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The Internet is Spiritual and Other Things I Learned at Blog World

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People don’t spread Meh” Scott Stratten, on why you shouldn’t write crappy blog posts…

If you aren’t sure what a blog is, you’re reading one.  (Okay, only .5% of you would need that explanation, but just in case my mom’s reading this…)

Blogging has opened up the world to more new ideas than ever before because it’s easy, and unlike traditional publishing, no-one can tell you that you can’t publish a blog.

My own blog grew organically like a wild mushroom in a cattle field except it smells a lot better and it doesn’t make you trip.

My blogging got started because people were asking me a lot of questions about success in art.  At first I tried answering one-by-one with e-mails and in person at parties.  But I was missing out on the dancing, and it took too much time that way, so a-blogging-I-did-go.

Being the dedicated blogger that I am, I went to Las Vegas last week for the Blog World Expo (#BWE10 in Twitter Language).  I wanted to learn a few new tricks about blogging.

My dear readers, that trip set me back about $1,500.  Being the giver that I am, I’m going to share with you what I learned, for free.

The Five most important, game-changing things I learned at Blog World:

1.)  THERE’S A WHOLE NEW WORLD ONLINE – TAP INTO IT or MISS OUT

We live in a two-dimensional world:

  1. REAL WORLD
  2. ONLINE WORLD

The Online World has many less inhabitants, but it contains the most powerful ones that you find in the Real World.  Some people in the Real World have no idea that the Online World exists.

Here’s the million dollar lesson that I learned at Blog World, which is worth the money I paid to go:

How to Connect with would-be supporters, sponsors and benefactors:  There are many people who can ONLY be reached through the Online World.  This is because it’s the best way they connect and where they spend most of their time.

If you want someone to sponsor your show, or buy your paintings, or buy into your ideas, find out how they connect in the Online World.

Example:  I wanted to ask Ford to sponsor a TV Show that I’m producing (it goes on air Jan 2011).  I got the name of the guy I should approach.  I found his blog and in it he has a section called “How to Pitch Me” and it’s all about reaching him in the Online World.  A phone call wouldn’t work on this guy.

Message here:  Get familiar with the Online World – there are many opportunities there that don’t exist in the Real World!  Get with it or miss out.

2.)  SOCIAL MEDIA:  THERE ARE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT!

Social media includes Facebook, Blogging, Twitter, Linkedin, all those applications that connect you to other people.

Social Media is one big, fat, crowded nightclub.  You’ll find all types there:

  • The creepy guy in the corner (stalker)
  • Pissed off crew-cut dude with the bad attitude who hates everyone (troll)
  • The wallflower; and
  • The ego maniac who says “read my tweets” but doesn’t read yours.

And then there’s everyone else; my people:  The ones who want to connect, share ideas, spread information and do nice things for their virtual friends.  These are the doers, the movers and shakers and the most famous and successful.  There’s a reason they made it as far as they did.   They are polite, sharing, thoughtful, and appreciative.

Don’t be the creepy guy in the corner, or the jerk starting a fight.  You’ll be kicked out of the virtual nightclub and nobody will go home with you.

3.)  CONTENT IS KING:  A very awesome Canadian guy named Scott Stratten gave the Keynote address at BWE10.  He stressed that you SHOULD NOT blog on a schedule, but instead, BLOG GREAT CONTENT!   He wrote a great post called Frequently Futile on this topic.  (Thank you Scott, I got tired of writing on a schedule!)  Can I just say that Scott Stratten is the most engaging speaker I’ve ever heard?  OMG!  Love this guy!

Scott also said that you should make it easy for people to leave comments on your blog.

It’s all about conversation, and if you put a muzzle on your readers, it’s a one-way conversation.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD:  IF YOU HAVE A BLOG – MAKE IT EZ FOR ME TO COMMENT.  Add a plug-in that lets anyone comment without having to sign up for DISQUS or GOOGLE or BLOGGER or anything else that I don’t want to sign up with.  Do this TODAY!

4.)  RELATIONSHIPS RULE:  In the blogging and the Online World, Relationships Rule.  Just like in the Real World, now that I think about it.

Use your Blog and Social Media to connect with others and build relationships.  What does that mean, exactly?  It looks like this:

  • Retweet something someone else tweeted that you either liked or think that your people will like.  Share a link to a blog post in your Facebook page.
  • Place links in your blog posts to like-minded bloggers who write content that you like.
  • Share, like your mother taught you when you were little
  • Appreciate and remember to thank people who share with you.  Yes, your mom told you that, too.

