* Steph from Lipstick & Cake, Bree from The Blog Stylist, Darren Rowse from Problogger (I’m sure you all know him!) and some random chick from In Spaces Between, this awesome site you should tell EVERYONE about. Ha!
As I mentioned in Part I of my Problogger event recap, I loved my trip to Melbourne last week (for lots of reasons) and I wanted to share some of the highlights from the Problogger event and the lessons I learned that will hopefully be of benefit to you if you have a blog of your own.
I want to preface these points by saying that I believe a lot of the time, when you’re passionate about something, you’ve probably already read stacks of books and researched your little heart out online on that topic, but there’s something about attending a conference or workshop and interacting with like-minded people that really helps your motivation levels soar. Even if you only walk away with one great idea to implement or a new perspective on something, the event has been worthwhile in my opinion. That said, I walked away with a boatload of knowledge this time, and most importantly, a group of new bloggy friends, which in my eyes = total success!
Here are some of the points from the speakers that really stood out for me:
1. Unleash Your Passion
When you’re passionate about your blog, you attract passionate readers. People remember stories and how they make them feel. These can be your own personal stories or case studies or interviews (other people’s stories). In his talk about ‘Blogging from the Heart,’ Darren talked about the personal posts he had done on his blog that went on to become immensely popular. Videos are also an effective way to connect with your readers.
Aim to solve a problem in your readers’ life. Inspire people to go on a hunt for for information, be playful, surprise your readers, write in your own style and most of all, be really useful.
2. Think Business
If you want your blog to be a business, treat it like one. You can do so by:
1. Identifying your goals – where do you want your blog to take you? Is it simply a creative outlet – a place to document your thoughts – or do you want to eventually make money/ land a speaking gig/ consult for clients/ write a book?
2. Creating reader profiles – I love this idea. Grab a piece of paper and have a think about who your ‘ideal reader’ is (use a photo if it helps you visualise them better). Detail what they like, what kinds of things they do/ buy/ wear/ eat. Get clear on who you’re targetting.
3. Branding – what do you want people to say about your blog?
4. Defining your call to action – what do you want people to do when they visit your site?
5. Research – get in touch with your most loyal readers and get inside their heads. What do they love about your site? What would they like to see more of? These are the types of readers you want more of, so find out what’s doing it for them (or not).
6. Structured content – I do this here with Blogs to Bookmark every Tuesday and Making Me Happy every Wednesday. This is content you’ll always find on my site each week and the structure keeps me on track because I know that 2 out of 4 (or 5) days are accounted for. This may not fit with your free-flowing, write when the mood strikes posting style, which is fine but it can be a great way to keep people coming back for more and build participation levels. I’m assuming this is because people start to feel more “comfortable” with commenting on a post that they see others commenting on regularly.
7. Biz cards – go for well-designed regular ones, or if you want to do something fun and different, take a leaf out of Danimezza’s book and make up some cute badges and stick them to your business card. I got one from her that said “I’m totally going to blog about this.” Cute!
8. Network – attend events, plan blogger meet ups in your city.
9. And one from me: Think about your “elevator pitch” – although I think the term elevator pitch is a touch wanky, there’s merit in having a concise statement that answers the inevitable “So, what’s your blog about?” question. My blog is quite hard to define given that it’s not focused on one particular niche (covering inspiration across the board, from beauty to weddings, health and fitness and personal development and more) so my take-away from the event is that I need to work on summarising all that into a statement that is short, snappy, succinct.
3. Establish a Presence
1. Comment on other blogs – regularly. Lady Melbourne said in the early days she’d visit up to 50 blogs a day and leave a comment, which is bloody impressive to say the least.
2. Email other bloggers personally and ask if they’d consider adding you to their blog roll – I actually didn’t know if this was du jour these days, but well, everything helps so give it a go! I think the key is emailing the blogger rather than leaving an “Add me to your blogroll!” plea in their comments.
3. Make YouTube videos.
4. Regarding traditional media, Lucy from The Design Files said that some editors are supportive but because blogs are so prevalent these days, you need to be doing something newsworthy (eg: running a pop up shop, launching an e-book/ book).
5. Create shareable content. Take a look at the posts by other bloggers that get lots of comments or retweets and apply that formula to your own content. List posts are winners!
4. Think About Planning Editorial
If you have something you’re promoting and you want to bring attention to it – an eBook is a good example – start talking about it ahead of time. Give readers snippets, generate discussion, ask for opinions on certain parts.
Also think about big events coming up (eg: Christmas) and start forward planning. WP Editorial Calendar is a fantastic widget for planning content.
Other Fun Stuff
+ Author of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ Tim Ferriss surprised us all on the day by dropping in and delivering a punchy speech. There were audible gasps.. and yes, I was one of the gaspers. His advice: “Very clearly define what success means to you.”
+ Pink hair was abundant.
+ You know those people that are hired for events to rev up the crowd? Potential career for Mrs Woog – she had everyone in stitches and I’m pretty sure she didn’t even think she was being funny. She just was.
+ And for a bunch more recaps on the event, there’s a full list over on Problogger.
+ All in all, a fantastic event that I’ll definitely go to again next year! What about you? Have you ever been to a blogging/ social media conference, and if so. what did you learn?