It’s Wednesday night. Those of us that were all aglow with the post-conference highs from Type-A Parent Conference are by now probably hitting the post-conference lows, also known as “Welcome Back to Reality.”
For a few days, we surround ourselves with our co-workers. We catch up on many months of stories that might have been traded around the water cooler. We squeeze in lunches together, and dinner and coffee and drinks. We hug, even if we’re not really huggers because it feels so good to just belong for a few days.
That being said, if you weren’t a part of all the conference goodness, you must just about be ready to say SHUT UP ALREADY! I don’t blame you. I would too. But instead, I invite you to pretend you were there. Pretend you were me. Pretend that you had a great time with all your bloggy friends. Pretend that you didn’t do the whole “where’s your baby?” thing AGAIN (oh yes, I did). Pretend you went and you came home with a head full of knowledge that you were ready to put into action.
That’s the part I can help you with. Because I sat in every session and took notes, just like back in the old days. Except this time, I typed them into Word so I can quickly cut and paste and share some of the jewels I picked up this weekend. The only downside is I’m still not a very good note taker and sometimes, a few things get lost in the translation (translation: I don’t always remember what I meant).
Opening Keynote with Chris Garrett
Blogging from Zero to Full-Time Business
Chris works with ProBlogger and CopyBlogger. I loved his stories because he is a tech geek turned social media star that came about primarily through his own misfortunes in the world of employment (or, rather, unemployment). I can totally relate
Career Progression in Blogging/Social Media
- Doing (freelance writing, programming, good quick route to make money)
- Managing (people, projects, etc.)
- Advising (consultant and coach)
- Teaching (helping other people achieve their goals)
- Investing (instead of being a part of it, you invest your resources in other people)
* Remember: You learn more from your mistakes than your successes *
A few harsh realities…
- Most blogs suck (so don’t suck)
- Content does not promote itself (be entertaining and useful)
- You’re going to have to face the $$$ issue (don’t RUN AWAY!)
- You can’t control the conversation
- Search engines hate lame content
- The internet doesn’t care about you
Your job as a blogger
Get them to subscribe but telling them what’s in it for them.
Don’t start with sales. Make an offer only if you have something useful, valuable, and free.
Be the best YOU! (everyone else is already taken)
Landing Speaking Gigs
Aliza Sherman and Danielle Smith
Session sponsored by Wine Sisterhood
This was designed to be a hands-on session and had a limited number of spots available. I love to speak and have started doing so but this session really helped me think about what it is that I, personally, have to offer other than the ability to speak.
1. Start by identify your passions (the things you feel passionate enough to speak about)
(my personal list below)
- Social media
- Communicating in an approachable way
- Telling stories
- Real-life Humor
- Using your blogging powers for good
2. Articulate your topics
- Remember that the knowledge and experience you have to share is a gift to others.
- Conferences might be looking for someone new… a new perspective, not the same experts over and over
3. Find your audience
- Where should you speak?
- How do you pitch yourself?
Most important thing is pitching why YOU are the best person to speak about the topic and what the AUDIENCE will get from hearing you speak.
Earning with Affiliates
Session sponsored by Share-A-Sale
While I’m by no means a product-oriented site, I do like to share really awesome things I come across from time to time, whether from personal experience or a brand experience. Since moving, I signed up with the Amazon Affiliate program. I don’t want to push products but the idea of making a little money from something someone might buy from my recommendation is appealing.
- Relevancy is number one key. The content needs to be relevant to your blog space and your post.
- If you are looking to increase your affiliate revenue think about the following:
- Who are your readers and what will they respond to?
- Get away from the sidebar. Ads in the sidebar are rarely clicked. Contextual links within a post that go directly to products work best
- If you don’t have a specific writing niche and the products for your audience isn’t obvious, go with current events and pop culture. Always brings in larger traffic from SEO.
- Don’t rely on Google to bring in your traffic.
- Create a sticky site by learning all you can about your readership and audience through rss, email, capture.
- Some bloggers create additional revenue by creating supplemental reviews and available deals.
- No clear language from FTC on disclosure but it’s always good to end each post with a disclosure about affiliate links if you have used them in your post.
- Every time someone clicks on a link from your site, the cookie stays with them for the vendor specified period of time. You get commission on ANYTHING they order from the site within the specific period of time.
Using Your Writing for Good
Amy Lupold Bair, Devi Thomas and Chrysula Winegar
Sponsored Session by Shot @ Life
With all the talk of Charitable Influence, it was a no-brainer that I would attend this session. I was so thrilled to be able to spend time with and get to know Chrysula who is one of the Shot@Life champions. This is a truly inspiring session that only reaffirmed that bloggers’ voices CAN make a difference.
Get people to care about what YOU care about
- They need to know about your cause and engage in some way.
What gets people to tick?
- CAUSE IS ALWAYS PERSONAL.
- Making it personal helps you connect to your existing audience and bring in new audiences.
Try a quick exercise: What’s in your handbag and what does it say about you?
I could introduce myself but when I start sharing personal items from my handbag, you really start to get a sense of who I am and care more about what I have to say.
Be interesting first and people will listen to you!!!
When writing about a cause, if it’s not you, make it about someone in your family that is relatable.
Creating Content that Goes Viral
It’s funny to talk about creating viral content. You never really know what’s going to resonate with people but there are some key elements that are usually pretty common to those things that DO go viral.
Not all viral content is organically viral. There are companies that can help take content viral for thousands of dollars. (sad face)
The first trick is to seed a video.
