Saturday, October 18, 2008

Freelance Bloggers Getting Paid

The brilliant Genia of SistersTalk has started FreelanceBlogger.net ~ and yes, she's included a category for adult or sex bloggers.

Also included in the community is advice on and other tips ~ including this list of social bookmarking sites, with opinion on their effectiveness for traffic and SEO.

The plan is to get all you bloggers who want to get paid over there, registered and posting your mini-resumes and then go after companies looking for bloggers. Genia is anticipating a 30 - 60 day time line to get the community active before she'll really begin courting the companies who will pay for bloggers, but there are already some Available Freelance Blogging Jobs listed.

The sooner you get registered, the sooner your potential for a paid blogging gig.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Adult Marketer, Can You Use Blog Talk Radio?

I was recently interviewed on XBN (NWS), a radio program run by SWOP East, which is powered by Blog Talk Radio. Not only was it fun, prompting me to schedule another interview (perhaps even host a show), but the experience resurrected talk of Sex-Kitten.Net radio.

For a few years we've been discussing starting a radio show, but along with the investment costs (equipment, time and additional marketing efforts), we were skeptical of the feasibility of such a project. While we know that discussion of sexuality is both needed and desired, we worried if the uphill battle of selling the program would result in a watered-down, wet-blanket version of the show & programming we envisioned. The other option, of course, was to run our own Internet radio station ~ which led back to the additional costs of equipment and bandwidth on top of all the other issues. The bottom line was if we had less tech and marketing efforts, it would be worth the old college try; but without that support, it was a bit too much to bite-off. So the the project was shelved, occasionally resurrected when something, like the XBN interview, reignited the spark of passion.

Back in the early days of discussion, our research included the newborn baby BlogTalkRadio.com. And we've investigated, as they've popped up, other options. But none seemed as simple as easy, with the most options, as Blog Talk Radio. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a phone. And yes, kids, Blog Talk Radio is free.

It's free for listeners, and even free for callers if they use VoIP.

The past few years have shown not only Blog Talk Radio's stability in the reliable sense, but a real growth in terms of listener audience and increased options.

Along with the opportunity to increase your connection with readers via audio (listening to live shows, downloading podcasts, and offering additional real-time conversations with your blog &/or website readers), you have the opportunity to recruit new fans via regular users of BlogTalkRadio.

BlogTalkRadio isn't just a technology platform, allowing you to create shows and store them; it's a social network where members can find and hook-up with & befriend other members ~ which includes show hosts as well as other listeners. They also offer a number of widgets, which allows fans to literally help you broadcast your shows by posting your show on their blogs and in their profiles at other social networking sites.

In January of this year, Blog Talk Radio also started a RevShare Program. When you opt in, show hosts can receive 35% of ad sales/sponsors for their shows ~ and if you find a show sponsor who is not currently using Blog Talk Radio, you'll get a 50% share of the ads they place on your shows. (All paid show sponsorship & advertising must be run-through Blog Talk Radio.)

This also means that if you have an adult product, your ad money is welcome at Blog Talk Radio. Starting at $100, you can buy ad space at targeted radio shows where the listening audience is your market audience, willing and ready to buy. You can see more information and find the full rate info here.

There have been a lot of changes at BlogTalkRadio, and with renewed interest I began to investigate if now was the time...

I found the FAQs (both the public list and the additional FA available for registered users) a bit confusing, and being one of those polite marketers, I wanted to see just how welcome adult content would be. So I got in touch with John Sweet, Director of Customer Relations for BlogTalkRadio.com.

Are we adult folks welcome at Blog Talk Radio?

Yes. And you'll see when you fill out the information for hosting a show that there are several options ~ there's both a "Mature" and an "Adults Only".

What are the standards?

It's self-regulating; but basically "Mature" would be an "R" or "NC-17" and "Adults Only" would be for more risque talk ~ but again, we're still not talking X-rated or pornographic talk. The rule of thumb here is the entertainment aspect: discussion about sex is OK, but reading an erotic story is not. In other words, you can move the listeners to actions such as "buy this book", "attend this conference", or "show up at the rally"; but if you're trying to move them into ah, well, lifting their hand for some other self-entertainment purpose, then that's a no-no.

John was clear to also tell me what would happen if someone were to complain or contact BlogTalkRadio regarding a show's content. You won't get the boot instantly. He'll review the show and if there's a concern, he'll contact the show's host to discuss what can be done to make corrections to avoid potential problems in the future. So you have some breathing room; self-regulation is not a trick question, setting you up to fail.

One thing you must know about adult shows is that they will not be visible to the average visitor to BlogTalkRadio.com. This does not mean your show is buried. Registered users may opt to see & search for listings in the mature & adult only shows simply by correctly setting permissions in their profile. Just toggle "Disabled" in the safe search setting, located in the "My Options" section of your "Settings" page.



And, registered user or not, any links directly to your show's page will be seen and heard. So, like any good marketer would do, when you link to your show from your website &/or blog (or fans do), folks will properly arrive there; no fancy settings or permissions needed.

Other info you may want clarified:

Show Length:

Show length is listed as up to 60 minutes, but it is now up to 120 minutes ~ plus you can have up to one additional hour in which the show is being taped for the archives, but is not streaming live. So if your guest has created quite a crowd of questioners, you, the guest and callers may still continue the show. New listeners arriving at the page will not hear it, but anyone playing back the archived show will hear it all, up to 180 minutes.

Remember, you need not have a show or shows that long; you may select show length to be as little as 15 minutes. But once the stated length of the show ends, you have up to 60 additional minutes of recording time. Which brings up the matter of what happens post show, if/when you and your guest are doing wrap-up chatter. It is being recorded and you should let the guest know that it is still being taped &/or edit this out of the recording so it is not included in the show's archive.

Newbie Restrictions

When you are a new host of a show on Blog Talk Radio, you are limited to three shows per month, and you may not have a show during prime time hours (without special permission ~ more on that in a bit).

It doesn't sound like a lot to an eager new radio personality, but John assures me it's not such a problem. As your show increases in popularity (number of live listeners and number of downloaded archived shows), a magical algorithm calculates your worthiness of more shows. In other words, by the time you've got a few under your belt, you'll be ready for more. (And if not, well, then increase your marketing efforts.)

Radio, is a lot like blogging. It takes time to build your blog, your audience and pacing is a huge part of it. (How many times have we seen a new blogger post like crazy, with dozens of posts a day or a week, only to find they've abandoned the blog a few weeks later... Having a low start limit prevents enthusiastic burnout rates.)

Prime Time Slots

Prime time slots, as defined by Blog Talk Radio, are 7:00 PM EST to 12:00 AM EST, Monday through Friday.

The issue of limiting prime time show spots is obviously based on the desirability of such time slots. As these are the most popular hours for listening, BlogTalk Radio naturally wants to play fair with them, and overall limits them to one prime time slot per week. Newbies have to pay their dues, build an audience, to earn that time. Again, John says that it's not too difficult to get in. And in fact, we adult folks may have an inside track...

It only makes sense that adult programming would be more popular in the evening, as adults can't listen to such shows at work or while the kiddies are awake and about. So if you have an "Adults Only" or "Mature" show, contact John (johnsweet+at+blogtalkradio.com) and ask him to help give you the clearance to schedule during prime time.

Fine Print

Registering at BlogTalkRadio.com requires a user agreement. This user agreement indicates that you do not own the copyright to your show.

This means that you may not sell rights to your show, but Blog Talk Radio may.

It's a scary thing for a content creator to contemplate... I asked John about that, and it's pretty simple. They have the right to sell your shows or excerpts of your shows. You don't get paid, but you should get your name out there.

So, for a hypothetical example, if NPR wants seven minutes of an interview on your show, they need to negotiate that with Blog Talk Radio. You don't get a cut; but you will be mentioned. John agrees that not mentioning the specific show and host would be a disservice to both the host/creator and the listener. (Plus, John said Blog Talk Radio would want to talk that up themselves as well.) But if you want to retain rights and control of your radio show or podcast, then this isn't an option for you.

Other Blot Talk Radio Options

As I mentioned, Blog Talk Radio has grown quite a bit in the past few years. They are continually increasing options and features. One of the most intriguing to me was BlogTalkRadio stations.

