Here’s the mid-contest update for the 2010 Utah’s Top Blogger competition. First of all, we’re off to a great start with twice as many votes as last year’s entire contest. We’ve also got a bunch of great write in nominees. Here’s who has made the ballot thanks to your suggestions:
- Courtney Kendrick – c jane enjoy it
- Eric Ethington – Pride in Utah
- Joshua Steimle – Don Loper
- J.M. Bell – J.M. Bell
- Chad Waite – Daily Derbi
- Connor Boyack – Connor’s Connundrums
- Bob Aagard – The World, According to Me
- BenJoe Markland – From Where I Sit
- Erin Stewart – Just 4 Mom
In addition to the previous nominees, this will be the final list of bloggers on the ballot. If you like a blogger and don’t see them on this list…it’s certainly not exhaustive…feel free to write them in. Those votes will be counted.
The competition will be extended until November 7th. At that point, winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded. I’m still trying to find someone who will host a small awards lunch. (Hint, hint)
Here are the top five results so far:
1. Holly Richardson – 59%
2. Nicole Warburton – 13%
3. Jesse Stay – 3%
3 (t). Chad Waite – 3%
5. Phil Windley – 2%
5.(t) Misty Fowler – 2%
It’s still anybody’s contest, so share the poll on Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else you can and get voting for your favorite Utah blogger!
Yes, this is a popularity contest, but I want to try and keep it fair. So, while you’ll have your favorite, please make your vote based on these conditions:
How often does your favorite blogger update?
How good are their posts?
How well does this blogger develop a sense of community?
Once you’ve answered those questions, please vote for one of the following top blogger nominees. If someone you think deserves to be on this list, please enter their name on the poll.
Who are the nominees?
In no particular order, the nominees are:
- Paul Allen – Paul Allen
- Thom Allen – Thom Allen
- Michael Eagar – Michael Eagar
- Jesse Stay – Stay N’ Alive
- Phil Windley – Technometria
- Cary Snowden – Utah Valley Business Blog
Mainstream Media Blogs
Deseret News Blogs
Ogden Standard Examiner
Salt Lake Tribune
In a league of their own (good)
- Heather Armstrong – Dooce
In a league of their own (bad)
- Dell Schanze – SuperDell
- Greg Tracy – BlueRoof
It’s been a while since I’ve “updated” this blog with a real article. It’s not from a lack of trying. I have two drafts sitting in queue that I never published and in the light of day, don’t know if they’re worth publishing.
Part of the reason is I’ve had to make a few reassessments on strategy and because there is so much reliance on third parties (Facebook) that seem to be reversing course as quickly as a feather in a hurricane, it’s actually been worthwhile to step back and watch.
This is not to say I haven’t been active or working. Nor is the blog stagnant. Anyone who follows the Twitter feed that posts on the right side knows it keeps moving. So do the images. In real life, I’ve been speaking regularly on Fridays and had two big events I presented at in May.
Heresy! I know.
Here’s what’s changed.
1. Facebook “like” becoming ubiquitous. This is a game changing development. While it has created a privacy backlash, what it does is allow easy sharing of things like-minded (friends) people, well…like. I compare it to watching Superbowl commercials during the big game. Everybody looks forward to it. If you were only shown commercials that interested you, wouldn’t you watch more of them? That’s the like button. It’s word of mouth on steroids and I recommend everybody install the button on their website.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends, so instead of speaking to one person with your message on a website, email or blog, you can speak to more by using Facebook. On average, I see somewhere between 120 to 160 people on this blog. If I published on Facebook, with the number of “fans” I currently have, I have a reach of 13,000. It’s a multiplier effect.
Besides, pulling in the RSS feed of this blog to my Facebook page, each article is pulled into the “notes” feed which creates a separate, search engine optimized page, plus the multiplier effect. I’ll let you know how this goes, but I suspect it will go quite well.
2. Curating information is almost as important as creating information. One of the really great things I got to do last week was meet in real life one of my online mentors Pat Kitano. We both spoke at REbar Camp SLC and wound up sharing the stage all afternoon.
Pat has a great project he’s working on regarding local, breaking news. He creates blogs that are essentially completely automated that develop an audience and search engine rankings in a very short time. The site owner doesn’t have to do anything to keep it running and Pat has some great ideas on how to monetize them. Meanwhile, the site owner, typically a real estate agent, gains great credibility because the sites are so informative and relevant on a local level.