“Seeding a video” => send it to your community as fast as possible
Spread it far and wide! And fast!
Know the best messengers.
Messenger = platform that shares the video, blog post – share it on Reddit, StumbleUpon, Pinterest
- Facebook – can help content go further (thank you, sharing!)
- Pinterest – good for content that is compelling in a beautiful way
- Digg, StumbleUpon – good for social sharing
- Communities on ReddIt – content is voted on
Neutral content doesn’t do as well as controversial content
Hierarchy of Contagiousness from Dan Zarella
Reach => Exposure => Attention => Motivation => Shares
The faster the transmission the wider it goes!
Give your opinion, ride the coattails of a current sensation
Read a great infographic on the art of being viral at Mashable. Key things that make something viral:
- Absolutely hilarious
- incredible or believeable
- deeply emotional
- agrees with our world view
- makes us stop and think
- isn’t covered by mainstream media
- will make someone smile
Building Your RSS and Email Subscribers
I’m horrible at fostering subscribers and building traffic. I’m still generally of the mindset that “if I blog it, they will come,” which is, unfortunately, not entirely true. Phil opened my eyes as to the power of email. Still pondering what to do with this information.
RSS doesn’t give you any information about who the subscriber is.
With email subscriptions, you can collect more information (name, birthday, email address)
3rd party services don’t care about you. You want as much control over your subscribers as possible.
Blog post is the only thing you send in RSS, no visuals or extra information.
- 300,000,000 users on Twitter create 140,000,000 tweets
- 750,000,000 accounts in FB create 60,000,000 updates
- 2,900,000,000 email users create 188,000,000,000 messages
FOCUS ON EMAIL!!!! Still a powerful medium!
Email subscription is a level of commitment: Type, send, confirm. They are inviting you into their inbox.
* Tweet and FB status fly by. Email doesn’t go away.
Email is the essential component of hub and spoke content marketing
Look at Problogger subscription options: Newsletter, and then other options (above the fold on the right)
How to ask for email subscribers:
- Learn from the leaders
- Have a clear subscription form above the fold
- Use social proof (if you have it)
- Incentives work
- Brand, baby, brand
DON’T DO ICONS! Email icon is especially confusing.
- Make your subscription form visible
- Enable social media cross-promotion (forward to a friend) – third party email can have subscribe to this page app for Facebook page. ALWAYS ask them to subscribe
- Add incentives – ebook, coupon, etc. Have a drawing each month. All subscribers entered into a monthly drawing
- Make the most of offline events (QR codes that go directly to sign up forms)
Don’t add subscribers who did not give you their explicit permission (ILLEGAL!)
Don’t interrupt visitors with pop ups right away.
The longer thay are on your site, the more interested they are
Treat your visitors with respect BEFORE you sign up.
- Use a professional email service
- Use a compelling, relevant incentive
- Be respectful
Make sure your list engages
Make people open your email
Write for 3 different reader types
- Visual (photos)
- Skimmers (headlines)
- Readers (all content)
Keep subject lines short: shortened to 35 characters for mobile
Always use dual opt-in!
Beyond Reviews and Giveaways – Blogger Outreach with ROI for Everyone
Adam Keats and Holly Hamann
Content is becoming more important than just traffic
Bloggers hierarchy of needs
===>Credibility by association
We are not just bloggers; we are content creatora!
Insight into a Brand/Agency partnership
6-9 months cycle emcompasses
- Overall planning
- Plan finalization for next year
- Plan optimization, details created
When working on a campaigns, understand the objective of the program. ASK!
“What can I do to make you look good to your client?”
Ask if they open to your thinking (what gets the most eyeballs, and goal is engagement)
- timeframe, video, photos, tweets, posts, etc.
Find out the SMIT
SMIT = single most important thing
Stand apart from the crowd
- Why is my blog more special, different than anyone else’s?
Identify the brands that you would tattoo on your arm. Those are the brands you can figure out how to work with.
Understand the value of a long-term relationship
“We look at who you’re connecting with and what you’re talking about.”
Agencies like to see bloggers who:
- Create content to engage readers
- No foul language
- No history of rants or slam posts
- No posts without photos
- Content that lacks engagement
- Blogs that do nothing but pimp
- timely content
- brand appropriate content
- social broadcast of posts or commentary
- Positive but honest experiences
- Build relationships for the future
What can YOU do for us better than anyone else?
Why am I better, different, unique?
People relationships are better than everything else!!
We Still Blog
Keynote Panel: Cecily Kellogg, Katherine Stone and Tanis Miller
While I was thrilled that we didn’t have panel after panel of the same old bloggers talking, I was excited to attend this group session, not knowing what to expect. What we got were three very powerful readings from three amazing writers.
Katherine Stone from Postpartum Progress read this post that brought me to tears. Not just watery eyes but tears streaming down my face and just on the verge of an ugly cry. Luckily, I pulled it together. But you should read it. It’s AMAZING.
Cecily Kellogg from Uppercase Woman had to follow and handled the transition with ease. Within moments we were all laughing and nodding our heads in agreement.
Tanis Miller from Attack of the Redneck Mommy changed up the program a bit. She originally had planned to read a humor piece but decided to share something more personal and more relevant in the moment.
Eventually, there was a Blogger Town Hall Meeting and an inspirational Closing Keynote with Rene Syler. But if you’ve made it this far, you probably feel like you went to the conference and you’re ready to go home now. Yeah, me too. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.
Questions? Comments? Let me know and I’ll try to decipher what I actually meant by the notes above!