Blissdom ’11: Top 10 Things I Learned

by Beth Montgomery on February 1, 2011 · 3 comments

in Announcements

This post is part of Oh Amanda’s Top 10 Tuesday.   Link up your top ten on her site!

10. Blogging is (still) a community.

Coming from the highly competitive world of pharmaceutical market research, it still shocks me to know that bloggers like Alli and Briana are not my competitors.   Yes, they blog about deals, but when it comes to blogging, the more friendly you are, the better you’ll do.

As always, my advice is link liberally to other blogs, don’t steal articles or photos of any sort, credit information, ask questions, and simply play nice.   The benefits will astound you.

9. Give the PR a break!   We’re guilty too.

As bloggers pouring our hearts and souls into our writing, nothing annoys us more than when someone sends us a   “Webmaster” or “Web Blogger” e-mail pitches that read like you should be honored to advertise their product for them or provide content for their website.   It seems like they can’t even take two seconds to click on the “About” page to find out my name is Beth, not “Admin”.

I found out that while our inboxes may be full of these e-mails, companies are also getting them from bloggers!   In fact, one speaker mentioned that she had 10,000 in her inbox at that very moment.   I think I’d die instantly of shock and dread if I had 10,000 pitches in my inbox!

Seriously people!   It looks like we need a healthy dose of common sense and courtesy on both sides.   Instead of wasting time sending hundreds of generic pitches to bloggers or companies, use that time to write five valuable, personal pitches to companies that mean something to you and your blog.   Your pitch is not about honoring anyone with you, your business, or your service.   It’s about building a partnership, so start by knowing their name, knowing   their product, having an idea in mind, and showing why you’d be a great together.

8. Do I need bloggers’ insurance?

When you think about it, needing additional insurance for a business seems obvious, but when it’s a blog, suddenly our thinking changes.   A blog is a hobby, not a job, right?   Well, if you make $0.01 from your blog, including gifts, you’re a business.

I need to do some research on this, but it looks like extra insurance might not be the worst idea.   Bloggers can easily get sued and liability insurance might be a good investment for protecting you, your family, and your business.   First though, ask your renters or homeowners insurance provider, since some may cover blogging that you do from home.

7. Guest posts belong to you… and so do the repercussions!

Right now, guest posting is the newest form of advertising…. free advertising.   Honestly, it is usually the best place to focus my advertising, since I get the best results.   For bloggers, it’s a wonderful way to share your knowledge and gain more readers, but companies are hiring people to guest post on as many sites as possible simply to get links and increase their Google Page Rank.

Did you realize, that legally, you’re responsible for the content in guest posts on your site?   So, if they are making any claims like “Herbal remedies can cure cancer”, the legal ramifications of that statement fall on you.   It really makes you think hard about who is guest posting on your site.   I think I’m going to stick with fellow bloggers and partners.

It’s also good to keep in mind when submitting a guest post to another site.

6. Scott Stratten is one smart guy… and absolutely hysterical!

Scott Stratten, who blogs at UnMarketing, talks about all those things we as consumers know aren’t very smart on the part of the company.   I really hope more companies start listening to him, since he presents comon mistakes in a way that makes them appear as ridiculous as they really are and makes you laugh so hard you pee your pants (it’s a valid concern after 3 kids).

Need a laugh?   Check out An Idiot Calling the Kettle Black, Your Captcha is Craptcha, and Why Pop-Ups Hurt Your Blog And Relationships. And,while you’re there, you can gain some knowledge from Social Media Importance Explained.

Then, seriously… all of you who keep sending me invites to your Facebook events in other states, watch Don’t Be That Guy on Facebook.

5. Legally, better safe, than sorry!

Sarah made me really think about site policies and having all your bases covered legally for your business and your blog.   That means the “This post may contain an affiliate link” will so be back.   As I’m affiliated with so many coupon sites, most posts contain an affiliate link, so I’ll be adding it to all posts.   It’s not pretty, but better safe than sorry!

If you blog, look into forming an LLC, getting an EIN instead of using your social security number, and make sure you have policies on your site to protect you!   Plus, start thinking about taxes.   Even those wonderful freebies and gift cards you get for reviews count as income, so you have to report them!   Remember, each blog is different and has different needs, so do your research.

4. Where did your photos and images come from?

Most of us understand that copying text, articles, and words from another website without permission is copyright infringement.   I know a lot about copyright, so I’m careful.   Even when it comes to the photos I use, or so I thought.

I always get photos from royalty-free photo sites where photos are available for use without a fee, credit photographers, ask permission, use fair use photos, or take my own.   But, apparently there’s more to it than that.   Ever see this line – “Not for commercial use”.   I never thought about it, but In Good Cents is commercial.   Now I have to pay a bit more attention.

Some good sites to get FREE photos for commercial use is Stock.Xchng or Free Digital Photos.   But, I do need to credit more often, since even the royalty-free photos require photographer credit.   This, I didn’t realize.

3. I need a new camera lens.

My favorite session at Blissdom was the Photography Workshop.   I think I learned more in that workshop from Casey & Deanna than in all the other sessions put together.   That may have been because I had further to go though…

Since the workshop, I have actually switched my camera out of manual mode, but one thing they stressed was don’t jump right into manual.   Try Aperture Priority first (that’s the “A” setting).   And, I need a 50 mm lens.   The experts agreed that it’s the most affordable and versitle lens, so it’s a wise investment.   I just want to be able to blur the background of images, which my current lenses can’t manage.

2. The key to Twitter is conversation.

Last year at Blissdom, I learned that Twitter is the answer to every question you’ve ever asked, but it still didn’t make sense to me.   I felt like I was standing in a room full of millions of people who are all talking at once and no one could hear me.   I do it, but I struggle.

This year, however, Scott Stratten finally said it in a way that makes complete sense!   It’s talking and talking is something I can do (and do well… and a bit too much).   But, make it more about everyone else.   Instead of sending thoughts out to the masses, I’ve been answering others.

And they talk back…

And, it’s actually fun.

1. Sean is a guy.

Despite the beautiful female toting shopping bags that was part of Free Snatcher‘s old site design, I just found out that that Sean isn’t just a fun name for a girl.   Sean is a boy.

In the frugal blogger world, guys are a rarity, though there are a few out there. For some reason though, I have been assuming for a long while now that Sean was a girl!   There were signs, of course… but, I overlooked them.

I guess, I’ll be adding Sean to my list of super cool frugal guy bloggers, especially since he stopped by a few times to say thanks for linking to Free Snatcher.   That’s something I always appreciate and remember, even though it’s not necessary (If you’re confused on why this is always a smart move, read #10 again).

My trip to Blissdom was sponsored by Cheep! Please check out their website and toolbar to quickly compare prices across the web to make sure you’re getting the best online deal.   And, check out my disclosure policy for more information.

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