Last week I went to the Philadelpia Gift show looking for products to supplement my antiques and collectibles sites. Frankly, in this economy, books and colletibles and antiques are NOT anyone's highest priority. That's a shame but reality. The Gift Show management had several seminars set up for attendees which I took advantage of. And even though I've been "blogging" or trying to for the last year or more,, I learned a lot - Here is my synopsis -
1. remember that this was geared to B&M retail GIFT SHOPS (sort of.. more on this in a minute)
The seminar was given by Brian Linton - his credentials are here - http://www.brianlinton.com/
He's basically just like us... 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 hands, 2 eyes and a serial entrepreneur. He presented a lot of info in a very short time and at his website he has the slides available. Definitely take a look at the slides - VERY concise and informative.
So, here is what I learned -
1. USE the same format and layout (logos, artwork and color) on ALL your pages so your blog pages should match your website pages (and/or eBay pages).
2. Keep blog posts under 400 words - (short and sweet)
3. Give away "secrets" , tips, ideas etc. 10 at the most (at one time). People like "Top 5 Reasons to use Twitter" types of posts.
4. Link each post to some of your previous, RELEVANT posts. So I should be linking to ONLINESELLING
5. You can find free images from Flickr.com - search under "creative commons" - those images are free to use for headers, logos etc. IF you credit the originator. Make sure you give a link to the originator and mention them.
6. Find competing blogs and comment there - Competing blogs are good, because by commenting there, you'll draw their readers. Try to only comment on BIGGER ones.
7. contact the blogger (#6) about doing a guest post on your blog -
8. set up a "community" by doing that with more than one.
9. Integrate your blog into your website (he explained the mechanics of it and I do understand it but will explain it more AFTER I finish the Problogger book and putting MY blog on wordpress.
It involves making a sub-domain in your url for your blog..
8. Embed Videos from Youtube (same idea as #5) use the ones available under creative commons - give credit - make the video relevant to you topic - (and there are a lot to choose from)
9. Share Customer product reviews on your blog - this is a little hard on an antiques blog but my friend Kat could do it on her blog or her Facebook Fan Page because SHE sells shoes and skin therapy products.
10 - On your blog - ASK A QUESTION and allow comments so you build "community". - I think this takes time to build up but it does work.
11 Announce new product lines (this was geared toward B&M stores but remember that is US ... we're etail so it should work for us)
12. Write product reviews - if you try something - software, merchandise, service - write a review...(I'd say be careful of negative reviews so you don't get sued. You can say I didn't like it but I wouldn't say something like "the biggest piece of "s***" i ever bought"
13 - WORDPRESS can manage your entire site... (this goes with integrating your blog into your site.) use plugins (he had a list of them which I saved somewhere (Picture me, head down ina trunk, throwing stuff ALL over the place looking - LOL - that will be me later -) - I'll post them in a follow up
** just saying "good info" etc and no name and/or no link to YOUR blog or website is a waste of your time. You need to use a signature link inside the comment if you are allowed - similar to what I've done on Suzie's AskTheeBayQueen blog - SHE is more of an authority than I am so the link there has benefits because if someone clicks thru - it gives ME credibility with Google cause it comes from HER site not mine.
Brian has the slides from both his presentations up on slideshare and you can get the link from his website HE DID - and his slides from his facebook presentation which we didn't sit thru cause we was hungry.... so we went and ate... the soup was good (does that constitute a product review? Maybe)