How do you feel about “sponsors” for your blog?

:en:NASCAR drivers :en:Mike Skinner (NASCAR) (...Image via WikipediaHey all…

I recently had an interesting experience. I had someone out of the blue send me an e-mail asking if they could “sponsor” my blog. What it boiled down to was a paid link back to their website and the best income I’ve seen from any blog I’ve created so far.

(Every time I think of sponsorships… I think of NASCAR or the movie Cars from Pixar… Is that odd?)

My only qualm about the whole thing is that its topic (beauty product reviews) isn’t really something I thought of as a target ad for my blog (which is mainly entertainment reviews). That said, I reconciled it with the fact that probably 1/2 of my readers are women (just playing the odds here) and at least a portion of those probably use beauty products.

So I happily took the money, added the link, and was off to the races. The $$ from there will allow me to advertise via Project Wonderful and Google Analytics to further see what kind of revenue I can generate.

What do you guys think of sponsors? Are they a good thing? Let me know!

–Fitz

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Ad-sense Publisher Experiment, Day 20

ExperimentHey all…

So here we are at day 20 of my Ad-sense Publisher Experiment…

And what has it gained me? Well, not a whole heck of a lot…

As of this morning, I’ve had:

  • 386,454 Impressions
  • 142 Clicks
  • 0.04% Click-thru-rate
  • $0.22 Average click cost
  • $30.89 Total cost so far
  • 3.92 Average position

Ad-words Campaigns Day 20

And of all this… I’ve had… One sale.

Yes, that’s right. After 20 days and $30, I’ve made one affiliate sale netting me $2.45. So for $30 in PPC ads, I’ve earned $2.45. Somehow I don’t think I’m doing this right or it’s a scam.

But if it was a scam, I wouldn’t be reading about people making millions of $$ on Google, would I?

Ugh. We’ll see where this goes.

–Fitz

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Ad-sense Publisher Experiment, Day 10

ExperimentHi all…

Thought I’d put up an update on Day 10 of my latest experiment. It’s been interesting.

I dropped one of the two ad campaigns and decided to just keep the ad campaign for my affiliate site. And I have to say (and I know this won’t shock all the experienced ad words folks out there) that impressions and even clicks don’t necessarily mean sales.

Ad-words Campaigns Day 10

So for my active campaign, over the last 10 days, I’ve had 122,601 impressions and 60 clicks for a click through rate of 0.05%. And between the active and inactive campaigns, I’ve spent $16 of my $50 budget allotment for the month.

Out of my 60 clicks, I’ve had zero conversions to sales.

Considering that I’m doing this pretty much blindly at this point, the fact that I have impressions and clicks is a good start. But I’m bummed that I haven’t had ANY sales come out of my $16.00.

We’ll see if another 10 days makes things any better.

Any words of wisdom from my readers would be great! 🙂

Thanks in advance… Talk to you in another few days.

–Fitz

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Does Pictures of Pretty Girls = More Traffic?

Hey all…

I decided I would perform a bit of a test today… On my other site, I’ve posted an article about Mike Myers and Jessica Alba’s new film called Love Guru which comes out in June. Near the top of the article, I have a picture of Jessica Alba. This is to test the prevailing theory that if you have pictures of pretty girls you’ll get more traffic.

This is the picture…

Jessica Alba

Funny enough, I had a picture of Marion Cotillard (who won an Oscar recently) in one of my other postings and it continues to get search engine traffic day after day, so we’ll see if it holds true in this case also.

(Here’s the picture of Marion Cotillard…)
Marion Cotillard

I’ve decided NOT to drop any Entrecards to see what the result is. I’ll post the results later in the week.

–Fitz

Writing a good Press Release in 5 easy steps…

Hey there…

I’m starting to write some press releases announcing the release of the roleplaying game I’ve been working on and have come across some great sites with advice for creating great press releases that I will try and distill down to five easy steps… (I’ll provide links to the other resources I found also at the bottom of the article.)

So the five easy steps…

  1. I’ve seen the acronym AIDA several places while figuring out a strategy for press releases. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The Attention part is that you need to grab your reader at the headline. Catchy headlines are tough to come by sometimes, but you want to grab your reader and make them read the rest of the article. All too often, editors and writers will look at press releases and dismiss them due to poor headlines. Too many releases cross their desks every day to read something boring.So to create a catchy headline, you have to appeal to your reader’s emotions and use trigger words. Find examples of press releases written for your field. Analyze their headlines for key phrases or words. Perhaps even go so far as to come up with a variety of different options and test them on coworkers, friends, and family to see what they like or don’t like.In my case, I’m writing a press release for roleplaying gamers. A couple of places I’ve looked for press releases is at GamingReport.com and RPG.net’s press page.In these cases, most releases seem to have pretty mundane titles announcing product availability or sales. These are important topics obviously, but may not get a reader’s attention quickly. What I want to get across is three main ideas: the name of the game system, the name of the book, and what it will bring to you as a gamer.So some options I’ve come up with are:
    • Moebius Adventures: Core Rules Opens New Doorways to Adventure!
    • Moebius Adventures: Core Rules Released Into The Wild!
    • Moebius Adventures: Core Rules Book Available – Start Adventuring Infinite Paths!

    I’ll probably go with the first one. The others seem pretty corny.

