DigitalDeron

Create Digital Content. Step Three: Profit.


Best advertisers and affiliate programs for me

As promised, I’ve done some legwork investigating various affiliate marketing programs, in effort to find ones that will work for my content.

My Goals

As I mentioned in my last post, I know that with my (so far) low traffic numbers, I’m going to want to find programs with high pay-offs, even if they don’t pay off as often.

I do want an affiliate network or two, just because I feel like one must.  There’s a professionalism that comes with having household brands associated with your site, even if that relationship is wafer thin.

I’m guessing my audience will be the types visiting in search of information and expertise.  So good options for booksellers will be key.  I need to replace Amazon, since it recently dropped all of us California residents from its affiliate program.  (The move was probably supposed to get me to rally in support of Amazon against my state government, but honestly I pretty much feel like I’m being used as a political pawn by a corporation wining about having had a tax break long enough to get its foothold, and finally being asked to pay what any other business would pay…  Just me?)

Finally, I’ll want to identify integrated affiliate programs, meaning ones that give me a percentage of the sale for as long as the subscriber uses the service.  Obviously, this has the greatest long-term potential.

So… here’s what I came up with: Continue reading “Best advertisers and affiliate programs for me” »



Time to pick affiliate marketing options

Sell out?  Happily!BACKGROUND

I started my first blog, ScreenwriterGuy.com, back in late 2006.  At that year’s Creative Screenwriting Expo, a speaker said that there was no excuse for a writer who didn’t blog, and that evoked a sense of duty.  Still, for those first few years, blogging was a hobby, a curiosity, and a half-prioritized exploration of what this whole web 2.0 thing was all about.  BrevityTV.com launched in 2008, also built on WordPress software.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve built many WordPress sites for clients, and actively maintain six of them for myself.  But I’ve been inconsistent over the years.  I’ve only dabbled with Twitter, Tumbler, Digg, etc.  I’ve gone back and forth on consistently reading my RSS feed.  I’ve gone long vacations from postings between flurries of posts.

Only this summer have I entered the Era of Getting Serious About It.  And we’re at the beginning of that process.  I’m not new to blogging, but I won’t kid myself…  For all intents and purposes, my mature web presence is just beginning.

ADVERTISING STRATEGY

On the question of whether or not to advertise, my answer is whether.  Again, getting serious about it, so…  I’ve baked advertising into site design from day one.  I absolutely do NOT have traffic to justify it, but neither do I want to have to reface my sites in a year to make space for ads.  And, even if the income merely trickles, why not lap up what I can?

I’ve done almost no advertising in association with brevityTV content, except on YouTube.  So all I know so far is what has worked on ScreenwriterGuy.  For a while, I had Google ads there.  I’d make maybe $25 a month, if actively blogging, and none when not.  Like I said, not much traffic.  I also once made $100 because someone signed up for satellite TV through my site.  In all, after five half-hearted years, I’d guess that blogging has earned me maybe $300 (maaaaybe,) which doesn’t even pay for domains and hosting.

ProBlogger is the best source of advice I’ve found out there, so I started with his summary of how he makes money.  Useful information, but I have to believe his strategies make more sense for someone pulling in greater numbers of visits.  As of this writing, his #1 income source is Google, which we know won’t do super well for me.  (I think Google ads might work best for information sites wherein the user is scanning for content, and would happily jump to another site that promises that information.)  For my purposes, his second-highest earner, affiliates, seems the way to go for now.  If I can focus on high-yield affiliate programs, one or two successes could total as much as even a decent percentage of conversions might generate with my current low traffic.  I can slowly switch to volume-dependent programs as I develop some volume.

NETWORKS

The easiest source of affiliate relationships is affiliate networks.  There are numerous sites allow you to sign up, and from there apply to be an affiliate for thousands of advertisers.  I’ve tried most of them, if only to see what’s what.  None have really done anything for me.  Then again, I feel like I should have at least one in my ad arsenal, for the sake of affiliation with big-name brands.

