Category Archives: BlogHaus

It’s snow fun at Keystone

Turns out that most of what we’re doing here is meeting with PR, marketing, and other executives from Colorado Ski Country. DL Byron has the details. It’s pretty smart. They get a few bloggers to come up and give them consulting, maybe get a link or two, in return for some free snowmobiling and skiing. Considering that some of my friends are getting paid $4,000 a day for doing consulting like this it’s a fair trade. But, how many people talk about how they are being compensated on their blogs? I’m taking vacation days from Microsoft to be here, by the way.

Yesterday we spent quite a bit of time with Kate Osborne of Keystone (here’s a photo I shot of her). She runs PR. Deals with press from all over the world. Says she’s treating the bloggers the same way she’d treat the New York Times. With one exception: the New York Times pays for everything she sets up. She says that most of the professional press insists on paying their own way. To me, this is a HUGE difference between the bloggers and the professionals. She says, though, that many pros get around the rules of the newspaper brands by going independent. If you’re an independent journalist turns out the rules are more relaxed.

Anyway, the resort here is massive. I also find myself wishing Kate had a blog. She knows EVERYTHING about the market. She is an instant authority. How do I know that? She can tell you what each of her competitors do right too. What are Keystone’s advantages? She shows why they get more families here: more diversity of things to do. They are working on making their snowboarding features better. That’s where the growth in the winter sports industry is right now.

Some other things I’ve learned? Colorado is in the midst of the best winter in decades. Almost 300 inches have fallen.

Best promotion that Keystone has done? It opened its season with its second annual “36 hours at Keystone” event. Last year 20,000 people came. This year? 40,000. Why? Cause you can ski for 36 hours for $36 and you get lodging for $36 too.

It’s interesting, though, just how business-savvy the folks are here. Make no mistake: this is a huge business employing tons of people. And, like at most businesses I’ve talked with lately there’s a lot of fear of change. They are very worried about how their brand is being perceived on the outside world. No different than the 180+ businesses we talked with about blogging for our book.

We’ll see if we can get the execs here over their fears and show them some of the relationship building advantages (and morale building advantages!) of letting their employees have conversations with their customers on the Internet.

Along these lines: congrats to Steve Rubel for joining PR maven Richard Edelman (they are working to get more companies blogging too).

Update: here’s Maryam and me snowmobiling yesterday.

Tips for joining the A list

I keep getting asked “how do I get more traffic?” Or, “how do I get TechCrunch to notice my blog?”

Quick: go to Technorati and do the brrreeeport search. Now, which headline and opening text grabs you? Makes you wanna click? Hint: we’re all being slammed with hundreds of sites every day. The more interesting you can make your headline, the better. Think about what your headline will look like in the search engines and use every one as an opportunity to grab a little bit of traffic.

Now, look at the 98 brrreeeport results on Technorati. All are on the same topic, right? But some headlines stand out from the noise. Which ones grab your eye? The one that says simply “brrreeeport report?” Or the one that says “brrreeeport beats Mohammad cartoon?” Conflict is a story telling device. Use it in headlines!

Also, notice that Technorati has a way to “claim” a blog and if you do that you’ll get a little picture next to every one of your posts. Posts that have pictures win!

One other fun thing? Brrreeeport is a “top search” on the Technorati home page right now.

Need another tip on how to join the A list?

Here’s another one: be different. What do I mean by that?

Well, Dan Wieringa asked me for some help with his blog. It’s a decently written blog, but it isn’t getting much traffic.

First notice how his blog looks very similar to tons of other blogs? That’s hurting him.

One of TechCrunch’s popularity secrets is that he uses lots of graphics and screen shots. Makes his blog more pleasing to the eye. Sorta the way Technorati looks better than Google’s blog search.

Another thing? Dan’s title tag is boring. You need some personality! Look at Darren Barefoot’s title tag. Lots of personality and gives me some sense of who Darren is. Oh, and his blog’s design sticks out too. Different. Clean. Personal. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that smile? Yeah, WordPress.com makes it hard to change the template right now (Matt Mullenweg promises that’s changing soon, but in the meantime you can get ready by doing the other things — come up with a better title tag, write better headlines, work on finding interesting content that’ll help you stick out of the crowd on search engines and memetrackers.

Another way? Steph Booth taught me this one: tag often. Tag frequently. Tag better. In WordPress.com your categories are also tags. Don’t worry about using too many tags. The more tags you use, the more likely someone will find you in a search engine.

Another tip? Make friends with other bloggers. You know, if 15 z-listers link to you, are you a z-lister, or did you just move up to the m-list? Hint: it doesn’t take that many links to be seen as an “authority” on Technorati. Well, unless you’re Om Malik and then Technorati just thinks you don’t have any authority. Yikes. But, anyway, usually you will get noticed if a few blogs link to you and it’s not hard. Got a good post today? Why don’t you email a few people (one at a time, not in a group) and say “hey, I think you’d enjoy my post today on xxxxxx.” Don’t beg for a link, just show some passion about what you’ve written or posted.

Or, heck, do what I’m doing this week — just say screw it all and go skiing. See ya from the slopes tomorrow!

While I’m slushing at Keystone, Colorado as part of the Bloggy Mountain High trip (yes, my way was paid for, so this link is a sponsored link) why don’t you stick in your own URL and toot your own horn and join the A-List! Or, at minimum, post a good tip for getting noticed!