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Friday, August 12, 2011

You May Be Asking - What Is paper.li And Is It For Me?

Is paper.li for me?
If you spend any time on Twitter and you blog using hashtags (#) when you share you blog links, you probably have received a tweet that says, "The Yada Yada Daily is out. Today's top contributors are @YOU and a bunch of other people." There will be a link to the Yada Yada Daily and you can scan through it to find your article. At the top, it invites you to start your own paper.li. You may be asking, "What is paper.li, and is it for me?

I tried to do some research on paper.li before I tried it out, to see what it was all about. I couldn't find much info. The big question I wanted answered was: Can I make money with it? The answer to my question was yes and no.

Setting up a paper.li is FREE and very easy. Settings are simple and easy to understand. Within about fifteen or twenty minutes, you can be a paper.li publisher.

paper.li was started in Switzerland a while back. The developers teamed up with Twitter. What it does is it automatically creates a newspaper, which can be published on a daily, morning and evening edition or a weekly basis.

The newspaper gets its content from Twitter or Facebook users that include links, photos or videos in their tweets. You can control what content your paper.li gathers by selecting up to three Twitter hashtag (#) categories, keywords on Twitter or Facebook, a single Twitter user, your followers and the people you follow or an RSS Feed.

A couple tips. If you choose to gather content from the people you follow, you better be following some good people. I mainly follow Twitter power accounts - 100K followers and up. My paper.li includes content from the NY Times, LA Times, CNN, Mashable and other highly respected sources of content.

If you follow a bunch of boobs with goofy diary blogs and pictures of their tattoos, then the content on your paper.li will be pretty crappy - unless you love body ink. 

I had one problem. I follow a woman whose claim to fame is tweeting links to naked women. I follow her because she amuses me, but I've never taken the time to check out her links. Today, I was looking at my paper.li and in the photo scroll was a picture of a naked woman with her legs spread open and grabbing her breasts. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Fortunately, you can click on an X at the bottom of the content and remove the content or block any future content from that person.

You can select the time of day that the paper.li is published. And you can move articles around a bit, but you don't have total control as to where they go. You can basically click an arrow that puts an article at the top of the page. If you have several articles of your own that wound up in your paper.li, you can stack the top of the paper with your content.

paper.li publishes itself automatically depending on the frequency you select in the settings. You can even select to have the paper.li promote itself automatically. It sends tweets to all the people that unknowingly became contributors to your paper. "The RogerBlazic.com Daily is out. And guess what, @YOURINIT."

Can you make money with paper.li - yes, but indirectly. paper.li will populate your paper with ads. There is no revenue sharing for those ads. They keep all the money. However, if you have a blog and you frequently produce content that falls into a certain category and you set the hashtags and keywords to match the content and hashtags that you use, you can actually have a lot of your posts picked up by your own paper, which helps promote your blog. So, if you get more visitors to your blog and it is monetized, you would potentially make more money.

Look at paper.li as a marketing tool, not a real revenue generator.

I set mine up a couple months ago, messed with it the first week and then completely ignored it. I found out today, that if you don't log in once in a while, the paper.li stops publishing. Mine had quit two weeks ago and I had no idea it was out of business.

Because paper.li scours Twitter for content, your daily announcement goes to a bunch of people you probably don't know, and that could lead to more followers on Twitter.

I've noticed some traffic from paper.li, but nothing compared to what I get from Google and other sources. However, since I've done nothing but the initial setup, I consider this all gravy traffic.

What you'll also find is that even if you don't have a paper.li, other publishers have settings on hashtags that will pick up your content, if you use the same hashtags. I write a lot of humor and I know of about six or seven paper.li publishers that have their paper set on #humor, #comedy, #rofl, #funny and a few others. I also write about #mentalillness and that is one of my settings on my own paper. So, those articles get picked up by my paper.li.

Becoming a paper.li publisher only makes sense if you produce a lot of content. If you write one post a week, then you won't reap any traffic boost from your paper.li. I post a lot. In five months, I've published over 360 posts on three different blogs. Most of them on this blog (300+). Because I'm cranking out content every day, my paper.li might have 25% of the content from me. That's highly beneficial.

Because I've produced so much content, I have another trick that ensures I get my articles in my paper.li. I use Tweetdeck to program posts from my archives and have them sent out a couple times a day over the course of a week. If I'm sleeping or not near my computer, tweets are going out with my content and they inevitably wind up in my paper.li.

If you are a content producer and you set your hashtags and keywords properly in the paper.li setup, you'll benefit. If you don't produce any content, you're wasting your time.

I think enough people on Twitter have seen a paper.li paper and they don't pay too much attention to it. There is an option for people to subscribe to your paper.li. After three months, I have 3 subscribers. I get upwards of several hundred views a day, but no one wants to have it tweeted to them on a daily basis.

You have to look at yourself and what you do, and you'll be able to answer the question, "What is paper.li and is it for me?" Happy publishing.

PS - I just got a tweet from a paper.li called The Vegas GO Social Daily. I was pumping out a post on surviving the Vegas heat using Tweetdeck yesterday and today. This paper.li searches for #Vegas #LasVegas - both of which I used when I sent out my post. So, I got some free promotion. And FREE is good!!!!

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