Station are a means by which you can broadcast multiple shows & further brand yourself. Prior to stations, if you wanted multiple shows, you had to create multiple user ids. While that allows you the option of more than one show, it doesn't allow for them all to be under the same umbrella. The rates for stations are a tidy sum, starting at $5,000 a month. I'm not one of those marketers who says you can't put a price on branding (Because if you can't, well, what's the point? It's a business after all.), but I wouldn't readily dismiss such a fee.

Along with tech assistance, show producers (help with calls etc.), you have to consider the practical matter of Internet hosting. There's both the software to run the shows, streaming of live shows (including chat & callers), and the storing of archived shows. That's a lot of data, a lot of bandwidth. Also, to off-set the cost of a station, you are able to keep 100% of ad & sponsorship payments you gather. And, as a station owner, you do own the copyright to your shows.

John mentioned a few other new features that Blog Talk Radio will be launching soon ~ but I've agreed to be mum until he gives me permission to mention them. So keep an eye out here ~ or I'll poke your eye out there. :p

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Friday, January 18, 2008

High-Five Friday: The Introduction

I typically try to set aside at least one day a week in which I try to get around to everyone I know's blog or website. I don't always leave comments because
some of the best posts are those which get me thinking and that often requires a bit of time (and may end up being a post of it's own

I find myself unable to post a comment easily

I find myself thinking "cool" but don't want to just post that and possibly look like a spammer

I bookmark/save the page/post, intending to come back but then, as time passes, I feel my comments are too little too late
At Sex-Kitten I occasionally do a review called "Gracie's Been Sleeping In Your Blog" (NWS) to point these gems out to others, but with all the sites I read and all the hats I wear, sites do not always fit at SK.

So here I am, pondering this problem today, wondering what I can do to sort of give everyone I read & admire a high-five which benefits them and doesn't take a whole lot of extra (distracting) work on my part... And then it hits me: Make a regular feature which links to these great sites and/or posts, carrying my admiration along with some Google juice.

This feature will be called High-Five Fridays and it's rather open theme means I can replicate the feature at any blog, but each with relevant high-fives.

Since it's easy to replicate, it lends itself to being a meme. And memes can be fun ~ I'd sure like to know who or what you've been reading this week which you think deserves a high-five. So if you care to join me, get on over to the new, official home of High-Five Fridays.

Note: I know I'm starting this late in the day, but anyone who plays today will get a free link at High-Five Fridays as a thank you for being an early (but late-hour) adopter. *wink*

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thoughts On The DMOZ

A former editor talks about the DMOZ: "Dmoz began as a good idea but it grew faster and farther than the available volunteers."

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Since We've All Been Discussing Sex Coming Out Of The Closet...

Friend & PSO, Secondhand Rose, has just had her interview published in Radical Vixen's "Sex Worker Solidarity" series. (At the bottom of each post, you'll find links to the other parts which have been published so far.)

I encourage any of you who identify as a sex worker to join the conversation. (It can only help with our 'authority' problem.)

Also, this reminds me of another excellent resource, Sex In The Public Square.

Remember, though, if you do not wish to make activism part of your business mission, consider that when selecting your user name and profile information and when leaving comments at Radical Vixen's blog.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Show & Tell Adult Meme: End Of The Year Edition

1 What was your very favorite post you made this past year?

2 What post was the most effective post you made this past year? (Based on links to it, comments, emails, sales etc.)

3 What are three of your favorite posts/articles that you've read this past year? (Not your own, but the works of others.) And do tell us all why you selected them.

4 What was the most surprising thing you learned in 2007?

5 What was the most valuable thing or lesson you learned in 2007?

6 Is there anything you wanted to learn this past year that you did not? Why not? And are you going to make this a goal for 2008?

Optional (but worth 100 extra Marketing Whore Bucks lol):
For most of us, guarding our identities means not taking/publishing photos, but I double-dog dare you to take some photo of yourself, crop it to remove what you think is necessary to keep your privacy but still gives something special (and hopefully naughty) of you away ~ and publish it on your blog.



How this works:

1) You post your replies in your blog. (Link back to/credit to this blog, please.)
2) Post your links in the comments section, or in the Mister Linky Widget.
3) Visit here for other bloggers participating; visit them and leave your comments and link to your participating post.
4) Get your blogging buddies to participate too.

If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your replies as a comment.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Stumbling About WIth Social Bookmarking Tools For Bloggers

Silent Porn Star (NWS) sent an email saying she had been getting a lot of recent traffic from StumbleUpon so she decided to add the group's bookmarking widget to her post.

However, StumbleUpon's info wasn't up to date for the new blogger format. She did some searching and found this post at Internet Mastery Center which was clear enough for her to follow, so she added not only StumbleUpon but several other social bookmarking tools & icons too.

Since this blog is not hosted by Blogger, I tried to modify the code to work here but it took lots of monkeying (plus you have to host each site's icon which can be a pain too). So I did some searching and found the free TheBookmarketer tool.

Not only free, but easy to install ~ at least for me. All I did was go into the template's html and post it after <$BlogItemBodyNot only free, but easy to install ~ at least for me. All I did was go into the template's html and post it after <$BlogItemBody$>.

I'm guessing that in new blogger, you would need to check "Expand Widget Templates" box in the html and post it after this paragraph of code:

I have no experience with WordPress admin areas & plugins (the latter being why I've never set up a WP blog), but I'm hoping that the previously mentioned info at Internet Mastery Center would be useful.

Related:

Problogger's post, Building Your Blog With StumbleUpon.

Social Networking Articles post, List of Social Bookmarking Buttons & Widgets for Your Web Sites & Blogs.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Self-Exposure

Check out Sexy Blog Review for well, what I hope is a sexy review of your blog. *wink*

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Expose Yourself

Silent Porn Star emailed with this bit of info to share:
I just had a great review at The Naughty Guide, and while I can't say much for the traffic at the moment (I was picked-up at a link site which sent lots of traffic, yippee!), it was a pleasure to work with them. You can find the details on how to submit here, but basically it's just a link to their site and a form submit. Easy as pie!
Also, for those of you looking for something to replace Joyscape, you might want to try Free Smut Club. Like Joyscape, they use RSS for updates and seem to have an international audience. Here's where to submit.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Erotica Authors, Take Note

From M.Christian's Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: Risks:
I could go on, but I think I've given you enough to chew on. I believe that writing about sex is something that no one should be ashamed of, but I also think that we all need to recognize and accept that there are many out there who do not share those feelings. Write what you want, say what you believe, but do it with your eyes open. Understand the risks, accept the risks and be smart about what you do -- so you can keep working and growing as a writer for many years to come.
I could comment ~ should comment, perhaps. But really, what can I possibly add that he or I haven't already said?

The above may be preaching to the choir, but we all need a "Hallelujah" now and then.

There's more in Christian's series, so go check it out.

Also worth noting, if you're a smut writer or publisher, Erotica Revealed reviews erotic books.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Show & Tell Adult Meme: Q & A For One Edition

What's one question you've been expecting to be asked at your blog which has never been asked?

Why?

Answer it.

What's one question you've wanted to ask your readers, but never have?

Why not?

Ask it.




How this works:

1) You post your replies in your blog. (Link back to/credit to this blog, please.)
2) Post your links in the comments section, or in the Mister Linky Widget.
3) Visit here for other bloggers participating; visit them and leave your comments and link to your participating post.
4) Get your blogging buddies to participate too.

If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your replies as a comment.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Link Swaps Are Doorways

I've got a few basics on link swaps at Whoring Your Site With Links (and a bit more in Gently Scratching Your Niche), but a number of readers have asked for more information on them. So here we go...

Link swaps or exchanges (where Site A links to Site B, then Site B links back to Site A) have been around a long time. (Like those swinging doors, there are two ways for people to pass through.)

They are standard practice, but this does not mean you should be route about handling them.

Do not accept, nor feel pressured into accepting, each request. Remember, each link is a doorway. Not only are you inviting people to leave, and therefore want to limit the number of exits, but each link is rather like an endorsement. The dual nature of these doorways allows for the perfect means to evaluate them. When you receive a request, do visit the site and evaluate if it's worthy of sending your visitors to.
Evaluate where you're sending folks:

Does the site have good, original content (writing, products, services, photos etc.)?

Is it something you think your visitors or members would be interested in seeing?

Do they have enough content to indicate they'll be around and active in the future?

