Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Guest Panel: A Blogger’s Perspective

June 25th, 2010

Today marks the first of the Guest Panel Series! To go along with this new website, I asked three bloggers three questions in regards to reading new blogs, what they like, and what they don’t like.

With no further ado, here is today’s panel:

Guest Panel - A Blogger's Perspective

Meet the Panel:

  • Jackie Banda loves all things social media and it is all part of the PR 2.0 world that she thrives off of. She earned her BS from Utah State in Public Relations and is currently working on her masters in tech & design at Utah State.
  • Bethany Rae Cramer is a recent May 2010 graduate from SUNY Geneseo with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her passion is marketing and she enjoys the fast paced world of events, promotion, and connecting with the media.
  • Michael Adams is a Marketing Consultant with special focus on the food industry. He rambles on at and currently runs Eddie’s Energy Bars and Green Mountain Mustard out of his home in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Let’s see what they have to say…

When you are looking at someone’s website or blog for the very first time, how much time, on average, do you spend looking around the site?

Jackie: When looking at a website/blog for the first time I usually spend between 2-4 minutes reviewing it or looking/reading the information that I came for.

Alarm ClockBethany: I tend to only browse through the first page. I’ll read the most recent post and check out the ones below. If these posts interest me, only then do I look further. If the most recent posts bore me, then I doubt any future articles will catch my attention.

Michael: I spend about 5-10 minutes, looking at how often they post and taking a look at the about page to see what the person has accomplished and their credibility on the topic.

What is the number one turn-off that makes you stop reading and go somewhere else?

Jackie: There are two major things that can turn me off when I first land on a new site. 1. I instantly feel like I am trying to be sold something (flashing boxes, pop-up ads, etc.) 2. Too many words! I don’t like arriving at a site and feeling like I have to read pages upon pages to get to the point.Sad Face

Bethany: Boring topics. I hate blogs that talk about things I have read months before on another. I understand content can be hard to come up with, but if you are going to discuss something you learned from another source, make it your own. Add a twist, share your experience, make your readers feel like they are reading something valuable and new.

Michael: Usability of the blog – I like reading posts with big sub headings and clearly delineated sections. If you write a post on “10 Crazy Things to do in Mexico”, then those ten things should be easily searchable throughout the post – we all know, we’re not going to read what’s below the bold heading. Bottom line: Make your blog readable.

Of the blogs you enjoy, please name one common factor and why it is so crucial to the blogs success.

Thumbs UpJackie: A common factor among sites I enjoy would have to be use of images, photos, lists or video. I enjoy having a variety of visual aspects in a site. A site that varies how it displays information is usually more interesting and entertaining for me to read, in my opinion.

Bethany: I enjoy humor. I read educational, industry and personal blogs, but they all have the common quality of personality and a splash of comedy. Even in professional posts a bit of sarcasm or a joke with jargon shows me that the writer has a true interest in their topic and their readers. You can’t joke about an industry unless you know what it is all about. Comedy is sure to engage readers and keep them coming back.

Michael: I think one common factor is the writer’s personality. When the voice shines through of a company founder or a tech blog, or even a blog that gets 10 views a day, if you can feel the person talk to you, the blog will eventually be successful. I try to let my personality shine through in all of my blog posts and I really think that’s why people enjoy reading blogs from people they know and trust.


What do you think? What are your blog turn-on’s and turn-off’s? Any questions for the panel?

I want to thank Jackie, Bethany, and Michael for joining us and contributing to the very first of the Guest series! Don’t forget, all three of you are one step closer to becoming the owner of your very own guest room here by becoming a Featured Guest.

Guest Websites:

Bryan Ricard Blogging, Guest Panel , , , ,

Inbound Marketing University – Assignment #8

June 16th, 2010

Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch and author of Lead Generation of the Complex Sale, taught the 8th class at Inbound Marketing University and he discussed how to best nurture your leads.

Assignment #8: Define your ideal customer profile (or a hypothetical one for a client) and explain how you would target that customer using lead nurturing.

This assignment is going to be based off of this blog. The “customers” are the readers, and the ultimate goal is to get them to subscribe to my blog.