Someone has something you need, and you’ve got something they want.  You trade it, only in a polite manner and without expecting anything back.  (When you don’t expect it, it usually comes back anyway.)

My good friends, the dynamo duo Darin and Lisa McClure, have helped tremendously with getting my blogging and social media up to speed.  (They’re the reason I went to Blog World!)  Lucky for me, their kid goes to my kids’ school, so Darin’s always “schooling” me on the newest thing online.  Darin and Lisa specialize in all things blogging and social media. For help with your stuff, Check ’em out at Ready to Go Information Technologies.

5.) THE INTERNET IS THE MOST SPIRITUAL TOOL EVER INVENTED:

This is a loving, caring world we live in.  The internet has allowed us to help more people, share more ideas and give more assistance than ever before.

The internet is the most spiritual tool ever known to man. It’s enabled people to connect on a level you can’t reach in the Real World.  It’s given us the ability to get to know people intimately that live thousands of miles away from us.  It’s a beautiful form of freedom and expression and connectivity.

If we all treat each other with love and kindness, we can eradicate the negative.  The internet is a perfect tool for that!

SHOULD YOU START A BLOG? If you don’t have a blog right now, consider starting one.  If you don’t know how, call someone that can help.  Here’s a couple of  resources:  Darin & Lisa of Ready to Go Information Technologies or my good friend Debbie who specializes in low-cost, quality website design.  There’s also ready-to-go websites for artists you can find through a Google search (although they have ongoing monthly fees).

Why artists should have a blog: Every day I look at artists’ websites.  The first thing I look at is their artwork.  The second thing I look for is the little tab that says “blog”.  I click on it and I learn about the inner workings of that artists’ mind, their methods and what their pet peeves are.  And usually I’ll leave a comment (as long as it’s easy to leave one.  Refer to #3)

If there is no blog, I’m disappointed.  There’s no way to connect easily.  Sending an email feels awkward, since I live in real time in the Online World most of the day.

IF YOU HAVE A BLOG AND WANT TO IMPROVE IT: I have two affiliate resources for you, both of which I stand behind 100% :

31-Days-To-A-Better-Blog31 Days to Build a Better Blog:  I bought this over a year ago and I still refer back to it regularly.  It’s simply the best e-book I have ever read on blogging.

Blog Triage Course: An online course by art business guru Alyson Stanfield.  I haven’t taken this particular class yet, but I’ve taken other classes of hers, and I’ve read her book.  She’s a wealth of knowledge!  (Sign up for Alyson’s free Art Marketing Action Newsletter.  It’s a terrific resource.)

As for my own blog:  I’ve been working on a three e-book series called LIVE BY THE PAINTBRUSH where I tell artists how to make money NOW.  I give real life stuff that you can implement that will put money in your pocket using your talent as an artist.  If you want to be notified when it comes out, please sign up for my e-mail list on the side bar of this blog.

I also just finished an e-book titled LIVING THE DREAM – Break Free of the Status Quo and Create your Dream Life.  This will be a free book that I send to every person who signs up for my newsletter.  It will be available in a couple weeks.

Blog World Expo was a lot of fun and I learned many new things.  Maybe next year I’ll see you there?!

Maria xxoo

Photo Credit:  Scott Stratten’s came from his website.  I didn’t even ask, because I know he’s cool and won’t mind.  The photo of me and Lisa at BWE10 is by my “Chilean Miner” Darin R. McClure.  He’s cool, too.

.

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36 Comments The Internet is Spiritual and Other Things I Learned at Blog World

  1. Olivier Longuet

    Maria,

    Very good post once again! 100% agree, facebook and my blog alone have proven to be quite helpful at connecting with people. I have been commissioned for pieces, got exhibitions and had many pieces sold through facebook alone, here and abroad.
    I have found ta regular updates is key, for me, and I try to provide a painting/drawing/sketch or news about my art every every day on FB and every third day on my blog.
    If anything, after stagnating for 1 year, the response I get is pushing me to get off my butt and paint and that’s always a good thing.

    Reply
  2. Marie Kazalia

    Maria,
    Great, inspired and inspiring article.
    I have taken A. Stanfield’s blog triage course, and I can only say I hope she has added to it and updated it since then….

    Reply
  3. Alex Sanso

    Great post as usual, Maria. After starting a blog a few weeks ago, I have made a few posts, but honestly feel that blogging is just not my thing…as much as I love to connect with people virtually, since I work at home alone. I’ve already thought of taking it down and just sticking to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn. My trouble is I fret too much about what to post, and next thing you know, I’m not creating! arrgh! Maybe one of these books will help.