Is the site broken, links which do not work, missing graphics or have other signs of neglect or problems?

All of these things will reflect on you, for offering the doorway. (For more on this, also read here.)

The other side of the link swap is your point of view on traffic.

From your own point of view, does it look like their site will have readers which will find your site interesting?

Also, do you like where they would be linking to you? Some sites and even blogs have separate areas, even pages, for links. If you feel that your link would be buried, or otherwise virtually unseen in some hidden area, only accept the request on your terms ~ with a better placement of the link to your site.
The reason I mention this first is so that you understand how your link request will be viewed: Is your site worthy of them sending their readers to, and would your link be beneficial to them?

So no matter how wonderfully worded your link swap request is, you may be rejected. If you are lucky, they will take the time to let you know why your site isn't making the grade. Use this information to your advantage in two ways: 1) It's a free review of sorts, so perhaps there are changes you ought to make, and 2) if so, contact them again after you've made the changes.

I know there are going to be some of you who dislike link swaps, because you'll have read/heard that a certain number of out-bound links are bad for search engine ranking, or page rank (or whatever.) It certainly is one school of thought. As are only swapping with sites with specific page ranks (or higher), and other guidelines. These philosophies are other reasons your link swap request may be rejected, and they may be unknown to you at the time you make your request. All you can do is respect their decision and move along. (However, if they disclose their reasoning &/or guidelines, do as above.)

OK, so now you know how link swaps are evaluated and you're ready to prepare for, head-off, and deal with rejection. Now it's time to move onto how to ask for them.

Here are the steps:

1) Put as much effort into exploring a site as you would in evaluating it if they had requested the link swap themselves. Don't see one post and send your request, but rather look around and see as much of the site as you can. If you are still of the opinion that you'd like to create that swinging doorway, then proceed.

2) Look on their site for rules on link swaps or exchanges, or other policies which may tell you their guidelines and how to request an exchange. If you do qualify, then proceed. And if they have a specific method for requesting a swap, then use it.

3) If you'll need to send an email request, here's what to keep in mind.
A) You need not feel smarmy, gross or inappropriate requesting a link swap. It's part of business, and we all know that. If you've done your homework (evaluation) you're offering something of value for something of value. So don't apologize for such a request, you are flattering them. (Conversely, don't act so cocky either. You aren't doing them a favor, but simply arranging a win-win.)

B) Don't use a generic form letter to request a swap. It's not personal and it doesn't show the blogger or webmaster that you have found their site worthy of such a request. Don't even use a standard file you cut and paste from to make your request. I mean it! The time you think you save with cut & paste is really effort lost when you make a formulaic request, and, in this doorway metaphor, have a doorway closed to you. (Even worse, when you blunder and mistakenly paste some other webmaster's name or information in it!) Why be so boring, so lazy, when you should be excited to find a cool site you want to share with your readers? Tell them why you want to swap ~ even gush about their site, if that's your personality. Whatever your tone or personality, write each email individually. You'll be glad you did.

C) Don't tell them that link swaps are vital, that this helps their search engine ranking or page rank or whatever. Such things are either insulting (as if they didn't know!) or boring (a bunch of gibberish to those who don't know). And to those of us who get many requests a day, they read like the same old crap and we gather your site is full of it too. (I'll admit, those emails very rarely get read all the way through before I hit delete; so it would take a miracle for me to even visit their site to evaluate it.)

D) Do clearly provide your information (URL, site title and where you'd place their link etc.). I know this is noted here, but based on the number of requests I receive in which this info is missing, I guess it bears repeating.

E) Put something simple and direct in the subject line so they know what the email is. I typically create my subject line last, as my enthusiasm makes me want to talk (write the email) right away *wink* Then I can be more practical when writing the subject line. If you know the contact's name, use it. Examples: Link Swap With The Whore, I'd Like To Exchange Links With Your Marketing Whore Blog, Link Swap For Gracie, etc.
One last thing... Don't forget to check your links periodically.

Ask yourself: Is this site still worthy of you inviting your guests to leave your site for? Act accordingly.

Sometimes folks nail their side of the door shut or put so much stuff in the front of it that no one can realistically pass through to your side. Sites may have deleted links, moved them to a different area or page (which you can easily view as a break in agreement if this move is detrimental to you) and sites may be down all together. (If the latter, please check several times over a few days, with a clear cache, just to be sure that you didn't stumble in during a server hissy fit.)

Should you find your link swap partner has shut the doorway to your site, I recommend you send an email about it. You need not be rude or defensive as mistakes do happen. Just inquire as to why your link seems to be missing. Most of the time you get a reply saying "Oops!" and a correction. If that's not the case, you can safely delete your reciprocating link.

Conversely, if you find yourself wishing to sever a partnership, it's best if you contact them to let them know. Be polite and remind yourself that, as nasty as this feels, it is better they hear it from you (and the reasons why) than to discover that you deleted them. (And you'll avoid building a negative reputation as a webmaster or blogger who doesn't keep promises.)

Now go forth, and open some doors.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Show & Tell Adult Meme: Whiner Wednesday Edition

Show us one post of which you are most proud/most pleased, but which received no comments.

Tell us what you expected to hear/read.

Show us one blog you are jealous of or wish to emulate.

Tell us why.




How this works:

1) You post your replies in your blog. (Link back to/credit to this blog, please.)
2) Post your links in the comments section, or in the Mister Linky Widget.
3) Visit here for other bloggers participating; visit them and leave your comments and link to your participating post.
4) Get your blogging buddies to participate too.

If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your replies as a comment.

Note: Using Mister Linky is free (and has inexpensive upgrades for other features) and is a super easy way to include the posts of others at your blog.

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Brief Words On Memes

Memes can be an excellent way to participate in the blogosphere. You meet new bloggers, and generate traffic and links. However, here are six points to consider before you decide to participate.

1 Participation in memes requires linking to others. Not just in your original post, but many times they require you to update with links back to all who participate. Read and follow the rules and decide if it's something you can commit to and keep up with.

2 Memes are (often smaller &/or temporary) communities, which means you'll also need to invest some time in reading the posts of others. Best results are seen when you post comments etc. The price you pay for traffic is the activity you put into them.

3 Memes can be fun ~ and a great way to inspire postings when your own blog muse has left or taken a nap. However, a blog which consists of only memes isn't a very fun blog to read. Even blogs with their own unique content may find regulars unhappy with such content. It's best to consider meme participation as a garnish or side dish, not the main course of your blog. (A good rule of thumb would be no more than 20% of your posts be meme posts.)

4 Not all memes are welcoming to adult (or even risqué) bloggers. While some of them might be fun for you to participate in, and your readers might even enjoy your responses/participation, if the regulars or meme host/owner dislikes your participation, you'll end up with more ill-will than positive results.

5 Because you'll be sharing your traffic, look over the other posts and participants. Are they worthy of sending your readers too?

6 Memes, like most anything else, require some time and nurturing. New memes can take time to build traffic (and a good reputation). Ditto on your participation. The converse is also true: Sometimes, a new meme or new 'player' will be all the buzz and then, just as quickly, become yesterday's news. So be prepared for fluctuations (and if it's neither fun nor a traffic boost, reconsider the meme's advantages).

Have thoughts and recommendations for memes? Please, post them as comments!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bikini Coverage Isn't PR

From IndieaPRBlog, comes this post: Top 5 steps for bloggers to get written about in newspapers and magazines.
For bloggers who are engaged in blogging as a profession or are aiming to build on a high profile through blogging, getting covered in the traditional media can be the next big achievement after making a presence in the blogosphere and among the bloggers community.

However all these are easier said than done. Generating publicity for individuals is a huge mandate and often requires services of professional PR agencies. Today across the globe, PR professionals are sweating it out round the clock for their clients including writers, critics, speakers, God-men, businessmen, fashion designers, actors, sports persons, etc.
While admittedly anyone associated with the adult industry is going to have a really difficult time at reaching the mainstream media, the same tips apply to working within the adult world ~ including how to work with bloggers.

This post doesn't set the world on fire with anything mind-blowingly easy ~ but that's the point, I'd say. It takes research, effort and organization ~ i.e. work. If you've been skipping steps, then you've been skimpy. And skimpy doesn't get you good coverage, does it?

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Social Media Marketing Reading

Some required reading regarding social networks ~ keep in mind, if you have an adult site or blog, your content may not be welcome (and you'd likely be missing your target audience anyway).

