies » Make a list of your top 25 competitors (“true” competitors – leaving out the “big ones” like, ahem, Martha Stewart and Real Simple). » Now don’t see them as competitors, see them as colleagues and/or content partners. » Interact with them socially, and share their content and turn the relationship into a partnership. Content Karma – Share and be Shared » Stumbleupon – I like this because by being able to share your content you have to share others.’ So very zen (and accountable). Join Groups » There are so many wonderful groups and tribes on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social platforms that are willing to share their own tips and tricks. We have to support each other! Take Time to Invest in Yourself Learning and experimenting are very important, as the online landscape is always shifting, with new restrictions, algorithms, tools, and platforms. You must be working continually to improve your knowledge and skills. Here are a few resources to help keep you current: » Social Media Examiner: Attending my first conference was a major turning point in my social media strategic growth. This is a not-to-be-missed conference if you’re a publisher. » iBlog Magazine: My monthly dose of the who’s who and what’s what in blogging and social media. » Google Analytics: Knowing and understanding your analytics is crucial for analyzing your audience and the content they’re engaging with. » Lynda.com: Learn new creative skills to help you achieve your goals.

”.. . it’s all about your readers, subscribers, and community. You really need to know who they are.“ Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Media Many brands pay lots of money to have an ad in a magazine or newspaper, or on television. Now they must invest that money in this new arena of social media. Engage and build your socials to help build your personal brand. Many of your publishers will want you to come to them with not only content but also with the ability to engage with them on different platforms. You’ll need to have a social network to bring to the table. Whether you’re looking to be a writer contributor or work with brands, don’t underestimate the value of your social media platforms. Having strong social media profiles may be the deciding factor in the choice to work with you. Find a few platforms that work best for you and your content, and fully embrace them. It’s okay if you’re not ”huge” on every platform – do what works best for you and your content. Community is Everything This is a very important part of a site’s success. From the start in 2006, Blissfully Domestic was created under the guidance of Alli Worthington whose foundational goal was to create great content and form a supportive blogging community. Blissfully Domestic’s success is attributed to the beautiful and useful content contributed by the many talented writers and the foundational community it created, which thrives and continues to be a resource for women. Since taking over as editor last year, I continually work to maintain and grow this bond and community. It truly takes a village in the blogosphere. The same way you would treat your neighbors is the way you should approach being a blogger. Be a good ”neighbor” – leave meaningful comments, introduce yourself, respond to comments on your posts, and continue to interact with others to form a group or team to support each other. We feel strongly that connecting with other bloggers is crucial in order to grow. Take a Deep Breath and Jump It may seem totally overwhelming with all of the advice, tips, and tools but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s a process that takes time but also true dedication if you want it to succeed. If you have passion and desire to build your blog’s content, audience, reach, and maybe even sponsored content, make sure the fundamentals are covered first and then start chipping away at what’s most important to you and to your blog. The rest will fall into place in time. You can do it!

Deborah von Donop BlissfullyDomestic.com @dvdInteriorDesign

LIFESTYLE


TECH TOOLS

Top 3 RINGR Highlights: 1. Mobile, long-distance interview recording at studio quality. Podcasters and broadcasters alike know the importance of sound quality. When RINGR CEO Tim Sinclair saw a void in the mobile audio space, he quickly worked with his team to fill it. With Ringr, you can record an interview with anyone, anywhere in the world, on any device & sound like the two of you are in the same room. He shares with us the insights on what makes this such a valuable tool for social media efforts. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION OR NEED YOU SAW TO BE FILLED WHEN CREATING RINGR? I spent 18 years in radio and conducted literally thousands of interviews during my career. Unfortunately, nearly all of them sounded awful because they were recorded over a phone connection. One day I decided to have a guest record the answers to my interview questions on his iPhone, and it sounded amazing. When I realized the kind of quality you could get out of a mobile device, the idea for RINGR came pretty quickly. Since then we have learned that it wasn’t just me who was frustrated with the process. Hundreds of thousands of other podcasters and broadcasters regularly experience this exact same problem. HOW WILL YOUR TOOL HELP INFLUENCERS REACH THEIR 2016 SOCIAL MEDIA & BLOGGING GOALS? Audio content creation is an exploding industry. Podcasting alone is growing at a 30% rate. RINGR gives users the ability to record a conversation with anyone, anywhere, on any device, and have it sound like they’re in the same room at the same time. No studio or equipment required. For the first time in history, you can use your phone or tablet to record a long-distance interview at studio quality and immediately use that audio in a podcast, broadcast, or on social media. RINGR also provides the perfect platform for reporters and bloggers who need to gather audio content and then transcribe it into text. High quality audio leads to high-quality transcription.

