Are you ready to make money blogging? I am. I’ve been thinking about it, leaning toward it even, but I really just decided so for sure today. You see, today was Thanksgiving, built for rest, relaxation, and mastication. And all I could think about was blogging.
Blogging here, blogging on my other site (Omaha.net), getting more unique traffic, more user email addresses, writing better content, doing more, making more money.
So, how do you do it? You know, I’m not totally sure. But I have some ideas. This week, we’re going to dive into Twitter. Consider this your slice of culture with your travel + music. I promise I’ll be back soon with something more Robert Zimmerman and less Mark Zuckerberg.
Twitter’s a social media site, and if you don’t know how to use it, there are plenty of places to turn to. This post is more about how to power use it:
- How to rapidly drive up your follower count
- Get your Tweets Retweet-ed
- And monetize the result.
I’m going to be doing a lot of linking, so let me make this clear: the people I link to are smarter than me.
Their names are BIG for a reason, and this post doubles as a reading list. If you have limited time, read their content, not mine (the links will open in a new window). I’m adding some value to the noise by giving you a Cliffs Notes version of the many sites I’m referencing.
But promise me you’ll go back and give them their due when you’re not drunk off of tryptophan.
As an added bonus, if you read the whole post, you’ll get a free book from Audible.com. Seriously, I swear it’s in there, you just have to read and find out where (*yea there’s a minor catch, but you’ll thank me if you follow through)
Everyone knows that companies use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, heck even MySpace (grrr), to either make money or promote their brand. But you don’t need to be “selling” anything to make money from Twitter. You can get paid just by firing off messages – “Tweeting.”
And you can actually get paid a lot.
Jeremy Schoemaker, founder of Shoemoney.com, has already made almost $35,000 using ad.ly, the Twitter advertising service that promises you 12% of the earnings of anyone you refer. That’s in addition to the sweet MacBook Pro’s they give away. Take the hint, sign up.
Ad.ly lines up Twitter-ers with advertisers, giving people the choice of whether they’d like to be paid to promote a product or service through their Twitter account. Not a fan? Think it’s weird that their website only shows up in text form on my laptop? Yea, I do, too. Luckily, this article lists a BUNCH of other options:
Bill Bolmeier is not a major player on the Internet, and is easily the smallest name out of anyone mentioned here (aside from myself, of course). But he seems like a bright guy, and he took one of those Twitter advertising options, Sponsored Tweets, and decided to make some money. He outlines a strategy that will get you in the neighborhood of 15,000 Twitter followers in six months by using services that find people for you to follow. These people then follow you back.
Then, you take all your sexy followers over to Sponsored Tweets and charge $20 bucks a pop for in-line marketing.
It’s a damn confusing game for advertisers to figure out who is a quality promoter of their product, but some general advice for, you, the publishers:
- Don’t post too many ads
- Tell people that you’re advertising
Do those two things, always double-down on 11, and you should be fine.
Seth Godin, who quite possibly owns the internet, likes to Tweet about his posts using twitterfeed, which automatically makes Tweets for him based on his RSS feed. He’s too busy to write his own posts because of the books, the blog, and because HE FREAKING OWNS THE FREAKING INTERNET. Which is time consuming.
Unlike some other names on this list, he doesn’t seem very interested in Twitter. So, why is he here? Because people Reweet the crap out of his blog posts, essentially using Twitter to do his marketing for him.
Guy Kawasaki has Retweeting figured out. From what I can tell, he has it all figured out.
To the best of my knowledge, all he does all day is read interesting news stories and Retweet them. That’s about it. He’s not only a professional Twitter-er, with a legion of 194,000 followers and change, he’s a market mover.
Aside from making gobs of money working for Apple in the early 80s, he’s also started gobs of other ventures that make gobs of money. He currently seems most focused on Alltop, an RSS aggregator (which will seem more humorous when we get to our last innovator).
Guy LOVES repeating good Tweets.
And why not? Twitter feeds are brief, no one goes back to look at old Tweets, and people aren’t necessarily on when you’re on (and no one’s on when I’m on, between the hours of midnight and 5AM). To steal his analogy from this post, TV news stations repeat the headlines all day, and so should you (though, this still doesn’t excuse MTV playing The Real World: Gary, Indiana eight times a day).