Of How to Leverage Web 2.0 & Social Media Sites to Market Your Brand & Control Your Message, I have to say their comments about MySpace, Yahoo! 360 & Technorati accurately reflect my experiences and so I'm taking what they have to say about the others to heart.

In How Many Friends Does Your Book Have? there is a more hopeful or promising picture of MySpace ~ for authors anyway. I can't deny the stories told, but my experiences are more in line with what SEOmoz has to say (above).

Over at Spin Thicket (one of my addictions), they have a whole category dedicated to what they call Social Disease Media. Funny, sad-but-true, and just the facts, this section is good reading for those interested in Web 2.0/Social Networking.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

New Marketing Project To Help Independent Authors Sell More Books

Jerry D. Simmons is currently gathering names of those interested in testing the program which hopefully will begin no later than April 1, 2007.

For those who don't know who Jerry is, he's a retired Vice President and Director of Sales for the former Time Warner Book Group. He's spent more than 25 years working in the traditional publishing industry in New York. And he wants to help indie authors.

Yes, sex writers and erotica authors are welcome. (Hey, he let me in.)

Since Jerry cannot provide many details on the project (due to a non-disclosure agreement for funding), here are the basics you likely want to know:

* Self-published authors & those with small presses are welcome.

* The group is international.

* All of your titles are welcome, no limit (except illegal books, child porn, etc.)

* In this program, indie books will not be competing with traditionally published books.

* There is absolutely no cost or obligation of any kind for you to participate, nor will there be a cost once the project is off and running.

* You may opt out at any time.

* The goal is to sell books to readers, not to sell a program to authors.

(That last bit is what sold me.)

I asked Jerry a few quick questions in anticipation of author questions...

Jerry, I joined and I hope others will consider this as well ~ the greater our numbers, the greater our success. I thank you for taking the time to answer some quick questions so that others may have more information and make informed decisions about the independent author project.

Thank you very much Gracie, much appreciated.

I know you don't want to prematurely dish details of the project, but what is the philosophy behind it?

To create a community of Independent Writers and Authors which will become a destination for readers around the world looking for voices never heard and stories never told.

Why is this needed?

The biggest problem with selling independent books is that you cannot imitate what the bigger publishers do successfully and you should not be wasting lots of time or money trying to gain any noticeable entry into the market they control. The best opportunity to sell more Independently Published books is to create your own market. Take from the bigger publishers strengths, exploit their weaknesses, and establish your own destination for selling books.

What sort of authors are you looking for?

Any and all writers are welcome. Poets, screenwriters, columnists, if you write and you are interested in your work being read then please join our community.

Give us one important fact about you that you believe is important for authors to know.

I am passionate about wanting to help Independent Writers and Authors create a marketplace where they can sell their work.

Where can they find out more about you, your experience and your philosophy?

My website is WritersReaders.com, and here is my blog.

Any posts or articles which you think best illustrate you and the spirit of the project?

Here's my 5-part series on the community: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

If interested in joining Jerry's project, all you need to do is send an email saying "Jerry, I'd like to be included in the indie author test project." His email is: Jerry -at- WritersReaders.com.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where The Links Lead

If a person took the time to read and to post comments at your blog, they likely are part of your target audience and so conversing with them is a matter of great importance; but what they do tells you even more than what they said in their comment. When it comes to blog comments I read them, of course. But I also follow the information they provide.

(Tip: Always use your Blogger or Wordpress ID or fill in the email and URL information so that folks can find/follow you.)

When you post a comment here I want to know more about you, so I'll follow the link. Looking at your blog or website gives me insight into why you believe as you do. And it often leads to interesting things...

A recent example is Urban Iconoclast's comment. From the ID link, I found 'his' blog and several of his blog pals too (many of which discuss marketing, so I urge you to go and link surf).

One hot topic running about nearly as frantic as any blog meme was the topic of Z-List and Z-List 2.0. Like Sugasm the idea of Z-List is to create link swapping hotlists which employs a blog post to send traffic to other blogs. However, unlike Sugasm the list members are not all on a theme. (For evidence thereof see Servant of Chaos, where the Z-List 2.0 is provided, showing that these blogs are not on a theme.) The problem with this is two-fold: Your neither build page rank or other authority with search engines, nor are you offering your readers more of what they are looking for.

As usual, I am more worried about the latter point ~ where you personally direct readers. If someone enters a Z-List member's blog, lord knows where they are sent, what they will find. Yes, you may get more eyeballs to your site, but it's my opinion that you're sending folks away to 'anywhere' just on the premise that you'll get eyeballs sent to you as an 'anything.' It's not targeted traffic. I'm not sure how much use this is unless you are desperate to get someone, anyone, other than your mom and sister to read your blog.

In defense of Z-List, it seems that they are trying to create a system or list from which you can somewhat pick & choose who you link to. However, the problem with selection from the list this way means you are not guaranteed to be selected (linked) yourself ~ and if this is all a crap shoot, then why bother to be on a list? Why not just hand-pick who you want to link to, swap with, and share readers with.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Give Us Sam Sugar, Luv

In the recent Sugasm Sam of Sugar Bank had a link to his post, 5 Ways To Keep Your Blog Off Digg. While every last bit true, this 'bad news' dovetails nicely with my piece on linkbait. More precisely, Eric Ward's piece should assure Sam that he doesn't want Digg anyway.

Inspired by that blog post, I poked about his blog. Seems Sam has some excellent bits on the biz and so I've added him to my list of whores. Here are a few posts that are worthy of singling out:

The Best (And Worst) Adult Affiliate Programs

The Future's So AdBrite, I Gotta Get Paid (Which relates to: Contextual Ads In Context.)

Obviously Sam is one of the classy purveyors of porn: He knows what he's doing and why, and he's willing to share. Kudos.

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Marketing Whore Makes Sugasm

Before I begin this participatory post, I'd like to say I'm super excited to see The Marketing Whore in the top three ~ thank you to all who voted!

The best of this weeks blogs by the bloggers who blog them. Highlighting the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasm participants.

Want in Sugasm #67? Submit a link to your best post of the week using this form. Participants, repost the linklist within a week and you're all set.

This Week's Picks
Black Tie Optional; Cleavage Required. (http://middleurge.blogspot.com)
"It had been so long since she'd worn something like this, I had to keep checking in and making sure she was really comfortable with appearing in public looking this... well, sexy."

Don't Be A Blog Playa (http://marketingwhore.naughtyblog.net)
"Blogging is often treated like dating, where folks fall in love with setting it up, posting some ramblings, and when no one gushes and fawns all over them, they move onto the next one."

Eclectic Slut part one (http://junohenry.wordpress.com)
"As we lay, limbs entwined and tangled, realising that we couldn't stop touching each other even for a second, the conversation returned to one we'd started earlier… about control and submission."

Mr. Sugasm Himself
5 Ways to Keep Your Blog Off Digg (http://sugarbank.com)

Editor's Choice
The Shirt... (http://ellesnovellas.blogspot.com)

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm

(Sugasm participants should re-post all the links above. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links. ~I post 'em all because The Whore does not want 'Did The Bare Minumum' on her tombstone~)

Thoughts on Sex and Relationships
Green with envy (http://hard-and-fast.blogspot.com)
Judgment Call (http://lafillemariee.blogspot.com)
Originality, Fellatio and the Chicago Bears (http://lostinperversion.com)
Random Things (http://aslipofagirl.blogspot.com)
Smut, politics, and community and a little story called "Auschwitz Blowjob" (http://lustylady.blogspot.com)
Tit-Elation (http://shayssexcolumn.blogspot.com)
Valentine's Day Is on the Way (http://www.taratainton.com)
When In Doubt, Refer To #2 (http://perverselypoly.blogspot.com)

NSFW Pics (& videos)
Bad Girl HNT (http://stilettodiaries.blogspot.com)
Charly & Klara (video) (http://myhotbox.blogspot.com)
Cockslut Column #2 (http://themilfblog.blogspot.com)
Finally Did a Naked Photoshoot (http://totalsensuality.blogspot.com)
Half-Nekkid Cleavage (http://www.tarasnaughtyshop.com)
Nora Marlo New Nude Photos (http://eroticandy.blogspot.com)

