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I went to my first blogging conference last weekend: the ProBlogger Training Event on the Gold Coast. Holy balls, it was a little bit Hollywood, a little bit high-school and a whole lot of brain jam. I was star-struck, nervous and awkward, and completely over-stimulated most of the time, but I did manage to take in a thing or two, which I would like to share with you now.
Lessons from the ProBlogger Conference
- Post to Facebook 2 to 5 times a day. The first session at ProBlogger blew my mind. I made a to-do list about eight pages long and could barely keep up with Amy Porterfield as she gave us her favourite Facebook marketing strategy. That’s a bit long and complicated to explain here, but I’ve oft wondered if there was a magic number (or range of numbers) of how many times to reach out on FB. She also described the perfect posts: 80 characters or less, with a picture, something personal, a sneak peek, a request for help or a how to. These are all most likely to get your fans’ attention.
- Set goals for your blog and be clear about its mission. Mr ProBlogger, Darren Rowse, sparked this thought, which was then compounded by many other speakers including Trey Radcliffe and Caz Makepeace. Then Claire Bowdich brought it all together by saying, “A successful business solves a problem.”
- Be afraid. I think all 450 attendees wrote these two quotes by Darren down: “Fear is a signal that something important is about to happen. Pay attention to it.” Followed by, “Even wobbly courage is courage.” What are you afraid of? Taking the plunge to blog full-time? To reveal yourself to your readers? Or even to step back a bit? Whatever it is, break it down and then tackle it.
- Stats are people. The lovely Brooke McAvery from Slow Your Home said this, actually in relation to the point above – “I realised that every number on my Google analytics page was a person.” Although Brooke was talking about her fear of being judged, that sentence made me think about my readers – a small but dedicated number – and how I cherish every one of them.
- Uphold professionalism with flair. Katie180 cracked everyone up when, in response to Darren asking “Did that help you find your voice?” she said flatly: “Oh it was never lost.” From Katie, I learned that you can be factual and present accurate information infused with your own personality and style.
- Your email list is the bomb. Forget about Facebook, Google +, Instagram and everything else that sucks up your time. Your core focus should be your email list, as this is the one thing you own and that can’t be taken away from you. Okay, so don’t just forget about social media, but use it to drive your email list and build, build, build!
- Use a series to hit difficult keywords. If you really want to rank for a competitive keyword, Jim Stewart suggested writing a series of interlinked posts that all hit it.
- Tags are for users, not search engines. You probably already knew that, but I didn’t.
- “If you don’t track it, you won’t improve it.” The Google Analytics session was way too late in the day and I had experienced three kinds of meltdown by then, so I will have to go back to the recording and start again. But, Ned from Tweaky.com was dead right: if you don’t know how to watch the numbers, you can never truly know if they’re going up or down.
- It’s time to take this thing seriously. I’ve been to a few conferences now, from travel writing to freelance journalism to writing for young adults… So they have all been to do with writing. It’s what I do, okay? After every one, I get home pumped full of ideas and motivation and it’s always the same message to self: this thing that you do is real. It reaches real people, it affects them. Stop dicking around and take it seriously instead of shoving it at the end of your list of qualifiers with a rising intonation on the end: “I’m a writer, and a journalist, a mum, a wife, a pet owner…. oh and a blogger???” Blogging is a business and there are fortunes to be made (I’m not just talking about money, fyi). Expect big things, friends. Big. Things.
Did you go to Problogger? Did you want to? If you want me to elaborate or answer any questions, chuck them in the comments and I will get back to you just as soon as my head stops spinning.