Guy Tweets 24/7. Apparently, people that are serious about Twitter neither read nor write Tweets on the website. Guy uses TweetDeck on his computer and a duo of apps on his iPhone (TweetFlip and Tweetie). For the record, my $15 Kyocera oPhone, as in old, is fond of the “tip calculator” and occasionally turns itself off without warning. But hey! It has a “world clock.”
Guy’s also into Objective Marketer, which looks like some bad ass software as a service for posting Tweets. Click on the Solutions tab of their website and watch the video — you can write Tweets in advance and post them from a shared calendar, you can get access to crazy Tweet based and campaign based analytics — you can totally take over the world.
And we’re totally going to start using it at Omaha.net just as soon as we find a naïve yet attractive college co-ed to be our first intern/Twitter Tsarina.
Guy also likes TwitterHawk, which for less than .05 a Tweet will do your targeted marketing for you. How’s it do that? It searches for people talking about keywords you’re into and fires off a little Tweet luv in their direction.
Finally, you have to read his piece about attracting followers on Twitter. It might be the best thing I link to in this post, and you should read the whole thing. But the coolet thing I took from it?
You can be an expert on ANYTHING.
Find something that people are looking for that you know about, write 3-5 Tweets a day (using valuable links in your Tweets) on that subject, and people will find you.
Not to hang on Guy’s guy (or member for those of you who like your euphemisms slightly less obscure), but he’s a big proponent of following anyone that follows you on Twitter. His theory is that it’s not only polite, but, ultimately, it helps drive your follower numbers up as more people see your on site activity.
Now, according to some serious number crunching by Dan Zarrella, the amount of Twitter followers matters, but not as much as the content of the Tweets.
Things that are likely to be Retweeted include:
- Content that is timely
- Tweets about Twitter
- Blog posts (hint, hint)
- Anything free (like the book FREE: The Future of a Radical Price, which is on Audible.com. Wait for it. For free!)
The Top 5 most common words in a post that gets Retweeted are:
What fun. It’s like that M83 album where the track names form a sentence. But seriously, what does this show us? If you want to be Retweet-ed, ask! Write very clearly in your Tweet, Please Retweet this!
Also, post from about noon – 5pm Eastern time. This way, you catch the East Coast lunch and the West Coast day starting. Note: the numbers to back up this trend confirms my theory that most of my friends with cubicle jobs don’t do any work at all for most of the day.
Final thing to take from Dan: if one person starts to RT (that’s Retweet) your Tweets, others are likely to follow, regardless of content. It’s just built into our brains. So, get that ball rolling!
Some dude (OK it was Guy, again) also passed on additional tips to writing Tweets that will get Retweeted. He recognized that people like knowing how to do things. The phrases “How to” and “The Art of” are very popular because people like spreading knowledge when they Retweet. I’d like to add phrases like “The Secret behind” and “The trick with” to that general idea, although if you are really stuck for followers you could always try, “Hairy horse balls! I didn’t know you could do that!” Never know, it might work.
Additionally, break news, especially if you can consistently break it about a certain topic. The more bizarre the better. Put links in your tweets, and if you need to shrink the links to make them fit the 140 character limit, try using a site like tiny.cc or bit.ly. Need to count characters/words, but not on Twitter? Get GRTY.
If you believe Robert Scoble, people are turning away from RSS and getting their news directly from Twitter. While I’d still like you to click on that nifty orange RSS logo up the page and to your right to subscribe to my feed, he makes a good point. Twitter is fast, efficient, and breaks news more quickly than anything else on Earth. Just ask the Twitter-ers of Tehran.
What does this mean? It means that people will increasingly value Twitter users who can deliver them news efficiently.
As a side note, Scoble has some great Twitter lists, which are where he bases his argument on the demise of RSS. I thought he was totally bat turds crazy until I looked at one of his lists and found a sale I didn’t know about at a t-shirt company I like in less than 12 seconds.
So, What Now?
After reading all of that, you should be totally jazzed to either start acquiring more Twitter followers or start using Twitter as a larger part of your every day media stream. In return for this great bounty of knowledge, I’m going to ask you for a small favor. This blog is still super small, and any one of these three things would help it grow:
Join Twitter, follow me @jordyclements, and Retweet this post using the link at the beginning
Sign up for the free email updates using the box with the subscribe button up and to the right. This will deliver you an email every time I update the site.
Comment below and tell me if there’s anything I could shed a little light on next time. I’m thinking a little advice on how to start a blog (how to purchase a URL, how to use WordPress) might be helpful. What do you think?