The network I’ve used most is LinkShare.  I don’t love them.  Their site needs a UX overhaul.  (Feel free to hire me to do it for you, LinkShare!)  Management of approvals against multiple sites is annoying, and finding banner ads in the sizes I want requires too many clicks.  Then the services sends me too many emails, telling me a program is changing terms, that I should switch out my ads with the latest Monther’s Day assets, etc.  I want my ads to be less work than that.

I’ll be investigating several, and I’ll share my experiences here.  What successes or frustrations have you had with these networks?

MY NICHE

One way or another, my web properties involve content or creating it in today’s tech world.  I do not know what is relevant to my audience.  (OK, there’s work to be done.)  But I’ll start with the assumption that I’m on the lookout for entertainment-related advertisers.

My best traffic, on a consistent basis, has been my monologues over at ScreenwriterGuy.com.  I theorized that there was a shortage of quality female audition monologues and so created a few.  Even though it’s only a few, my theory has been proven correct by a steady stream of organic search traffic.  From user comments, they seem to be females 18-24 (who ever thought I’d be writing for the Vampire Diaries crowd?!) so I’ll  investigate drama geek possibilities: Samuel French, books on acting, etc.

SUMMARY

So that’s what I’m going to seek out, for the time being.  High-commission programs with entertainment-related advertisers.

I’ll share what I come up with as soon as I come up with it.  Meanwhile, if you spot any mistakes in my strategy, or have any tips for anyone like myself thinking these thoughts, please share!



Excellent use of YouTube annotation feature

Robot Entertainment came up with some excellently innovative use of YouTube annotation to demo their new game Orcs Must Die!  The user gets to make choices after each invasion wave in the game as to what will be the player’s main focus in the next piece of gameplay.  The effect is very compelling.

Check out a review of their effort at ReelSEO.

Further proof that the Robot Entertainment marketing team is stocked with geniuses?   Continue reading “Excellent use of YouTube annotation feature” »



Entertainment Artists: Organization, balance, juggling… HELP!

I'm like this guy, except with a lot more papersWhat do you use to stay organized?

I get through most personal/professional time constraint logjams with a smile and the saying, “you could always sleep less!”

But the fact is, no, there comes a point when you actually cannot sleep any less.

So… I’m throwing it out there to the hive mind.  What do you do to keep organized?

At this point, I blog on three sites, curate a third, and oversee video production for two more.  None of this is the day job.  It means trying to keep two YouTube channels (eventually), five Twitter IDs, and three or four Facebook pages all active.  Then there’s maybe 20 email addresses.  Meanwhile, I should be trying to use StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, all the various video networks… you name it.  Feels like there’s a new social network to leverage every other morning, and a dozen blogs to follow in order to keep track of the opportunities.

I can tell you what I’m not looking for here: any kind of “ten tips to keep you blah blah blah” blog post.  Nor a collection of “The best apps to manage yadda yadda.”  Instead, I’m looking for that one, silver bullet organization tip that truly changed your life by allowing you to sail above the clutter and master it all.  Does such a thing exist?

In addition to managing all the identities, I still need a really useful way to manage all the to-do list items, for myself and for my teammates.  I have a desktop, a laptop, a phone, and a pile of notebooks. I’m looking for the one magical solution that I can use as the place to keep my to-do items that will work for me always, no matter where I am or what technology I have at my side.  Any ideas?

Please?



You can write better than THIS

One writing peeve of mine is overuse of the word “this.”

‘This’ is a demonstrative pronoun. It fills in for other nouns. I believe your writing will be stronger if you actually use those nouns. Each ‘this’ is a chance lost to add visual scaffolding to the mental images your pages generate.  When that isn’t so, frequently ‘this’ could just be stricken from the dialogue altogether, and the result will be a stronger scene.

Consider this scene, from season 3, episode 5 of The Wire. Councilman Tommy Carcetti comes to the sitting mayor, complaining that he has discovered the city’s police protection of witnesses is dangerously inadequate.

