Blogs with Balls, June 13, NYC

I was in New York on June 13 with NESN, visiting the Blogs With Balls conference, which is a conference for people involved in both blogging and sports.  The conference is still in its infancy, with an attendance of around 250, and it was held in the basement of Stout, which wasn’t all bad, since the Guinness 250 lunch started around 11:30. Rockin’ good times.

The conference was an eclectic mix ranging from CEO’s of blog networks like YardBarker and SBNation to individual bloggers who have taken the leap from corporate life to the risky world of independent blogging.  Conference topics ranged from leveraging social media and working with content networks, to getting down to business with making money with your blog.  I especially enjoyed Kathleen Hessert‘s discussion about how Sports Media Challenge proposed Twitter to Shaq, and not only did he embrace the technology, but his Tweets now have a circulation larger than the daily circulation of the New York Times.  Simply astounding.

Three Things You Need to Know

My largest takeaways from the conference:

  • Become a portal.  If your site can be the start of a discussion, you can increase users and traffic exponentially.
  • Join a blog network.  If you haven’t considered it, joining a blog network can be a tremendous benefit to your traffic.  I’m going to get into more detail on this in a future post (I’m reading “ProBlogger” right now…)
  • Integrate related industry content gracefully.

Become a Content Ninja

I’d like to get into a bit more detail on that last one.  It seems to me that there are a lot of large blog sites out there that do one of the two following items, and do them well, and lead their category or niche because of it:

  1. Offer original content.
  2. Offer aggregate content.

It also seems that the tendency of companies that already do one is to stick with that one, and not designate much focus to the other.  What I heard resoundingly at this conference is that if you can master both, and do it with a little flair, you can likely top your niche or category.  The trick is finding enough original content to come up with, and being tech-savvy enough to incorporate the aggregate content.  Of course, there are new web services like Yahoo! Pipes that are making this easier to accomplish practically daily.

Definitely Check it Out

Overall, this was an extremely beneficial experience, and I would recommend it to anyone in the New York area who has an interest in sports on the web.  Definitely check it out next time around.  They’re supposedly going to post video from the show on the BWB site, so keep an eye on it over the coming weeks.

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