2. Mono, stereo and split-track downloads 3. MP3, .ogg and .flac file types

WHAT TECHNOLOGY TRENDS DO YOU SEE HAPPENING IN 2016? Mobile, interactive, real-time audio and video streams are a definite part of our future. We’re already seeing Meerkat, Blab, Periscope and others explode onto the scene...and I believe there will be many more to come. I also think that content curation platforms will continue to thrive. There is so much quality audio and video being produced, that there will never be enough quality ways to distribute them. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CORE VALUES OF YOUR COMPANY? At RINGR we’re striving to create a platform that is high enough quality for a broadcaster in New York City, but is simple enough to use for a podcaster in his basement. Everything our team works on is designed to help our users get a million-dollar sound for less than $19 per month. We also aim to provide customer support that isn’t merely acceptable...but remarkable. WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR SUCCESS? Be you. Authenticity is like a virus...it’s both contagious and sharable. In our increasingly social culture, there are no two things more important for growing your influence and brand. While we can all learn from others who do their jobs well, it is never a good idea to copy or imitate them. Infuse your passion and your perspective into your content, and the rest will take care of itself.

Tim Sinclair, CEO ringr.com @ringr_us 46 46

iBlog magazine September iBlog magazine MAY2015 2016

TECH-TOOLS


GOOGLE+

+ e l g o o ting G e s U ke

ar o T M e t w HFoor Affilia

liate ic affi le+ s a b learn Goog could p you use at you u o y l f do i could he re th gle+ I’m su would o at What ing tips th orts? Well to use Go ers t ff w e e o l k r h r u fo low y ma ce yo o learning munity of n a unit h n t to e be open com our comm +, a d l i Y le u would t way to b tionships. d on Goog drive l h a i l ou g u i e y r r b t e th ted tha you c c t e a n ffi h n a t r , o t and c ationships art of the p el r e d m n o a c ts. en be roduc can th affiliate p r to you

Kim Beasley KimBeasley.com @kimbeasley

Important to note is that Google+ is integrated into the search algorithm of Google.com. Even though Google+ is considered one of the newer social media networks, it has made a big impact in how you can reach your target market by driving traffic to your affiliate products. The affiliate marketing tips that will be shared in this article are simple yet effective. Please keep in mind that it’s not an overnight success or a quick fix to integrate Google+ into your efforts. Remember, to develop a successful affiliate marketing plan that you also need to have a strategy in place. This strategy can only be successful on Google+ if you choose to engage and build relationships with your target market on Google+.

Helpful Google+ affiliate marketing tips: As with all marketing strategies content is king. Start with great content to post and you have the foundation for your strategy. Here are some additional tips to help you market your affiliate products using Google+ :

• Utilize Hangouts This tool let’s you organize and meet up with people within your Circles. You can share affiliate marketing tips with your affiliates, discuss product features and even expand on content that you’ve posted.

• Circle Your Competitors There are many things that you can learn from your competitors. You can keep track of their products and content to see what strategies work for them. Circling the competition also allows your affiliates the opportunity to see a variety of products. This gives them an opportunity to assess whether those products suit their needs better.

• Create & Optimize Your Google+ Page Create a Google+ business page that is centered on reaching

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your target market. Include your keywords in the title of your page. Make sure that your Google+ page is visible, completely fill out your About page and it is engaging to getting people to pay attention to it. Make sure that you use relevant keywords, link to your webpages and product pages.

• Use Captivating Visual Tools This includes videos and images. Make sure that you use the best quality images of your products as possible. Using videos can be a great to tool for product demos.

• Utilize Attention Grabbing Headlines Use keyword rich but engaging headlines to get attention. Keep it short but simple for sharing within your circle. One resource that I use is the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer (http://goo.gl/QGCgZF)

How can you use Google+ to drive traffic to your affiliate products? Although still fairly new Google+ is proving to be an awesome force in the world of social media marketing. Google+ has a feature called Communities which are groups dedicated to like-minded individuals who communicate about various topics. You can even start a new community on a topic if you can’t find one on the topics you’re looking for. Communities can be a blogger’s goldmine because you are able to speak directly to people who you already know have an interest in your product. Using the tips I mentioned earlier in this post you can utilize your community to drive direct traffic to your affiliate products. Organize a community hangout to introduce your product and to get an idea of what need your product fills. With growth expected to exceed Facebook in the coming year through 2016 you’re strategy is sure to gain your products exposure by utilizing these affiliate marketing tips.

GOOGLE+


LINKEDIN

Viveka Von Rosen

linkedintobusiness.com @LinkedInExpert

14

Tips to Rock Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn A personal brand is how you appear to the world. According to Wikipedia, personal branding is “the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual.” If you want to control how you’re seen by the world, then you really need to stand out from everybody else out there.

