Ask A Blogger: What Would You Do Differently?

Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for this weeks post!

I was out the other night and I was asked if I would teach a how to blog class. That is an interesting idea. I am actually a terrible blogger. I am however a great business woman. If I had it to do over again. This is what I would do. I would buy a domain. Then I would get a word press account. I would have my site built for around $150. Then I would go to work for a successful blogger. I would post once or twice a day on my site. I would spend time learning about the business. I would offer to intern for free or for a profit share and I would become more knowledgeable. I would write down what worked and what doesn’t. I would spend my time as a student.

I know that Madame Deals spent a lot of time not making a profit. I define not making a profit as the hours worked on the site do not equal minimum wage after expenses are paid. I define being successful as being able to earn more than what I made at the job I quit for the amount of time I spend working on my business. I believe if I spent 6 months learning the business that it would not have taken the time it took to turn a profit. I built my site in way that most bloggers have not. I built my site so that my side bars pay all of my expenses. I do not have to sell one item to make a profit. I just have to keep my fans coming to my site by providing great content and deals and awesome giveaways.

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Ask a Blogger: What is a Coupon Database

If you are a blogger in the money saving niche, you might want to consider adding a great feature to your website – a Coupon Database.

A Coupon Database is a listing of currently available coupons.  You have the ability to search for current coupons which is a great time saver for completing store matchups.  You will find coupons from the coupon inserts, online printable, magazines, stores and more all in one place!

The paid version of the Database allows you to add in your own affiliate links.  I believe this is the best way to go, so you get credit for any coupons prints.

Two popular Coupon Databases are:

  1. Search n’ Save from Deal Seeking Mom
  2. My Coupon Database

Amee and I currently use the Search n’ Save database.   I have the iframe version and Amee has the plug-in version.  Make sure to check out The Coupon Challenge Coupon Database while you’re here!

Do you use a Coupon Database?

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

 

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Ask a Blogger: Do Blog Hops Work?

 

Join Madame Deals in a Gadget Hop in January

The blogger hop – is it worth your money? How many should you do? Why are these sweeping the internet? The answer is they work. I say they work because I do them in fact I am co-hosting a gadget hop in Jan. I invite you to pay your $10 to [email protected] and sign up here Blogger Hop . Why? The reason is you increase your page views during hops. You increase the exposure your site has over the internet by having your site exposed to others. You are able to advertise your contest to several people at once.

If you want to make the most of a blog hop. You need to sign up quickly to insure your are near the top of the list. You need to get your friends on board if there is a referral prize. You then need to post the event button on your site so you can network with others. The button on your site says to potential advertisers I can expect that my ad will be seen by others. You also need to join these events to be invited to future events. I believe you have to spend money to make money. The $10 spent on the event should be paid off quickly with the exposure you will gain. I enjoy meeting other blog owners. You also get invited into special groups and learn new tricks of the trade. I hope that what I offer my readers will convert theirs to stick around, hang out, and buy.

If you are interested feel free to sign up any blog is welcome.. you just need a gadget prize.

 

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Ask a Blogger: Google Friend Connect Ending in March 2012

Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for sharing this weeks Ask a Blogger post. I have Google Friend Connect on my site, but I don’t focus on it much.  After moving over to WordPress and losing all my GFC followers, I lost interest.

I had a melt down this week over Google Connect friends will end in March.  I had over 3,000 readers. Oh my!  What should I do.

Since you can now have a business page on Google plus, I built one. I used this link to do so Google Business.  I then wanted to find out more, so I visited this forum to read up on the new pages at the Google Ad Forum. Then I went and created a short link to my page at Google’s Short link creator. I didn’t want to have all those numbers everywhere! I then added the button to my website to join my site. Please join I promise I will learn how to use it Google Plus Madame Deals.

The last step was adding the +1 to all my posts. I used this Google +1 Button. The final step will be making myself get off of Facebook and Twitter long enough to figure out how to get this all working . I figure after the holiday I will go online and learn how it works! I wanted to make sure I had a plan to replace GCF.

You can follow The Coupon Challenge on Google Plus here

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Ask a Blogger: How to Embed a Video in a Blog Post

This week’s Ask a Blogger will answer a question I received on the post How to Make a Screenshot and Screencast:

Question: Can you get your video to be embedded in your blog post? Or will it only allow it to be accessed by clicking the link & viewing it on youtube?

Answer: Yes, you can embed a video in a blog post.