    Reply
  4. Scott Stratten

    Thanks Maria!

    It amazes me that people use the same method to try and reach out to everyone, and don’t see that people are perfectly open to conversations in other methods.

    I hate the phone. I talk for a living and yet despise talking on the phone. I can be reached 11 other ways. So when someone emails me asking if they can “pick my brain” (aka unpaid advice) and want to call and chat, it makes me go batty.

    Great post!

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Scott, Thanks for your comment!

      I should have mentioned in my post, that your Keynote was the HIGHLIGHT of Blog World for me. You are a dynamic speaker, with a lot of insight.

      Also: Thanks for being cool about me “grabbing” your image from your site! (I knew you would be)

      Reply
  5. Amy Pryor

    Hi Maria – Great post. Thanks for saving me the $1500 I don’t have right now. Need to sell more paintings. I’m new to the blog world and I do love this form of communication. I am noticing how much of the art world is actually leaving the phone behind. Everyone wants to communicate in cyber space.

    I’m glad that I am using most of your tips already, but I really need to get my web site and blog all in one location. I need to figure out how to do that. I love the look of your site, so I may reach out to your San Clemente referral.

    I really look forward to getting your e-books.

    XOxo, Amy

    Reply
  6. Dianne Poinski

    Thank you for sharing what you learned last week. I already know of a few things I need to change.

    After feeling kind of geeky about the time I spend on the Internet, I loved what you said about it being “Spiritual”. All of a sudden I felt calm, with warm and fuzzy feelings of being connected in a big and beautiful world. Great way to start my day. Thank you!

    PS I did take the Blog Triage class – I highly recommend it!

    Reply
  7. Lori Woodward

    Thanks Maria for sharing your experience at the convention. The thing I’ve learned about blogging is that one needs to offer something that’s helpful to readers (which you certainly do), or else something entertaining.

    I’ve so appreciated all I’ve learned from others for free on their blogs and websites. You’re one of those who shares all the pertinent stuff.

    Thanks again, Lori

    Reply
  8. Mike Story

    Okay, okay…Blog Great Content “Frequently” (for those of you not inclined to blog at 3:21 every Monday and Friday. 🙂

    The point is – engage in quality conversation that’s relevant to your audience as much as possible. If your blog is attached to business goals (lest you be unemployed and have all sorts of free time to kill), then Scheduled content should be part of your strategy.

    Think of it like how surfers check the waves religiously every morning to see if it’s good. Mother Ocean has the best loyal audience of all time and puts out quality content quite often which keeps us coming back. -;) …Oh, and THANKS MARIA for another great blog post! (per #4, bullet 4)

    Reply
  9. Deanna Adona

    Great post! I’ve been trying to figure out the whole blogging world. I’ve only been doing it for a month now and I stress about trying to get at least 2-3 posts out a week. It’s nice to know it doesn’t have to be that way. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Srinivas Rao

    Maria,

    I love the spin you took on this of the Internet being a spiritual thing. When I came from blogworld I said “this wasn’t an expo. It was a gathering of remarkable people doing remarkable things.” When Scott said that he’s met some of the most amazing people he’s ever met in his life on Twitter, I realized how true that was. I’ve been harping on MBA students to just start a blog while they are in school and they won’t be scrambling when they get done. Yet, almost none of them do. It drives me nuts. I’m so glad to have you in my network of contacts and friends.

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      @Srini – That’s some great insight when you said: “This isn’t an expo – it’s a gathering of remarkable people doing remarkable things.” You said it!

      I’m glad to have you as a friend, too! 🙂 And, following your sage advice at BWE10, I’ll be adding that “inner circle” to my Twitter account!

      Reply
  11. aileen

    I hate talking on the phone too! It’s funny… I don’t even have many of my friends’ current numbers. E-mail and Facebook are the way to go for me. Anyway, thank you for sharing your BlogWorld experience! I have to say that I’m not super big on blogging. I only share when it’s something worth sharing. Still, it’s hard to retain an audience when my posts are erratic! Oh, the dilemma!

    Reply
  12. Kyle Thomas

    Maria,
    Fantastic again. I want to get away from just posting new work and news on my blog, to writing posts with substance. My problem is figuring out what to communicate. Sometimes, it’s really easy, but most times, I just don’t know what to write about, or more specifically, how to articulate the thoughts I want to get out? And then secondly, how does one connect with the audience? Practice practice practice, I guess.

    I don’t like talking on the phone either.

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      To Kyle, and everyone else struggling with posting fresh works: Don’t Stress over it! Take it easy – do it in your own time.

