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Danny Flamberg, Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM, Kaplan Thaler

Blogging and Building a Readership

Meet Danny Flamberg. He subscribes to 200 email newsletters, follows 2000 people on Twitter, authors a popular marketing blog and runs the digital strategy department at NYC ad agency Kaplan Thaler.

And he spends less than an hour a day on the web.

I’m fascinated with him. For me, finding the good stuff on the web is like navigating an all-you-can-eat buffet: Too many opportunities to gorge yourself without consuming anything really worthwhile. Danny comes trotting back with the proverbial lobster tail every time.

For the past 15 years, he’s advised clients like Dell, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson and SAP on digital marketing and social media. His blog, ManhattanMarketingMaven dissects current marketing trends with the shrewdness of Larry King and the humor of Peter O’Rourke .

To figure out how he works his magic, I asked Danny three questions:

1.       How do you figure what to blog about?

I have several sites and thought leaders I follow on topics that interest me. I regularly visit a few of the big research and industry news sites. And I subscribe to most of the online retailers. I scan these sites and inboxes daily, and sort the data into four major buckets:

  • What’s going on in the industry
  • What the experts are saying
  • What the trailblazers are doing
  • What’s new in ecommerce

When I’m working on an article, I look for data points across these categories until something starts to take shape and there’s a story to tell. Other times, I’m commenting on first-hand experience with the tactics and recommendations that I prescribe to clients.

2.       Why do people follow you?

I like to think people follow me because they like my voice and believe I have an interesting POV.

[It’s true! Danny’s voice is incisive, void of typical industry jargon and BS.  His posts are LOL funny. His recent take on social media: “Experimenting with social media is an act of faith; grabbing the tiger by tail and hoping to both hold on and learn something interesting along the way.”]

I blog about marketing trends and practices that my clients are talking about. I try to deliver information in a way that’s more real life than theoretical, e.g. 10 Email Commandments or 5 Ways to Deliver a Better Analytics Presentation. I use social media as a forum to trial ideas and get feedback. For example, I recently tested different labeling strategies for a sign-up button.

People follow me because they see me as an information source and expert. As a rule of thumb, I reference research data or news articles in about half of my posts.

He acknowledges that establishing oneself as an expert isn’t just about creating new content, but also includes commenting on popular industry news and studies. Danny tries to post at least twice weekly to keep the content fresh.

3.       How do you boost traffic to your blog?

My baseline circulation is Facebook + Twitter + LinkedIn. Then I use search, reposts and syndication to extend my reach.

For search, I write at least six keyword phrases for each post. I also ping every posting using Ping-o-Matic!, plus a second pinging service. I get Digg or StumbleUpon retweets on my site.  And I list my blog with Technorati and Google, plus sites servicing publicists so they can pitch me ideas.

I repost blog articles on highly-trafficked sites like iMediaConnection. I expect some of those people will subscribe, but many more will forward, repost, Digg or tweet.

TalentZoo and iMediaConnection came to me to syndicate my blog, but both accept open submissions. My advice to bloggers trying to get on the radar:

1.       Pick a popular blogging site, or an original content site with a large blog community, and repost your posts to them. It helps both sides.

2.       Go after a site that’s interesting to you, or likely to have readers interested in your POV. Ask to be included and post regularly.


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