INT. MAYOR’S OFFICE -- DAY

CARCETTI

I know someone who could get a lot of mileage out of THIS with the press, but fuck that, right? Because if I go that way, then everybody gets defensive, and nothing gets fixed. I’m coming to you with THIS, straight up.

MAYOR

Agreed.

(to Assistant)

Where do we stand on THIS?

ASSISTANT

You’ve already called for a meeting on THIS with the state’s attorney, and the police commissioner. It’s penciled in for next Wednesday

Carcetti look suspicious.

MAYOR

Oh, no. No, Tommy’s right on THIS. We need to act quickly. Glad you came to us with THIS. I’ll light a fire, believe me.

CARCETTI

(exiting)

Uh... You will keep me in the loop on THIS?

** Note that this is my transcript of the dialogue, so it’s possible–especially on a show with a loose feel, like The Wire–that the actors peppered in a few more of this-es.

Problem number one is that the repetitive overuse of ‘this’ blocks the scene’s flow.

Past that, could you tell what they’re talking about from the above exchange?  Here it is, written with more specific nouns.  See if it feels more dramatic. Continue reading “You can write better than THIS” »



shortest ever post about TweetDeck vs. Hootsuite vs. Seesmic

I was going to do one of those in-depth evaluations of the various features of each. But the fact is, it’s all much simpler than that.

Hootsuite used to be the best, although they didn’t let you handle more than five accounts for free.  Then Seesmic redid their desktop, and it really is the best.  Nice interface, not as much obnoxious scrolling thanks to combined columns, profile information at a click.  Their Android app trumps Hootsuite’s, too.  Both Seesmic and Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets.  Which Tweetdeck did not.

But now Tweetdeck does.  (And, by the minute, instead of in those obnoxious five-minute blocks the others require.)  So Tweetdeck it is.  It’s the clunkiest of the bunch, allows you to mark content in one of your columns as read.  The MOMENT one of the other two implements this feature, I switch over, even if I have to pay.  (Especially if they take it the step further to remember my marked messages even after logging off and back.  I know enough about coding to know that would make for, like, and extra 2K, MAX.)  But for now, with all allowing scheduling, “mark as-read” is the deciding factor.  Someone please let me know when I can get everything I want in one place.

That said, people will have different priorities based on how they use their social networks.  Which is your fave, and why?



Comedy/Romance monologue for women (20s to 30s): Ultra-romantic

A while back, I got a request from an actress named Daisy Faith for a new monologue. She was auditioning for a reality show on which the grand prize was a role in a sitcom. Daisy asked for a female version of the funny, neurotic guy characters like Chandler or Ross from Friends.

Well, the challenge spoke to me, and here’s my attempt:

First of all, I love you.

Not—I don’t really love you, like, LOVE you… We just don’t have a word… You know how in England, they’ll say they ‘fancy’ someone? That. I fancy you. Like, we say, I ‘like’ you, but that’s sorta, like, fifth grade, and it’s not enough to describe the flutter in my stomach. Neither is saying I fancy you, really… Umm… so, yeah, I guess that means I’m in l—Well, not—Don’t think—It’s just…

Woman in red sweater offers coffeeAlso, I slept with your brother.

I didn’t know he was your brother though. I hadn’t met you yet. And it wasn’t my fault; he has those, your, those same deep grey eyes, you know? So I just had to do him. I couldn’t help myself. But, I mean, of course I could resist doing him if I was, you know, doing you. Not that I want to presume any… doing. Although if you felt like… a do…

I’m going to stop using that word.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Your brother’s eyes aren’t like yours: gorgeous pools of molten steel, the depths of which reflect a hidden future that a woman may only allow herself to wish for only on a starry night, your rippling arms to come home to, each of my children with that same cleft in their chin that you have. Or… that’s coming on too strong. Right? I know it is. It’s just that you seem like the kind of man who wouldn’t shy away from Love. That’s one of the things I love about you. Well, fancy about you.