      I have a great tip regarding the problem w/ “figuring out what to communicate and how to articulate” – Write when you are STRUCK with an idea. Stop everything and write at that moment! Write your ideas quickly, as they stream out of you, then LATER go back and edit and spell check and clean it up.

      I find that if I write at the moment that I am inspired, either by joy, anger, excitement, or the realization of a new idea, it comes out so much smoother (than if I force it).

      Blogging should be enjoyable, not another chore on our to-do-list. Write when you’re in the mood, when you will have fun with it.

      Reply
      1. Alex Sanso

        Ok, Maria, THAT right there was one of the best tips for this blocked neophyte blogger! It’s so liberating to know that I don’t have to be a daily fount of wisdom. And to not have to make it perfect right then and there…just write when inspired! I love it. Thanks. (and thanks for following my tweets!)

  13. Doris Nickerson

    I have neglected both my Blog and my newsletter lately because of personal problems. I did not think people wanted to read about life’s ups and downs. However, I decided to go ahead and put something on line now to explain my absence. I certainly needed some tips and something inspiring at this point. So thanks — good advice.

    Reply
  14. Heather L. @ Starving Artist's Wife

    Fantastic post, Maria! Thank you for all of the great info, for sharing the things that you learned at the expo! I am not an artist but I am a blogger, so there was a lot in your post that spoke to me.

    My husband is an artist (Bob Langston), so I am going to pass this along to him as well. I have been thinking about starting another blog about him and his surf art, trying to get his name out there even more. Doubt that I could ever do what you do for your husband but I want to support him and promote him as much as I can. You have been such an inspiration to me! Thank you!

    Looking forward to your upcoming e-books!

    Reply
  15. Diane Hennessy

    Wow Maria… You’re such an articulate young lady! Of course I’m very proud to see my kids mentioned here (Darin and Lisa)… I think they’re pretty special too! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  16. Danny Cruz

    I really enjoyed this one too María. Thanks for sharing. Of course you meet great people in the Online World. The first time I ever contacted you and Drew was online. That was before I ever expected to be involved in Twitter, blogging, and so on. And of course, I’ve also meet great people like Darin and Lisa… through you (online) as well.

    Keep up the amazing work María. I can tell it’s been very fulfilling. -Danny

    Reply
  17. Archan Mehta

    Maria,

    Rest assured, I am glad to read your blog posts every single time.
    You have found a supporter in me and your virtual friend, to be sure.

    Sorry I missed you at the expo. Then again, I have wanderer’s legs.

    I have too many friends both in the real world and virtual world and I am always trying to escape from them. I am really popular, but now I find my friends have started to hate me for being a jerk and avoiding them. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all, right?

    Sometimes, there is nothing like a solitary walk in the park.

    It can set your soul on fire. I am not sure I want to spend so much time on-line anyway.

    I must leave if the trees and flowers beckon and whisper my name.
    The outdoors is the true spiritual experience for yours truly, but I remain your fan anyway. I may be perceived as eccentric, but my heart’s in the right place. That’s why I read your blog. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Archan, I cannot believe that you and I were both at the Blog World Expo and did not cross paths! I am so disappointed!

      Had I known you were going to be there, I would have written your name on a huge piece of cardboard and held it up at the entrance until either you found me, or I got arrested….

      Next time we are in the same place, look for me! Yes, I know you are famous and that’s the reason for your anonymity, but you and I, we go waaaay back.

      Thanks for always being there, on my blog!

      Reply
  18. christine adolph

    Small world. I read your blog and just moved into a studio across the street from yours! Hope to meet you in person sometime. This and several other licensing blogs have been very helpful. Grateful for all the good info people are willing to share! Thank you.

    Christine

    Reply
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  20. BOMONSTER

    Maria, I just discovered your wonderful world of valuable insight. I started a blog on my website and am still figuring it out. I like the wordpress blog comment filter because so far I mostly get spammed with lots of illegal pharmaceuticals and body part enlargement links. I wouldn’t want those to appear on my blog entries. Plus I’ve received from very inane comments translated from another language to english and I’m not sure what to make of them. So consequently I haven’t reposted comments – which makes me look like the ego maniac. There’s got to be balance somewhere there.

    Reply
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  22. Chris Charney

    Hmmmm, the internet and spirituality…I must admit, I was seeing the crowded nightclub connection much more easily. But what you so brilliantly pointed out is the fact that no time in history has had such an incredible connectivity without regard to country, race, class, or religion! The sharing of ideas is the most spiritual act I know, and suddenly the opportunity to connect with people has reached “biblical” proportions!

    Reply

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