Sex News, Reviews and Interviews
Masturbation Interview (http://sabrinainstockings.com)
Review: Best American Erotica (http://www.radicalvixen.com/blog)
Waterproof iVibe Rabbit Vibrator Review (http://darkside-journey.blogspot.com)

Sex Work
Outcall (http://thismuse.blogspot.com)

BDSM and Fetish
Breast stroke, cane strokes (http://pandorablake.blogspot.com)
Douleur érotique (http://dopaminedreams.blogspot.com)
Esmerelda (http://blog.myspace.com/tit_elation)
The Foundry (http://blog.atlantabondage.com)
So Good I'm Boring! (http://emiliegirl.livejournal.com)
What you can do to please me (http://principalquattrano.com/blog)

Sex (and Sex Blog) Advice
Cracked Jaw (http://inkserotica.daria.be)
Reader: What's your take on love? (http://smutandsteff.com)
The Sheep from the Goats (http://alwaysarousedgirl.blogspot.com)

Sex & Politics
Jon Stewart on Ted Haggard (http://dausa.blogspot.com)
When is it Rape? (http://deliciously-naughty.typepad.com/my_weblog)

Erotic Writing and Experiences
Awoken by the beast (http://dirtylittlecockslut.blogspot.com)
Breaking the Ice (http://loladavid.wordpress.com)
First AFF Adventure, Pt. 2 (http://unfetteredcravings.blogspot.com)
Mind Play - An Erotic Poem (http://eroticjournals.blogspot.com)
What Man Turns Down Two Women? (http://fourstate.blogspot.com)
Yeah, it's a little stiff. (http://gentlygently.blogspot.com)

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Monday, February 12, 2007

What Am I, Link Bait?

Linkbaiting or link baiting is a term for getting your blog noticed. It's not a very new term. Hell, it's not even a new idea ~ it's marketing folks.

I just love it when folks feel the need to make up new terms for the same old things. Sex by any other name...

To illustrate my point, I direct you to Wikipedia where it lists the types of link bait:

* Informational Hooks - Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience through which readers can benefit.
* News Hooks - Provide fresh information and garner citations and links as the news spreads.
* Humor Hooks - Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be a link bait.
* Evil Hooks - Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger. Provide strong reasons for it.
* Tool Hooks - Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.

Isn't this just common sense? Write something of interest "so that bloggers and social media users are made aware and can help promote the piece in tandem." It's just plain marketing folks. It's a matter of simply creating quality content, which you know The Whore is in favor of.

But, oh how confusing this is for so many.

Last year BizNicheMedia held a linkbait contest wherein folks were to submit their best link bait ideas. Of the 74 ideas, ranging from serious to mockery with the same run of intelligence, BizNicheMedia selected a winner.

In my opinion the best one was from 'Dictionary' who wrote:

My idea:
Make a product worth linking to.
Contact me for payment details.

Because that kids, is some integrity. Don't focus on gimmicks; do something of quality.

But that was not the winner. They selected the guy in the crowd who sent in this gem:

Boobs
You can't go wrong with boobs.
To paraphrase Howard Stern: "Boobs = links."

Their very selection makes me mistrust them. They went for an obvious traffic getter of sorts, the kind of 'hook' that Wiki didn't expressly list, but completely miss the point of reaching a target market ~ and a product to sell. (I'm rather certain BizNicheMedia doesn't sell breasts.)

Even while they admit their contest itself was linkbait, the winner was a loser. Credibility took a nosedive. Do I have lots of faith in this site, this company? No, I do not. Would I even consider going to them for whatever it is that they do? Nope. (But then, to be fair, after considerable poking about I have no idea what the hell they are doing there. Truly. I am confused.)

Their attempts at linkbaiting give marketing a bad name. (No, I'm not trying to use the 'Evil Hook' here.)

But on to something positive to learn from.

Internet guru Eric Ward also wrote this piece on linkbaiting from an SEO point of view. When it comes to SEO you know I primarily focus on providing content which gives you not just the keywords you want but the target audience too (or at least you should know this after last week's newsletter). But no matter, this is relevant for a few reasons.

While Eric doesn't reference the same contest, it seems rather clear that his points mirror my thoughts. Hype for hype's sake, linkbaiting or link whoring, no matter how much traffic you think it brings you, well, it just isn't all it's made out to be. Especially if you ignore your audience along the way.

Likely Eric and I started thinking about linkbaiting for different reasons. We have different audiences, keywords, and sometimes seemingly very different philosophies. Funny how we end up in the same place though, huh?

Which brings me to the other reason I mentioned Eric and SEO...

It's never wise to ignore the other camp. (It's also never wise to ignore Eric). Sometimes they can point to a worthy trick or two, othertimes you discover you are talking about the same thing afterall.

Here are a few of the other camp locations to read at:

PageTraffic Blog
Search Engine Land
SearchNewz

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Daily Addictions

We all have them. Websites, website stats widgets, social networks and communities we belong to and assorted little activities with which we compulsively waste time. Often we rationalize our time spent as being part of our work. If you've been looking for a new one, The Marketing Whore highly recommends Spin Thicket.

It's like Fark for "people with an interest in the image-making professions -- advertising, PR, marketing, journalism, and politics."

Here's the history of my latest addiction brought to you by Media Orchard. And yes, they encourage you to submit links to your own sites. I may just have to register and do so myself.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Blog Field Trip: Niche & Audience

I had quite a few emails regarding my last post, Don't Be A Blog Playa, so I'll be going over a few of these here & in the newsletter.

These were some of the questions:

But what if one post seems really popular, shouldn't I then write/post more about that?

What if I really have several genuine interests?

Why would having many interests ruin readership or be a trust-breaker?


These questions made it really clear that there are a few areas, niche and audience, which I need to clarify before we move onto anything else with blogs. Blogger Slip of a Girl has kindly allowed her blog, A Slip Of A Girl, for use a a 'field trip' to illustrate some points about all of this.

First of all, her blog has a niche: lingerie. She has lingerie news, sales alerts, personal thoughts (and 'ranties') on lingerie trends and news, erotic stories with lingerie themes, photos of lingerie models, etc.

Second, it clearly has a targeted audience: lingerie lovers. Written for 'everyday women,' with some posts as advice for men, she clearly knows her audience ~ however, this wasn't always the case.

"At first, I was very tentative with my writing," she says. "I was unsure of what to say -- a case of nerves, I guess" she laughs. "Eventually, I just came out and said what I wanted to say -- as if talking to other women as idiotic as I over lingerie." She found her voice.

Voice is extremely important when blogging. Opinions, strong opinions, get more notice than kind milk-toast ones ~ but that doesn't mean you need to be shocking or mean. An opinion-less post isn't always going to capture interest, especially if it's just a 'this is on sale,' or 'look at this pretty pair of panties.' Some news sites can get away with that sort of a thing because the very nature of the story may be controversial or result in a reader having strong opinions. But a blog with just posts to coupon codes and new bras isn't going to get much notice.

And what happens when you get noticed?

As Slip found out, the comments and emails may be surprising. "The first avid adopters of my blog, the ones who communicated with me, were cross dressers. At first I was just glad that someone liked 'me' and happy to connect with other lingerie lovers -- but then I began to worry... What if they thought I was a cross dresser? Not because I have a problem with it at all, but I'm not a man. I didn't want people dismissing me and my opinions as those of a man when I am a woman. And I was nearly phobic that I would be taken as some authentic voice on CD when I knew very little about it. Now, of course, I know much more, but I still don't want to pose as some CD expert. Which is ironic as you now have me writing pieces for your book on cross dressers," she laughed, "but you know what I mean."

She worried that 'everyone' would be skeptical of her blog. Slip worried that by paying attention to the cross dressers that her non-CD readers would lose interest or that those in the cross dressing community would call her a fake. "I even thought that posting that I am a woman would be seen as 'protesting too much.' But I just decided to carry on. Being welcoming to those who have an interest in CD, but not catering so exclusively to them that I'd make 'regular lingerie lovers' feel left out. I guess the best way to put it is that I just carried on. It seems to have worked because my stats are higher and no one questions my status as a woman -- or my acceptance of CD and other 'kink'."

While she occasionally goes off on a tangent, such as the DIY/craft projects, this is rather limited and does not confuse the reader. She maintains her focus of lingerie even with the 'outside' posts because of the following:

Posts are tagged/labeled so that a reader may skip (or find) such posts as they so choose.