  1. From your youtube account, look for the option to “share” your video
  2. Under the URL, Click “embed”
  3. Paste that code into your blog post (under the HTML tab)
  4. “Preview” then “Publish” your post from the HTML editor (going back to the visual editor may remove the iframe code for the video)

I typically add a link to the video on youtube in case the video doesn’t load for some readers.

Video not displaying?  Click here.

Have a question?  Just ask.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: Limit Time on Social Media – Set a Schedule

I enjoyed reading Amee’s Ask a Blogger post this week.  I too find social media to overtake my time.  It’s easy to get distracted by all the ways to chat and share with readers and friends.  Scheduling blocks of time is a great way to keep your time online in check.

I often wonder if social Media is killing my blog. I receive a decent amount of traffic each day from facebook and twitter. In fact I have almost 35k fans combined. The question I have is being active on this mediums is it “killing” my blog. The answer is yes and no. The amount of interest is great but I am having trouble keeping up.

The result is my content has become less personal. I spend so much time interacting with fans and other bloggers on social media that I barely write what I want. I thought I should create a graph to determine where I am spending the majority of time and the majority of my time is hanging out online. I decided I was going to limit my time on social media by giving myself hard stops. I am really social and I love talking to people but I have to get back to business.

Here is what I suggest. I suggest you look at the amount of time you have for the day to devote to your site. Then I would take 10% of that time to network with other bloggers and 10% of that time to chat with your fans. I would take 10% to research something that will help your business grow. That could be reading an article or watching a you tube video or even checking out the competition.

I would spend 10% of your time cleaning up your email box and following up with prospective clients and the final thing before you actually write is you need to evaluate your site does it look right. Do you need to make up dates or change out ads? Then you need to produce content for your site with the remaining 50% of your time. If you do not produce content you will not have a site nor will you have good SEO or a place for people to come. I know it is tempting to “hang” out on twitter and facebook but ask yourself is it paying your bills?

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: How to Take Screenshot & Make a Screencast

One of the handy tools in blogging to the ability to take a screenshot and a screencast.

A screenshot is capturing something shown on your computer screen to a static image file.  You are taking a snapshot (or picture) of your computer screen.

A Screencast is capturing a recording of your computer screen accompanied by audio.  The audio is a commentary of what is happening on the screen as it occurs.

Once you have taken a Screenshot of your computer screen, you can crop the image (if necessary) in a program such as Microsoft Office.

I personally use Jing.  It is a free service that allows the user to easily capture both screenshots and screencasts.  I have chosen to upgrade to JingPro for only $14.95 per year.  The upgrade has assisted with uploading my Jing Screencasts to the Coupon Challenge YouTube channel.

I also hear that Screencast-o-Matic is another good free service to use.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: How to Get a Sponsor For a Conference

 

Last week I posted about my personality and how to overcome shyness at a Blogging Conference.  This week Amee is continuing with another conference post and talking about How can you afford to go to a conference?  Conferences can get expensive!  This week she will focus on How to get a sponsor.

I actually budget for my conferences and I have set aside funds. I plan to pay my way unless I receive a sponsor. It is true in life that there isn’t going to be an advertiser that asks you to take their money so you can grow your business. That is why you need to ask people. I know gulp. How do you ask someone to sponsor you? The first thing you need to do is put on your big girl or boy panties and write a list of reasons why you are a good choice. I will provide you with a list of a couple things to begin with. The first is who you are. If you are going to represent the company they need to know about you. The second thing is what does your site have to offer. The third is what do you have to offer over the competition. The fourth thing is what are you going to provide them for their sponsorship.

There are serveral options: You can provide advertising on your site. You can provide advertising on your body using a tshirt with their logo. You can get business cards made with their logo and information. You can put together a tweet package or facebook package. You can offer to host events for them and do reviews.

Sponsors oh sponsors where are you? A sponsor can be anyone who writes you period. When I receive a request for me to post something I write back. The cost is or I will trade you x for z. I think you need to go through all the reviews you have done ever and start contacting people you have worked for in the past. I would come up with your media package and include several options. I mean every $25 or $50 helps . Once you have gathered the potential lucky sponsor then you need to get your list together of why you are the best choice. If you need help ask a friend. This list will help you play up the strengths of your site and your ability to turn your audience into their potential buyers.