1

2

Get Focused Can you help anyone with a face? Anyone online? Then you won’t help anyone at all! It would seem that the more people you could help with your business, the more successful you would be. But this is not the case. The more focused you can be on who you are, what you do, and who you serve, the better!

Your Elevator Speech So who are you? Can you answer that question in a sentence or less? What’s your elevator speech? Specifically who are you? What makes you different from the other person who does what you do, where you do it, and with the same clients? Knowing that is the first key to successful branding.

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Whom Do You Serve? Another important question is “Whom do you serve?” Being very clear on whom you serve will help you to create the look and feel of your personal brand. If your client base is 50-ish professional men, then a light pink and frilly logo with lots of touchy feely language might not be the way to go.

4 Get Ahead by Getting a “Header”!

LinkedIn now allows you to upload a background image on your personal profile. This is one of the easiest ways to emphasize your personal brand on LinkedIn. Use a background image or a neutral color on the whole header (1400 x 425 px). Backgrounds made of a single color or pictures that support your personal image are the best.

5 Upload Your Picture

Upload your image. Really. And make sure it resembles you in this century. Don’t use a logo- that goes against LinkedIn’s user agreement. When uploading your image, make sure it looks enough like you so that when you go to a conference or a trade show you won’t get blank stares due to a complete lack of recognition. Make sure it’s appropriate and professional.


Stay tuned for my new book 101 Ways to Rock Your Personal Brand with LinkedIn to be released this June!

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Use Publisher to Establish Your Expertise Use LinkedIn Publisher. Why? More visibility! My website – which gets about 100K views a month in general – only gets 2-5 comments on a post. Any post I share on LinkedIn gets a minimum of 10 and sometimes hundreds of comments. Why does this matter? Because comments mean engagement. Engagement is trust-building. Trust-building means more business.

6 Upload Media You can also upload all sorts of media now! You can upload video and Powerpoint and Word docs and PDFs and gifs (oh my!) If you have media that helps to support your personal brand, then make sure to get it on LinkedIn.

7 Naming Yourself A rose by any other name … is something else. Please take a minute to make sure you have your name (not your Company name) in the name field on LinkedIn. Make sure you spell it correctly. Unless you are ee cummings, please take a minute and capitalize your name! Also, add your name and ONLY your name on LinkedIn. You might see some folks have their area of expertise, in the last name field (Viveka von Rosen: LinkedIn Expert). That goes against LinkedIn’s User agreement.

2,000 characters to describe in detail who you are, what you do, and whom you serve. I know this article is about YOUR personal brand, but to really be successful it needs to be all about your audience!

10

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8 Your Professional Headline

Nothing says Personal Brand like “Title at Company.” Just kidding. You should really take a minute or two to think about how to customize your Professional Headline (that section right under your name) on LinkedIn. You have 120 characters to describe who you are, what you do, and whom you serve.

9 The Crucial Summary Section Another forgotten but crucial section on LinkedIn is your Summary Section (sometimes known as a Background Section). You have

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Add Your Skills List them. Yes, you will get endorsed for skills you don’t have by people you don’t know – but it’s still good to list your skills! If you have your skills listed, the ones you chose, LinkedIn will suggest to others that they endorse you. And the more endorsements you have, the more findable you are on LinkedIn.

Prove Your Brand

14

Post Updates

It’s all well and good to tell people how awesome you and your brand are, but it’s even better when others talk about how great you are! Encourage positive brand sentiment with skills endorsements, posting testimonials as media (PDF and/or video), and asking for recommendations!

Sharing even one update a day will increase the visibility of your profile. And since your profile is your brand, increased visibility will increase your prospects’ sense of knowing and liking you, which should increase business! If you’re reading a blog you think your tribe will like, then just share it on LinkedIn.

Add Your Publications

Wrapping Up

If you write a blog or a newsletter or have an eBook, consider adding them to the Publications feature. While you probably don’t want to list every blog post you ever created, I do recommend you choose a few that really support your personal brand. (The Publications feature is different from LinkedIn Publisher – which you should also use … see number 13!)

LinkedIn might be one of the best and easiest ways to establish your personal brand and grow your visibility online. Because of LinkedIn’s and Google’s relationship, it’s more likely that your LinkedIn profile will show up than your blog or website when someone is Googling you. So make sure that what they see is the very best version of you and your Personal Brand! By following the tips above, you’ll create a better presence and a better brand online. And that means more business for you!