Posts are still in her niche (of girly related goodness) and speak to her audience.

These posts are sprinkled, like seasoning, so a reader isn't lost or left wondering if this is the same blog they visited last time.

Slip says, "Even if I write these crafty entries at the same time, I typically do not publish them all at once -- I spread them out so that they are there, included, but not leaving a visitor to conclude this is a crafting blog."

Overall, Slip does a fine job of working her niche and speaking to her audience. Do you?

Have questions? Ask them. As a conversation, this blog is participatory. I expect to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and even your comments which contradict what I have said ~ not every one's experience is the same and debate is healthy.

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Location, Location, Location

A reader emailed the following question:

You wrote, "There is no lucky bar stool granting you certain powers of seduction. Likewise, there isn't some magical corner to blog on." But isn't it true that MySpace has much more traffic built in?

Another asked: Isn't it true that a blog with its own domain name has more respect than a blog at Blogger or Myspace?

Let me deal with the second question first.

While it's true that staking out your own location with your own domain name makes you look more like a high class call girl than a street corner whore with user.more public domain, this is not necessarily true for bloggers. Many high-profile bloggers began at public sites before switching to their own domain name, with some never making that domain name leap. Look at big movies which have movie title dot Sony or MySpace slash TV show. If you do business transactions, however, you may be seen as schmaltzy if you don't purchase a domain name. It's not all about branding but includes practical business matters. You'll need one for secure server certificates; security and bandwidth issues require paid membership sites to register their own names as well. If you are not doing direct business dealings with your site, and most bloggers are not making direct sales, you can skip the domain name purchase and blog for free.

Now, as the first question alludes, not all free blogging is equal.

I'm sure most of you are aware that with most free hosting and free blogging sites there are limits on the types of content which may be published. Adult content is definitely one of them. And with adult content there are often problems with bandwidth and site traffic. I'm not going to get into all these possibilities; I'll leave that for those who discuss in great detail site hosting. But looking at some of the top places for free blogging, there are differences.

MySpace, as mentioned here, and other sites like them allows for free blogging with a built in community and social networking capacity. The large MySpace membership population means more exposure ~ at least in theory. I seriously have my doubts about how this huge membership translates into being stumbled up or otherwise 'discovered' as my stats do not indicate staggering numbers from this location. In fact, it appears to me that with all the folks trying to get to some pointless number of friends to prove their importance or otherwise inflate their egos, there is actually little reading of blogs which means marketing outside of MySpace to get (targeted) folks to MySpace is in fact extremely necessary.

While I am making personal comments on MySpace blogging, let me also state that their standard template leaves much to be desired, and tweaking it via free templates (all of which have "Made By" and other mandatory links with them) isn't as easy as one would like. It's not just an aesthetic thing regarding my personal tastes (or bemoaning my lack of technical abilities), their templates limit the ability to monkey with your sidebars to create links, post blogrolls etc. Outlawing javacripts means you are limited in functions such as stat tracking as well. XPeeps, which is an adult social networking site like MySpace but catering to the adult industry, also has a blog with similar limitations except that you are free from worry about adult content. But I digress.

Blogger (Blogspot) offers built in traffic with it's top header (it includes a random 'next blog' feature) and being part of the Google empire, you know it's going to be spidered efficiently and often if you are posting regularly. It has the latest gadgets for tags/labeling, is neatly tied to ping Technorati (the tags work with Technorati well also), has a built-in means to upload images and other gizmos. Blogger also allows you to use it's software or publishing mechanism on your own site (as a blog 'page' on your main site) or other non-blogger hosting, which alleviates the problems with them booting you for adult content. (Hence my use of blogger here.)

Other sites, such as LiveJournal, allow for making/joining groups which also has built in traffic and means to be found other than your own posts and marketing efforts. Some of these offer more options for personalizing your blog, sidebar etc., or will with the paid upgrades.

In other words, your mileage may vary.

While one offers one neat gizmo, it may be lacking in another area. You'll need to check these out, make comparisons, and otherwise make choices for yourself, of course. And no matter which you choose you're going to have to make efforts to market your blog.

If you want a blog to merely be the more personal side of corporate you, to make the most of RSS and pull readers, to allow for frequent updates or updates outside of your password protected areas etc, you may want to consider not an independent blog but a blog 'page' on your main site. This is the only way you won't need to do separate marketing for your blog; it merely co-exists with your site ~ on your site. If you choose and independent blog, you will need to market it.

I know some of you are moaning that you started your blog to market your website, call service, books or whatever business you have ~ isn't the blog the marketing tool? Why would you need to market it? Why on earth would anyone start a blog to market one thing only to have to market the blog itself?

Well that, Virginia, is why you need to decide if (and when) a blog is right for you and what you need it to do.

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Don't Be A Blog Playa

Blogging is often treated like dating, where folks fall in love with setting it up, posting some ramblings, and when no one gushes and fawns all over them, they move onto the next one. Surely someone will spot how wonderful they are instantly and they'll hook-up. Like the poser in the bar, if the readers don't make a stampede they move onto the next bar thinking there will be better fishing there.

This points to several problems for these bloggers (as well as those who date like this). Having a relationship and even just getting laid are a lot like making a sale &/or building a fan base. If you're having problems with your blog, here are some lessons.

One: the problem isn't location. There is no lucky bar stool granting you certain powers of seduction. Likewise, there isn't some magical corner to blog on. No matter what your location, how fancy your template or graphics, you are going to have to do something worthy of attention. If you've tried several blogs with the same unhappy results, perhaps you need to face facts that it isn't 'them'; it really is YOU.

Two: the problem is you. (Yeah, it bears repeating.) What have you given besides a facade or template? Have you tried engaging conversation? Sure, it's a blog and you may feel like you're supposed to do all the talking, but are you only talking about yourself? No one, not potential dates or blog readers, wants to hear all about you and only you. They want to know something of you, yes; they want to know what you have to offer them. But what they really want is a relationship with you. Can they trust you? Are you interesting, compatible? You have to talk to show them you are worthy of trust, that your opinion is valuable. You talk so they can evaluate you and that may take some time... Which brings us to the third issue. How committed are you?

There are several way to display your commitment issues.

Commitment issue one: Fishing for better fish. This shows when you are in a conversation with one woman yet are scanning the crowd for your ex, or to see if someone prettier enters the room; in blogging, it's the topic.

For example, you begin a blog about softcore art nudes but then you read that there's 'big affiliate money' in hardcore group orgies, so you switch to posts about that scene. Like the first woman you are talking to, your softcore fans notice. So do the orgy people. The result: you lose your credibility on all fronts and go home alone. You can't successfully be all things to all people. Pick a theme, niche, topic and stick with it.

Another example is replicating yourself. Lacking any real confidence in yourself, you give yourself a different personality, pose, or even a different name, pending which bar you're in. You are willing to be anyone but yourself to catch the masses; it's not sincere, and people notice. You 'get' no one. Bloggers make the same mistake.

Lacking any real confidence in their product, they cover all their bases by entering many niches. And not just at one blog either.

You've been out & about on the Internet, so I know you've seen those cookie-cutter blogs ~ the ones where it's clearly the same blogger, same template, same set of links, maybe even the same content posted. Sure, the title and URL are different, and maybe the template color changes, but there's nothing new here. These bloggers think they have The Formula; they'll recreate it everywhere and rake the money in. But it doesn't work.

Like a bar full of Madonnas in the 80's there's nothing special about any of them. Those blogs only compete against themselves ~ which is why smart women always ask what their friends are wearing; if they don't stand out, somehow, they are passed over. On the web, being passed over is a click 'back' away from the site. This is an obvious commitment issue. It's clear with this repetition that you the blogger aren't interested in focusing on anything or anyone. And you're so busy trying to stuff content into the blog you aren't doing any real talking or sharing which builds trust. Like the corny guy at the bar with tired old lines, folks don't trust you enough to go home with you. In the case of a blog, visitors aren't about to waste their time reading your tired bullshit when there's an engaging blog waiting for them.

It takes time and work to build a blog, just as it does to build a relationship. You can easily face burn-out the way it is without having to run around doing blogs (or people) you have no interest in ~ wouldn't you rather be exhausted doing something or someone you love or at least like?