A few months ago, Pat made a prescient observation about Facebook fan pages. I’ve been playing around with FBML and really took his post to heart. He said that within a year, stores would be putting their weekly circulars on Facebook. That prediction inspired this page which I created using existing graphics or RSS feeds. With the graphics, I have to manually update, which I’ve stopped doing. I’ll soon dump those vendors or convince them to convert to RSS. For Smith’s and Fresh Market, the feeds update automatically. With Smith’s, the feed even sends an update automatically to Facebook when it updates. I don’t have to do a thing. I’m supplying great information that every local person should be interested in. We all have to eat, don’t we?
3. Automating social media in a meaningful way is actually possible. At the same time Pat was presenting his breaking news idea, I was actually testing another idea that utilizes Google alerts. By tying keyword sensitive alerts to my Twitter account, over the last 12 days, I’ve been able to automate my Twitter updates with useful information and gain new followers, i.e. build my audience.
I can actually create a second Twitter account that will update to a Facebook page with a lower frequency to match that platform. The end result is I have an automatically updated social platform that people like and value. I actually get more followers and retweets from this method than painstakingly creating and promoting my own content. Of course I mix in my foursquare updates and personal content to create my own personal and authentic “voice.”
In the mean time, I’ve been anxiously waiting, but I still get to “update” this blog through Twitter and I update my fan page on a daily basis too. You don’t have to “be everywhere,” but you need to be where the people are.
I love writing original content, but in a regular week when I’m finding content, posting it and creating in person live content, the ability to automate part of it is extremely valuable. The fact that it’s shared and increases my audience is further proof of its’ worth.
Speaking of automation, Pat shared a semi-automated way to blog that I’m going to try out. Until then, it will be slow, but steady….
10. Mobile media – The introduction of the Android operating system is going to create new demand for smart phones from the world’s largest manufacturers. Gartner research predicts Android will be the number two operating system in the world by 2012. That’s a lot of new phone hardware and a lot of people who will use the mobile web that haven’t in the past. When Motorola’s Droid phone went on sale last month, it sold 250,000 units in the first week. Most of those buyers were not iPhone deserters. Ignore the mobile web at your peril.
9. Bing becomes the number two search engine – Since Microsoft’s purchase of Yahoo! earlier this year, the perennial number two search engine has continued to lose market share to Google and now Bing. I can’t help but think it’s because of the heavy TV advertising that was done. Instead of building a stronger brand to challenge Google, Microsoft has simply cannibalized its most recent acquisition. Expect to see more of that and make the effort to be found on Bing. New Internet users and those easily persuaded by TV commercials are there.
8. Businesses are going to make concerted efforts in social media – I’m seeing more and more companies creating business pages on Facebook. I fanned a page for Grey Goose vodka the other day because they were running ads there. They’ve got nearly 100,000 fans and a vibrant community on Facebook sharing and discussing drink recipes. That’s the way to do it. Pepsi is withdrawing all its Superbowl advertising in favor of a social media campaign with a charitable partner. That’s 23 years of Superbowl commercials and millions of dollars being shifted online. Pay attention. There’s a reason.
7. Non-commercial applications and uses will drive online commerce – Besides Pepsi’s alignment with the non-profit arena, government’s are using technology more to create engaged citizens. CNN tells how mobile apps allow users to point out potholes and graffiti in larger cities.
If the inconvenience had happened a few years ago, Newmark said he would have just gone on with his day — maybe complaining about the temperature to a friend.
But this was 2009, the age of mobile technology, so Newmark pulled out his iPhone, snapped a photo of the train car and, using an app called “SeeClickFix,” zapped an on-the-go complaint, complete with GPS coordinates, straight to City Hall.
If government can engage citizens, businesses will have to as well.
6. Relationships will mean more, social media will be the gateway – Over the past decade, two events have changed our country. The first was 9/11. It made us fearful, but also cognizant that anything can happen, any day. When I first read about those towers coming down on the Internet, I couldn’t believe it. I had to turn on my TV for proof. It was that inconceivable. The attitude that developed post 9/11 was one of staying home, remodeling and not travelling. Many people made a lot of money staying home and remodeling their homes and the Gulf War brought the country out of recession. Now we’re in a bigger recession, our homes have lost all their pumped up value and we’re realizing its people, not posessions that are important. Social media is making it easier and easier to connect with people.
5. A company will implode due to social media – I have no insider information, just a feeling that some big company out there is going to take on a social media campaign and screw it up so badly it either damages the company for years or takes it down completely. We’ve seen hints of this in the past with AOL and Best Buy, but this is going to be a very special mistake. Here’s why it’s going to happen – most of corporate America doesn’t understand the Internet. Here’s how – people online act like they’re yelling at their TV’s at home. Social media is like turning up the volume on that TV, but with it becoming two sided. It’s if Elvis was shooting the TV and the person on the other side had some danger of being hit. They do and I believe it will happen in 2010.