LINKEDIN


crafting

Drab to Fab

Jamie Dorobek

www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com @thecraftblog

Looking for a quick spunky upgrade for a pair of plain kicks? I’ve got just the thing for you! You’ll need a pair of solid colored sneaks and a few paint pens. You will also need a little patience and perhaps a plain white piece of paper and map pencils to do a little pre-doodling. This is one of those crafts that you really can’t mess up. Promise! Worse case scenario, you can’t stand your final design, just paint the tips of your shoes gold! Gold makes everything better. So if you’re nervous about taking a paint pen to your shiny new sneakers start by creating a guide or map to use on your real deal final product. To do this, start by tracing the toe of your shoes on a piece of plain white paper. Use map pencils to lay out the colors and designs you’d like to have on your shoe. I always start with different stripes of color. On one of my shoes, you can see that I started with a white on the tip, and then added a blue, orange, green, and another stripe of blue. I varied the thickness of my stripes for fun. Play around with these types of decisions to see what you like best. After your stripes of color are added, go back with a black pen and add thinner lines, dots, arrows, triangles, or circles to each stripe of color. 50

iBlog magazine MAY 2016

Once you have completed your paper shoe prototype, it’s time to get out the paint pens and start creating your own personalized masterpiece. I used a pair of plain denim slip-ons I found at a second hand store for $10. You can make both shoes exactly the same or you can switch it up and do different designs on each, like I did. Now, use the paper design you created as a map to personalize your shoes. My one big tip for using paint pens is that the color gets darker and darker the more you go over it. So, don’t be scared to for example, make a white stripe, let it dry for a few minutes and then go back over the white stripe to darken it up. You might find that you need to go over one stripe of color multiple times to get solid coverage. I find it useful to work on both shoes at the same time. That way you can let the stripes dry in between and not have to stop working. Be sure that all of the stripes are 100% dry before you go back and add designs with a black paint pen. Be prepared to want to paint pen everything you own. It’s kind of addicting and just think of the possibilities with paint pens… canvas bags, picture frames, or heck, even your walls!

CRAFTING


As the warmer weather approaches, it’s time to fire up the grill! Try this delicious grilled coconut honey lime shrimp for a quick weeknight dinner or for some easy entertaining. Finish off the meal with refreshing Key Lime Pie and you’re ready for the season!

Key Lime Trifle

Grilled Coconut Honey Lime Shrimp

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

1 16 oz frozen Sarah Lee pound cake 3 limes 1 cup milk 8 oz sour cream 16 oz Cool Whip 2 boxes powdered lime JELL-O (3 oz each)

1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined ¼ olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS 1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together your milk and sour cream. 2. Add to that mixture your two boxes of powdered lime JELL-O and whisk to combine. 3. Fold 8 oz of Cool Whip into your lime mixture reserving the other 8 oz for trifle assembly. 4. Put the lime mixture into the fridge to set. 5. Take your frozen pound cake and with a serrated knife cut off all of the dark edges. 6. Cut your frozen pound cake into 1-inch cubes. It’s easier to cut the pound cake when it is still frozen. 7. Slice two of your fresh limes for garnish.

ASSEMBLY 1. This dessert is all about presentation so you want all of the layers to be even and visible. When you are adding each layer be sure to start by placing them around the edges of your trifle bowl first and then work your way into the middle. 2. Place 1/3 of the pound cake into the bottom of your trifle bowl. Push the pieces out to the sides. 3. Next add 1/2 of your lime mixture. 4. Add another 1/3 of your pound cake pieces. 5. Top that with 4 oz of Cool Whip. 6. Add the remaining pound cake pieces. 7. Add the remaining half of your lime mixture. 8. Fill a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with one end cut off) with the remaining 4 oz of Cool Whip and decorate the outside edge of the top of your trifle. 9. Garnish with sliced fresh limes and the zest of the third lime.

Marinade ⅓ cup of honey ¼ cup fresh lime juice (can use bottled) 1 Tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon sriracha red chili sauce ¼ coconut cream for a can of coconut milk (refrigerate and skim cream off top)

DIRECTIONS 1. Place all marinade ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Pour ingredients in a large zipper freezer bag and add shrimp. 2. Place in refrigerator for 1 - 6 hours to marinate. 3. Discard marinade when you are ready to grill. Thread shrimp on wooden (soak first) or metal skewers. 4. Great grill racks and heat to medium. Grill shrimp for 3 -5 minutes on each side. Shrimp should be pin and firm. Be careful and don’t overcook.

Kristi Corrigan theclassychapter.com @KristiLCorrigan

Kristi Corrigan is a Northern California Blogger living in the Sacramaneto/ Auburn area. She is an experienced blogging and social media professional with three kids (soon to be four). In her free time she enjoys the gorgeous scenery and wildlife right outside her door.

RECIPES


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.

iBlog magazine May 2016  

iBlog magazine May 2016 takes a look at how Influencers utilize affiliate marketing to generate income and a few of the most unique influenc...

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