  2. Now that you have your readers, you need to give them the facts. The first sentence or two of the first paragraph of the release needs to tell the reader what the press release is about. This is where you go with the traditional journalistic five words — who, what, where, when, and why. Think of this as continuing the “tease” for the rest of the release and as the first few sentences of a news cast or newspaper story summarizing the main points of your release succinctly.In my case, I’m publicizing that the Moebius Adventures game is being released for sale. The first release will be to describe the eBook distribution via RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. So my first paragraph will look something like this:

    “On November 12, 2007, Moebius Adventures releases the Core Rules book for the Moebius Adventures Roleplaying Game in PDF (eBook) format for $10.95 on RPGNow.com (http://www.rpgnow.com) and Drive Thru RPG (http://www.drivethrurpg.com). The Moebius Adventures Roleplaying Game is a universal, cross-genre rule system that will enable you and your gaming group the ability to explore multiple worlds. The Core Rules book starts the trip by providing all the basic rules for the system. Here you’ll learn about character creation, general gameplay, combat rules, and possibly even save the village of Domerre from some men with a monster.”

  3. So now you have the basics out of the way and you can focus on the other aspects, key selling points, of your product or service that customers would be interested in.In my case, I plan on providing a simple bulleted list of features for my game:
    • Open character generation system
    • Random character generation offers crunch for characters, or can use point-based system to choose skills and characteristic values
    • Simple rule mechanic for skill resolution
    • Simple, effective combat rules that take strike effectiveness into account when determining damage to combatants
    • Sample Characters and Adventure to get you started
  4. This is an optional step, but it can be very useful to include a quote from a customer about your product or service to show other customers that this new release does work for someone and isn’t just marketing fluff.In my case, I have a brand new game and very little exposure as yet. I hope to be able to use quotes in follow-on releases.
  5. Lastly, you need to talk about product availability. If you’re releasing the product, when are you releasing it? Where can they learn more? Where can the find your product? Who can they talk to for more details? Contact information is very important.

The key point here is to focus most on content, not layout or formatting. Make sure that the press release says what you want it to say clearly and concisely so that your customers can find you and your product easily and quickly!

Once you have your press release written, you can submit it via a number of free distribution websites, including:

Here are some other resources on the web for helping create great press releases:

I hope this has helped you get some ideas on your own press releases. I’ll be honing my own skills as I write some for my own products!

Have a great day!

–Fitz

NBC and Hulu.com

Hi all…

I thought all the hoopla about Hulu was interesting over the last few days.

A few months ago, NBC decided to pull out of iTunes and not renew. They were making piddly numbers and thought they could do the whole digital video distribution thing better and make more money at the same time.

Well, Hulu.com is the result of their labors. It’s in private beta now, but the upshot is that NBC controls the content and distribution of their own properties, which is probably in their best interests. Evidently it will be shared with NBC partners and other channels and small networks such as Sundance, Style, Golf, TV Guide, and National Geographic. The other major stations (CBS, ABC, Disney, and Viacom) haven’t yet signed on.

I find it interesting though in the land of free TV with YouTube, Blinkx, Joost, Blip.tv, and others, that NBC is going this route. However, since advertising is king, I anticipate that commercials will find their way into the equation somewhere.

Amazon’s Unbox service seems very similar to what I’ve seen and read of Hulu also, so I’m not quite sure what the differentiators are in the market. Hopefully that will become more clear when Hulu leaves private beta and becomes open to the world.

What does this mean to bloggers and advertisers? That’s tough to say. I believe that in the world of digital distribution, links are king. So I would hope that NBC (and others) would be smart enough to offer some sort of deal for associates pimping their products, but that’s just me. I’m a TV junkie and will watch in a variety of formats I’m sure.

What do you think? Will this impact an already crowded online TV market? Or do you think NBC may get it right and lead us to a nirvana of digital TV distribution?

Chime in!

–Fitz

Using Squidoo Lenses for your Blog

Hi all!

If you haven’t discovered Squidoo yet as yet another way to get the word out for your blog or product efforts, might I suggest that you take a look?

Check out my lens

Squidoo allows you to take your blog and wrap it in what they call a “lens” — you can use RSS feeds from your blog or add your own text (or html) as well as hooks into various search engines and other web presences like Technorati, CafePress, Amazon…

I’ve created a couple of lenses — one for my T-shirts (the one above) and one below for helping get some traffic for the Moebius Adventures roleplaying games.

Check out my lens

There are thousands of folks using Squidoo and it comes highly recommended by the CafePress community, so check it out!

–Fitz

Zazzle vs. CafePress

Hi there!

Just yesterday I posted a blog entry about CafePress and promoting your business via that service (you can see the article here). While looking for other folks doing similar things, I came across Zazzle. It has a much nicer way to present your products to your user via their widget, like this:

You have many of the same options as with CafePress, but a nicer front end for your consumers.Something to consider!
–Fitz

CafePress for Advertising

Hey all…

I know most of you have been around the block a time or two with advertising, but I’m just now getting my feet wet with marketing and advertising for my other publishing effort for the Moebius Adventures Roleplaying Game.

A few months ago, I started trying my hand at designing funny or thought-provoking t-shirts and bumper stickers via CafePress. I’ve even sold one shirt to a complete stranger, so my shirts must not be too bad. But with the impending release of the first Moebius Adventures book, I thought I’d put some products out with the Moebius logo on them to try and share the “Moebius” love and get the word out a bit. (You can see my efforts here.)

CafePress is great because they have a wide selection of available products. You upload your design, and within minutes you can have a plethora of products from t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, books, and so on. (Recently they added the ability to create signs for political awareness, among other things also — so they’re continually adding new products.)

If you want to design more than a very few products, you have to pay their fee for a store. But it’s minimal. (Less than $7 a month.) And to get the word out, it can be quite handy to stick on a shirt or a button or slap a bumper sticker on your car to get everyone to your site or your product line.

It’s obviously not for everyone. I’m not a graphic artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I can see my way to creating a few things here and there to help myself out.

So check them out. Depending on what you’re doing, it might get you a few more readers or sales!

Until next time…

–Fitz