Huh? Oh… Daisy. And here I promised myself next time I’d start with my name. Anyway, yes, mocha latte coming up.

Want to use this piece for an audition? Need to know my name? Want me to create a custom monologue for you? See the monologues page.

Backstage - Casting You Can Trust


Brilliant

I especially loved the last client request. Hilarious, but… sigh.



Flash ads in Google AdWords

This week I started an AdWords campaign for ScriptDoctorGuy.com. I hit a couple snags in the process, and the answers weren’t immediately obvious or easy to find, so I thought I’d share.

I had started a keyword campaign that was getting me a few clicks, but I wanted to also use Google’s display network with some visual ads, to compare results.  So I fire up Flash, and I create the skyscraper ad displaying to the left, and I export it as an swf.  But when I upload the swf into adwords, I hit the first snag:

Flash ads must have clickTAG

Now, if you’re an experienced, intrepid web pioneer like myself, you respond to a message like that with a stalward, “HUH?!?” And you mostly likely follow it up with feelings that you did everything right, and whatever error you’re receiving must be the stupid computer’s fault. Once you’ve moved passed the five stages of grief, it’s time for “Acceptance,” also known as “Googling it to find the answer as laid out by some other poor chump, ideally with the minimum amount of reading necessary, please.”  And maybe that’s what landed you here! If so, here’s the scoop: you have to have a button on your ad.  In my case, I added a rectangle the size of the entire ad, and buried it in the background.  To get your button to work, convert it to a symbol, choosing the button type.  Then add an action, and paste in this code:

on (release) {
  if (_root.clickTAG.substr(0,5) == "http:") {
    getURL(_root.clickTAG, "_blank");
  }
}

You might need slightly different code if you’re using older versions of Flash.

OK, so I re-output my ad, and the upload went fine.  Ahhh, I think to myself.  Under 50K, smooth graphics… Now I’ll just go to bed and wake up with gajillions of new customers waiting in my inbox in the morning!

Wake up.  Check campaign.  Zero impressions.  Reason:

Disapproved

Yep, that’s about all the feedback I got from Google.  So, some digging (more that it should have taken, thank you) revealed how to see the reason for a disapproval and image ad requirements.  My problem was that my animation was too long.  Uhhh… but, Google’s requirement is less than 30 seconds, and mine was seven.  (Surely THIS error must be the stupid computer’s fault.)  So we dig some more.  You can’t have your animation looping, which is a default for a Flash output of an swf.  (At least, I never TRIED to make it loop.  It just did.)

OK, to turn off looping, you simply add an action to the last frame.

stop();

Reoutputted. Reuploaded. Now we wait. Surely THIS time my ad will be loved by all, and soon the new clients will pour in. Right? RIGHT?



Let the ‘Beat’ drop.

Last time I suggested that you want your words to flow nicely down the page of your screenplay, uninterrupted by visual description.

And that’s true.  Except when it’s not.

Sometimes you want to control the pace of a scene, perhaps helping your audience feel moments in a predetermined rhythm.  You want a dramatic pause, or a delivery that punches one part of your sentence a little more strongly and–let’s be honest–you dont want an actor to mess it up.  A common technique is to include the visual description ‘Beat,’ meaning that the actor should pause briefly before continuing with his/her lines.  You could imagine it like this:

INT. BAR CRIME SCENE -- NIGHT

An INVESTIGATOR finishes up.  He pulls a sheet over the dead body of a party girl.

INVESTIGATOR

Seems like just an average Betty, dolled up and hoping maybe she could find someone.

LT. HORATIO CAINE

Well, it looks like...

Beat.

LT. HORATION CAINE (CONT’D)

...someone found her.

My personal belief is that you should never use this technique.  I think it’s lazy writing.

“But how else can I get my actors pause where you want them to pause?!?”

Continue reading “Let the ‘Beat’ drop.” »