Now you have to write your pitch letter. The pitch letter should get them interested. I never reveal my information up front. I always build a relationship prior to asking or demanding anything. Next you also have to come up with a media package. What are your plans and what are your prices? I would do your research. That means look at your competition. If you want to win you have to study your competitors. The prize is worth the time. Once you have pitched someone using Madame Deals letter as a guide. Then you need to turn their “maybe” into “here is a check”.  This is how you close the deal. The key to finding a sponsoring is having a plan, a media kit and enough chutzpah to ask anyone and everyone. You never know who will say yes unless you ask.

If you need hosting we both use Host Gator and Love them.

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Ask a Blogger: Tips for Shy Personalities at a Blogging Conference

I attended the Save Up ’11 Conference in NYC last week.  It was an amazing learning experience and gave me a chance to meet and learn from fellow Deal Pro’s.  While all that was fantastic, it’s difficult for me to interact with people I don’t know very well.  I’m shy, quiet, an introvert.

Not having an outgoing personality creates some difficulties at a blogging conference or anywhere that puts you in a group of people you don’t know very well.  While I still have a ways to go in overcoming my shy personality, I am working on it.  I wish I was more chatty or could strike up a witty conversation with a complete stranger.  However,  it is not me and I’m okay with that.

I continually strive to break out of my shell.  While I won’t ever be one to stand up in from of the group and sing karaoke, I’d like to speak up more at the lunch table.

Amee wrote previously about Tips for a First Blogging Conference.  But what do you do if your shy and worried you won’t get enough out of the trip?

While I’ve only attended 2 conferences, I have 3 tips that worked well for me (although people that don’t know me may have no idea that I was actually quite talkative):

1.  Room with someone you’re comfortable with.  If you will be sharing a room, make sure you are at least somewhat comfortable with your roommate.  It’s necessary to have a place to relax at night. If you are with a complete stranger or someone with a completely different schedule, I believe it will just add more stress to your trip.   It will also help to have someone you know to occasionally hang-out with throughout the conference.

2.  Sit with new people.  It is easier for us to sit with people we know or already have a relationship with.  If you force yourself to sit with people that you’re not familiar with, you may find that you have something in common with them.  I’m okay just listening to the conversation and taking it all in, but I do enjoy getting to chat with smaller groups of individuals.

3.  Attend a smaller conference.  When determining which conferences to attend, keep in mind the number of people in attendance.  A smaller conference such as Save Up ’11 and Savvy Blogging Summit fit my personality better than a huge conference such a BlogHer.  I am easily overwhelmed with 100 people, much less put me in a place with thousands of people.

I’m still working on overcoming my shyness.  Hopefully as time goes on, I will feel more comfortable and contribute more to the conversation.  Although once you know me, I don’t stop talking which may not be a good thing :)

How to you overcome shyness at public events?

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: Don’t be Scared to Cold Pitch

Thanks to Jenny with Freebie Spot for guest posting for this weeks Ask a Blogger. We’ve talked about writing pitch letters in a past article but this article gives you a new perspective on pitching companies.

I was really nervous about cold pitching. Extremely nervous. Mainly because I did not want to just pitch a random company about a random product. I figured they would just turn me down. Why would they want to promote a product that has been successful for years?

Then I read something somewhere about PRnewswire. I dug around the site (which is extremely confusing) and set myself up with daily emails for new and future products hitting the market. I also composed a standardized “pitch” template in my email client specifically for PRnewswire pitches which I can simply change the company name or product and adjust the email as needed.

I started pitching companies whose products were of interest to me. And the responses poured in. I have actually had to schedule giveaways now so I don’t have too many posted at one time (I am not a giveaway-only blog). I’ve received a lot of great products from cold pitching, especially a lot of food items, video games, and movies. As an example, I had a review and giveaway for a Playstation game which I received 1 copy to review and 5 copies to give away. That’s approximately $360 worth of products! And they pitched me in the same email for another product.

If a press release has a PR company listed at the bottom, send them a pitch. If it has the email of someone from the company at the bottom, use your best judgment (i.e. do you think they’ll respond?). All they can do is ignore your request or say no. But many say yes! PR companies have the highest “yes” rates for me.

So don’t be afraid. Write your pitch email. Include your page rank, page views, monthly uniques, use proper spelling and grammar, be professional, and specifically state that you are wanting to promote their product by hosting a review and giveaway on your blog (I suggest using that wording exactly). You don’t want to beat around the bush; just flat out say what you want in your pitch. Often times, you’ll get it.

I hope this has helped some of you. Maybe if you are nervous about cold pitching like I was, you’ll give it a shot. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose!

Do you have tips for pitching companies?  Let us know.

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