Commitment issue two is rather like the first; it's the other side of the coin. If you pose, pander or otherwise act like a playa you aren't only showing a lack of concern for others but for yourself. You don't care who you get if you don't care about yourself. You are one desperate mother-fucker.

If you like big butts and you cannot lie, then blog about it. Don't worry if that's so last decade, not cool enough for the trendy hipsters, or limited with sites and products to sell, just blog it. Your sincere passion is in itself a truth ~ and bonding point between you and all the other big booty lovers. Committing to yourself and your love of round ass is saying both, "It's OK to love big booty," and, "You, with the big bum, come over here!" Isn't that point? Pretending to like skinny bony ass isn't going to get you readers. And if you're blogging to sell (your books, affiliate programs, your own big ass) isn't it the point to connect with these people?

It takes time, effort, and the balls (or ovaries) to believe in yourself. No one dates a whiny insecure person ~ at least not for long. No one does business with a waffling company, and no one reads a whiny insecure blogger.

Blog like you are dating. Be confident of who you are and project 'you' at all times. Stay and talk to who is interested in you ~ no matter the size of your audience. Stay in the same place so they know where to find you and show up when you say you will.

The bottom line: Don't be a blog playa.

Have questions? Comments? Post them or email The Whore.

Have you signed up for the Marketing Whore Newsletter yet? It's free, won't create spam or spread disease, and the issue to be sent next week has a special subscribers only offer...

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Do You Need A Blog?

Before I begin my long commentary on how to make the most of blogs, I thought it best to begin with why you need a blog.

As a primer, read Is blogging here to stay? Can you use it?. When ready, proceed...

In the MySpace/Social Networking talks with erotica authors, Autumn Seave of Inky Blue Allusions said:

Blogging is huge in making yourself known. Not just promoting your site, but letting people know who you are and why you do what you do. People tend to do business with people they feel they have a relationship with. So, MySpace is great for blogging and revealing part of yourself that allows people to be comfortable with you.

This is an important thing in our business. You know The Whore is all about being a classy bit of tail, but let's face it: our business has an image problem.

The number of people who have concerns over how we run our business is huge ~ and not without reason. Bait & switch links, memberships that are nearly impossible to end, charging for content that is free elsewhere etc. all these things nasty little crack-whore webmasters and other disease ridden sluts do, these affect public perception every time a person considers your site, publication, shoppe etc.

A blog can do much to counter-act these apprehensions.

As Autumn said, people feel more comfortable doing business with those they know. If they at least feel you are a real person, they'll be more likely to trust you. And your blog can do that ~ how is for later.

This of course is all on the premise that you have a website or business that your blog accompanies. What if you want your blog to be your business?

While it's true there's money to be made by being a blogger with affiliate programs or selling ad space, this is trickier. You are selling the product of another (or many others). So your reputation is just as vital; others will apply your credibility to the evaluation of who/what you are selling.

I don't recommend just signing up for any & all the affiliate programs you can. And I certainly would expect that you have an interest in ~ if not passion for ~ the niche or topics you plan to talk about. Because random uncaring posts are like that skanky crack-whore sex: no one's interested unless desperate. (Sex with a pro may be loveless, but it's not without it's care.) And with so many prime locations already staked out, desperate folks won't even find you.

In recently interviewed Richard Evans Lee, who has more blogs than I can count at this time. Many of his blogs you'll recognize for he's quite a successful sex blogger. I asked him, "You've been doing this a long time, in Internet Years ;) Many "sex blogs" have come and gone during this time. To what do you attribute the longevity of your blog? Any advice for sex bloggers?" And this was his reply:

I enjoy doing it. While I do run ads I never expect it to support me. Too many bloggers start in search of profit. They usually fall by the wayside.

If you don't get some sort of personal fulfillment and pleasure from having a sex blog - or any blog - it is best to not bother.


So I guess the best way to answer the question, "Do you need a blog?" is to decide if you are ready to invest the time, care and even passion into it? If the answer is 'No' ~ or you disagree with what's been presented here and you believe you can make a fast easy buck ~ then I'd say, "Stop being a $5 crack whore licking the public's face!" It's not sexy and you're ruining the images of the rest of the quality escorts.

If the answer is 'Yes', then stick around, subscribe to the newsletter, and I'll tell you more.

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Sugasm

Sugasm is: The best of this weeks blogs by the bloggers who blog them. The list highlights the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasm participants as well as editor's pick etc.

I just made This Week's Picks (with Arrogant Penis) and that's rather cool. But I'm not just whoring myself here ~ I'm suggesting this as a means to whore yourself.

How Sugasm works is that you submit a link to your sex writing, erotica, or other sexy blog bit via this form.

Once the next week's issue (list) has been posted, and you've made the list, you repost the linklist within a week. This means your blog whores all participants (and gives you some 'free' content to post) ~ and all those participants are also whoring your blog.

It's simple enough ~ but remember, only send in your best stuff. Other bloggers are evaluating you so don't waste their time or embarrass yourself with a bad entry. Better to skip a week than show-off something less than stellar.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part Two

Continuing from Part One...

How consistent are you with managing your MySpace account? I myself intended to make weekly blog updates, but I sometimes feel lucky if I get in for messages etc. Do you think being consistent if not very active is important in social networking?

Carrie: I have to admit to not being that consistent with updating the blog on MySpace, probably because it's not my main writing blog. That is here. I also have a few other writing blogs dotted around the place that also get very few postings published to. I no longer have a personal blog to write on due to too many nasty comments and reactions. I log in at least once a day to pick up blog subscription messages, friend requests and messages. I think it's extremely important to do that because I want to keep the account updated and fresh for promotional purposes.

Jolie: My MySpace page is updated once a week. It's very important to update at MySpace on a consistent basis.

Autumn: I login at least once a day. I blog - well, I try to blog twice a week but I'm happy if I've added something interesting once a week.

Is it important? Definitely. People won't come back to your blog or your space if you don't have anything interesting to read/view/listen to. And if people write you messages and you don't get back to them for a week at a time they think you don't care. Once again, it all goes back to people feeling that they have a relationship with you. And actually developing relationships with people - not just putting in an appearance once in awhile.

What do you use MySpace for? (Here are some ideas, feel free to add your own ~ and if more than one purpose, please guesstimate percentages.)

Marketing/selling to clients/customers.

Networking with other professionals in your field.

To establish connections with press, writers, publications you hope will help promote you.

The free blog service.

Ability to start a group/community devoted to yourself or your works.

Socializing/staying connected with friends & family.

Really, it's just for the free link(s) to your sites &/or projects; you put little thought into its larger purpose.

Autumn: As I've already mentioned, developing relationships with potential readers/clients is important so that's the biggest thing for me. Not just potential buyers, but the ones who like to read for free as well. They are just as important as the buyers. (I'd say 50% is for this purpose!)

Meeting other people in the industry is important as well. There is so much to learn for someone who is so relatively new, like myself. IBA is almost a year old but I started out knowing virtually nothing. A lot that I've learned has come from people I've met ... (About 20% for this purpose.)

The bulletins are a great way to make people aware of new things you have to offer. For instance, my Members Area just opened in January, so bulletins are good for making people aware. I put on a pre-sale special in a bulletin (as well as the blog) so that people here would have a chance to purchase memberships at a drastically reduced price. (10% for bulletins)

Carrie: I use MySpace for Networking with other professionals in my field. I've received a few review requests via MySpace and establishing connections with press, writers and publications. I don't expect anybody to promote me though I've had one or two posts written about me and about my work. I would say it was about 50/50 on the percentages. I don't use MySpace for forming close friendships offline or for keeping in touch with family.

Jolie: I use MySpace for promotion.

Do you have specific goals with MySpace? (Say, hitting a number of friends, targeting specific audiences, recruiting etc.) Or do you just participate and see what comes of it all?

Carrie: I tend to just participate and see what comes out of it all. I'm quite lazy in that respect but really, it's more to do with the lack of time more than anything else. If I'd used it that way when I first started out on the Internet it would have worked out better but I didn't know about it right at the start so I missed out on that opportunity.

Autumn: Sara had some very definite goals. One was to hit 1000 friends by Christmas and I was very impressed that she did that. Another was to visit and comment on every friends page, which she also did. I, myself, not so much. My main goal is to update a couple times a week at least.

Jolie: I'd like to hit a goal of 1,000 friends, but it's not planned. I don't send out friend request. They come to me!