Corporate America thinks they can still lie and misrepresent and set up patsies in this age of transparency. They can’t any more, but it will take a gigantic implosion before the rest of them catch on. Social media will be that catalyst.
4. Blogging is going to make a comeback – Over the past year, blogs have seemed to become passé. Twitter (microblogging) and Facebook have become the brand names of social media. Meanwhile the old standbys; forums and blogs keep chugging along. The reason I think blogs are going to come back stronger is the emergence of Posterous as another platform. It doesn’t replace existing platforms, even though it can. It complements them and makes it even easier for bloggers to blog…by simply sending an email. Posterous showed its getting serious when it recently added multi-author capability, a feature that prevented business adoption of the technology. I think we’re going to see a new form of blogging I’m dubbing “mini-blogging” that will be longer than Twitter, but shorter than a blog like mine. Posterous is going to help make that happen.
3. Twitter gives control back to consumers – I think quite possibly the most annoying thing about the Internet is spam. I get an email from the Chicago Cubs a few times a week in an email I don’t use very often. I probably got on their list when I created a March madness bracket five years ago, but I can’t seem to be removed. It’s an indignity I’ve learned to ignore…and delete every time I get an email from them. On the other hand, if all they had was my Twitter address, I retain control since I can unfollow them any time I want. This is the direction smart marketers are heading. If you’re starting a new site, use Twitter to build your list because it will build trust and a loyal following.
2. Advertisers will ask for less, but know more – Along the same vein, smart marketers are asking for less information on contact and landing pages. When I first read this article suggesting not to ask for a full name, I was a little flabbergasted. Any email marketer knows personalized emails with the prospect’s name in the subject line have a higher open rate. Mark was right, you’ll get the rest of their information…when they buy. Then you can personalize to your heart’s content. In the meantime people who Twitter would rather give up that information, even though it can supply much more than an email, because they know they can unfollow at any time. Are you using Twitter and Facebook on your landing pages and contact forms? You should.
1. Coupon sites will rule the year – It seems technology and the economy have combined to create an amazing opportunity for consumers through the old standby – coupons. Who doesn’t like to save money? In some of the email newsletters I still subscribe to, I’ve seen the word coupon pop up more and more frequently and I believe 2010 will produce an amazing winner in that vertical space. There’s no doubt demand exists. “Printable coupons” gets searched over 100,000 times per month according to WordTracker and SmallBusinessNewz wrote,
Of course big-name brands were often accompanying the keywords, but the fact that people are looking for printable coupons should tip you off that it is a good idea to offer them if you run a brick and mortar store. I guarantee that not everyone who is searching for coupons is associating them with a specific brand.
Online coupon businesses are doing very well. Groupon.com has experienced explosive growth this year and just received a 30 million dollar capital injection that could make it the break out coupon site of 2010. Whether or not it’s Groupon, I do think at the end of next year, coupon sites are going to be very top of mind.
There are my ten fearless predictions for 2010. Any thoughts…agreements…disagreements? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Business is really taking off, so I won’t be able to blog as much as I’ve been doing. I’ve noticed a few articles were lacking the quality and analysis I prefer.
This doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging any more, I just won’t be blogging as frequently. Instead of producing at least one good article a day, I’m going to have to scale that back to three to five per week.
Besides this blog, I finally published my SEO website. I’ve been thinking about that for a while and finally got through with version 1.0. Let me know what you think. I do believe I’m going to create a “blog” page on it that will have the RSS feed from this site automatically import.
I’m going to change this site up a little now that I have a company website, so it will be a bit more interactive.
I did a video interview with Spencer Shaw this past week and he’s uploaded it to Viddler. Let me know what you think of my SEO tips and tricks. The video is twenty minutes long.
A lot of meetings are planned this week to get in front of people, both potential customers and referral sources. That’s another challenge I have with blogging. Analog marketing is taking more time and I need to stay balanced so I can perform fabulous follow up. I also need time to work on client projects as well.
If you’re interested in seeing me in person, I’ll be teaching a class this Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at Murray City library on blogging for traffic. Please RSVP on Meetup.com so the organizer knows if there will be extra attendees.
Blogging is great and I love doing it, but other opportunities and obligations are restricting my time. This is definitely a good thing. Plan on three to five new articles each week and don’t forget there are nearly 100 old articles on this site right now for your enjoyment.
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