Ideal Customer Profile:

  • New England, USA
  • 18-65 years old
  • Desire to network and connect
  • Strong ability to communicate one’s knowledge and expertise
  • Passion for anything and everything marketing
  • Some level of on-line presence
  • Open to new ideas and ventures

Target with Lead Nurturing

  • Explore the connections of my LinkedIn connections and start conversations via Twitter
  • Send thanks to all ReTweets of my blog or specific posts
  • Send a DM or e-mail to those who RT a post with a similar post I think they will also enjoy
  • Encourage questions and suggestions on every home and guest post
  • Offer a special resource only available to blog subscribers
  • Send a customized thank you e-mail upon subscription
  • Tweet out the names of new subscribers if they allow it
  • Send subscribers a form regarding what they are interested in, what they want to learn more about, what they like to read about, etc.
  • Repeat

Thanks for the class Professor Carroll! Just let me know what my homework grade is, be honest!
Halfway done with Inbound Marketing University classes!

Next class: Successful E-mail Marketing

Bryan Ricard Inbound Marketing University , , , , , ,

The Chris Brogan Effect

May 30th, 2010

As part of my experience at Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University, I have been putting forth the effort to complete the accompanying homework assignments for each respective teacher. They took the time to share their knowledge on a specific topic, so in return I take the time to put their teachings to work and then link them to it via Twitter.

On May 19th, I completed the 3rd class on Social Media and Building Community taught by Chris Brogan. I did the assigned homework and Tweeted him with the link:

8 minutes later:

My immediate thought was *OH CRAP!* Why “Oh Crap” and not “YES!! WOOHOO!!”? I’ll show you why:

Normally, this would make for a phenomenal morning. Surely, my blog was going to receive a lot of hits from Chris’ tweets. The problem is I wasn’t ready. Sure I have good content in my blog posts, but the current state of my blog is not close to where I want it to be, yet. As soon as I saw Chris’ reply I came here and was scrambling around making tiny changes everywhere in order to make myself more presentable. I even changed my theme for a few minutes, but changed it back to the current theme after realizing I didn’t like it. Mainly, my bio page was out of date. The information displayed on my About Bryan page was from well over a year ago when this started out as more of a personal outlet and not so much a professional, career-building tool. I changed and deleted various parts of that page in order to give a better representation of who I am, what I do, and what I want to do in the future. Here’s what Chris did to my views graph that day:

This brings me to my final two points:

  1. Always be prepared – I was caught a little off guard as I am still in the process of creating my ideal blog/website and by not being 100% ready I may have missed out on potential opportunities. I’ve always believed that good luck comes to those who are ready to embrace it. You may know someone who seems to always catch a break and get awesome opportunities personally or professionally – but chances are they made the necessary preparations to take advantage of such opportunities when they came along.
  2. The Power of Twitter is Undeniable – All I did was send my homework to my teacher and my blog views per day skyrocketed (1800% increase if I did the math right).  It didn’t stop there – one of Chris Brogan’s followers came to my blog, found my post that was directed to a potential internship opportunity and offered me an internship. Crazy right? You never know who’s going to find you! Prepare yourself, expand your network, then recognize and embrace all opportunities!

Thanks Chris!

I believe this would be inbound marketing FTW!

Have you been hit by the Chris Brogan effect? Or has something similar happened to you because of one thing a social media giant did or said? Care to share your story?

Bryan Ricard Blogging, Networking, Social Media , , ,

Inbound Marketing University – Assignment #1

May 18th, 2010

Along with the 16 on-line courses at Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University there are homework assignments for each one. I decided to try my best to do each and every one of them.

Assignment #1: Write a blog post about three best practices that you will adopt into your blogging strategy.

After listening to Ann Handley and Mack Collier discuss effective business blogging, I took away three key points that I wish to incorporate into my blog at some point:

  1. Header – It is clear that my blog template needs a face lift in order to have a more professional/business appeal. This includes a new header or banner that will display my name and/or logo very prominently.
  2. Sidebar – Along with the new layout, a sidebar for information may prove beneficial. Typically, all of the links (Archives/blogroll) at the bottom of my blog, are in the sidebar for other bloggers. This makes navigation more user-friendly, but I may like this clean, one column look better.
  3. Guest Bloggers – Ann and Mack discussed businesses who hire people to blog for them. This brought me to the idea of guest blogging. A lot of the popular, heavy-traffic blogs will invite guests to blog about a particular topic. It seems to me this wouldn’t be very effective until I have gained some sort of positive reputation. However, maybe some form of interview with a popular blogger can help boost my “ratings”.

I’m off to class #2 to learn a little more about Search Engine Optimization!

If you were the teacher, how would you grade my homework?

Bryan Ricard Blogging, Inbound Marketing University , , ,