When it comes down to it, MySpace is just another way of networking ~ only instead of a professional organization, it's a much bigger pool with more 'public' to reach. This is good in the sense that you can reach more people, but also each profile or member is a single piece of straw in an immense pile... How do you stand out? What do you do to be found?

Jolie: I have over 800 friends, but I try to keep in contact with about 100 of them. A lot of people have me on their top 24 because of the contact.

Carrie: To increase my exposure I link to my profile from my main writing website, post comments on other friend's profiles on MySpace and I make sure my profile is attractive to look at. Most of the friend's requests I've received are from authors who I've worked with and reviewed their books/websites who have then gone looking for me on MySpace.

If you have a website or blog independent of MySpace, is there any difference between marketing/promoting it as opposed to your MySpace page?

Jolie: I update my website but it doesn't have the people interaction like MySpace does.

Autumn: Blogging, bulletins, and comments. And of course, responding to messages!

Carrie: I do have a website and blog independent of MySpace and I consider these more important for promotional purposes. My main website has been around for 6 years at various domains and I've worked hard to get it where it is today. It still requires more work, though, from me to get it higher up in the search engines. My daily traffic is really low compared to my partner's website! I consider my main website as more important than MySpace as it looks and reads more professional. It holds so much more information than my MySpace profile. I don't like to overload my profile at MySpace because it can then look cluttered and amateurish. There are no ads or pop-ups on my site.

Do you feel you reach more professionals in your area (for ex. authors meeting other authors or publishers) or more consumers (continuing the example, authors meeting book buyers or book reviewers)?

Autumn: So far I would say more professionals.

Carrie: I feel I've reached more professionals via MySpace. Mind you, I can't tell if any of the hits to my book on Lulu.com has come from MySpace or elsewhere! Few people go from MySpace to Hentracks or Sexography, though.

Jolie: Actually, both!

I find that I've had more interaction with and concrete results with professionals at MySpace ~ for example, this whole interview or conversation happened there ;) But when it comes to readers or consumers, not so much. To be fair, it's not always possible to 'see' transactions that occur at other sites. (Hits to my sites, but sales not so much.) Can you definitively state that you have made sales because of MySpace, and if so, pls. describe. If not a direct sale, what other deals or connections have made MySpace worth the time?

Autumn: Definite sales, no. Page views, yes.

Jolie: I don't have a way to tell about the print anthologies, but I have sold ebooks through my MySpace contacts. I've also received book reviews from MySpace friends.

Carrie: I can't say for definite I've received any sales or downloads from MySpace. I've got no way of tracking the hits or download stats of my freebies so I just keep them up there any way! I have had many contacts with authors though which enable me to reach them when I have review offers taking place. This is a good way of networking and it's given me an idea of changing the way I request review submissions. Hopefully, I can increase the amount of requests even further by adding the ability to accept them on MySpace.

I have made linking partners though, which is another important part of increasing your presence on the web.

So, there's a lot of effort which goes into social networking. Overall, do you consider MySpace a worthwhile endeavor?

Autumn: Absolutely. The more effort you put into it, the more you reap the rewards!

Jolie: YES!

Carrie: I would say that it is, definitely. I have had more chance of getting to know people in the same field and genre as me and it has connected me to some excellent erotic magazines thereby increasing my chances of publication. If you don't mind the ads I would recommend it to anyone for networking and promotion.

The Participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part One

You've likely all heard the hype about MySpace and other social networking sites. Praised as a huge boon for marketing, sites like MySpace sure do have potential and there's no shortage of articles on using social networking sites. Even Rachel Kramer Bussel's chimed in on the subject.

Once upon a time, any professional who didn't have their own URL was considered less than credible. Now enter MySpace and other social sites and suddenly you're told you're missing out if you don't register and begin blogging, posting bulletins and be-friending as fast as you can. If your own domain name and official website were necessary to branding, it now seems that you must be a part of another site in order to be cool ~ or at least accessible to the cool.

A presence at MySpace, FaceBook, Oomph or the like is not only a 'must do' to reach customers, but the number of contacts or friends has even been used like magazine circulation numbers to add to sales dollars. If public comments become testimonials about you & your products become the pull, the number of friends you have becomes business leverage.

Purported to be an easy tool for the marketer who believes in buzz Vs. ad dollars, is social networking the real thing?

I decided to have a few of my MySpace friends chime in with me on the subject. Meet the participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

I began using MySpace, and any and all social networking sites that I belong to, for the same reasons: I got tired of all my associates and friends telling me to join ~ and that things would be so much easier if I would message them there. I eventually gave in. What brought you to MySpace? Was it a friend, or other social reason, or was it for business reasons?

Autumn: One of my writers suggested it as a means of reaching potential readers. But now that I'm here it is for business but also very social. I love talking to people and getting to know what makes them tick!

I know that part of building a business is having a presence on the Internet and MySpace is one of the biggest places to build a presence.

Jolie: Business reasons - promotion. I started to take MySpace seriously because other authors took it seriously.

Carrie: I don't think I was ever referred to MySpace. I probably came across another author's profile and thought, "Seems like a good idea."

I initially joined for fun I think but then, saw how it could be used for promotion so I started to really push it out. I found places that provided free MySpace layouts and codes and customized my profile to make it look more attractive.

What had you heard about MySpace? Any success stories?

Carrie: Since I joined, I've read numerous articles about the promotional opportunities on the site, and have decided to stick with my account. I've met a number of good writers on here and have been put in touch with many more. So, all in all, I think it’s a good way of networking and finding friends who write in the same genre as you. Another friend of mine, P.G Forte also mentioned how much better her sales of a particular book was after posting details about it upon her profile. So, I've added details of my books to my profile and am just waiting to see how well my sales do!

Autumn: I'd heard good things from others who are musicians and in other forms of the arts and when I realized that the adult industry has it's own presence here I knew I couldn't ignore it.

Is this your first try with a site like MySpace, or have you previously tried other sites like Friendster, Tribe, Ryze etc?

Jolie: This is my first try with a site like MySpace.

Autumn: This is the first time I've been serious. I dabbled in msnspaces (under a different name and for more personal type stuff) and hi5 (I can't even remember my name there!) but only playing around. And I guess I just didn't stay around long enough to really get to know anyone. Oh, and I did spend some time at CherryTap, which is fun, but I prefer MySpace.

Carrie: MySpace was the first site of this kind for me but since then I've joined Xpeeps.com which is an adult version and other community style blogs and groups, though MySpace is the one I'm most active on. I get some pervy contacts from Xpeeps but you kind of expect that to some degree. If you visit, I have to warn you, it's a bit more raunchy on there which includes my profile picture ;)

I think it's really important to get your name out there within your chosen field so I now have profiles all over the place even if I don't update them all the time.

Between blogging, sending/replying to messages, befriending others etc, how many hours do you put into managing your MySpace account?

Autumn: For myself, I'd say a couple hours a week. But my Queen of Marketing and Promotions, Sara Winters (i.e. BlueSW) spent the most time building the profile, editing blogs, promoting, building a friends list, and doing bulletins. At the beginning I bet she spent at least 10 hours a week. She rocks!

Carrie: I put in maybe a couple of hours a week which gives me plenty of time to answer messages, approve or deny friend requests, post on the blog and read comments etc. It's enough time for me to do what I need and keep the profile updated.

Jolie: 1/2 hour a day for all three sites.

As women, how much of your time is spent not only with 'spam' messages, but the unwanted pervy approaches? (Hey, I gotta ask!)

Autumn: I get 3 or 4 spam messages a week and 1 or 2 pervs every week. That is what inspired my latest blog entry "We're People Too!" I mostly ignore them but if they are particularly nasty I send them a message to let them know it is not appropriate. They are usually apologetic and stop.

Carrie: I've been pretty lucky so far and have very few if any spam or pervy comments. My only complaint is despite setting my account not to accept friend requests from bands, some still do trickle through. I've also been notified of a suspect profile on MySpace via my Xpeeps account and have successfully managed to get it closed down. I'm trusting too much some would say and up until now I allowed free rein on my comments. That's all been changed now and my password and email login as been changed too, due to unsuccessful login attempts on my account.

Jolie: Very little of my time. I'm careful about who I approve on my friend spaces.

As you can see, working social network sites requires some dedication and devotion of time. In the next parts we'll get into using the site features & discuss what rewards there may be.

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