I spent last weekend at the Gold Coast.
Before you all roll your eyes at this #humblebrag, I’d like to point out that the rest of my family spent the weekend at the snow. I missed my children’s first trip to the snow.
I was a little sad about that. Okay, a lot sad. Cue all the tears.
But as I was at the Gold Coast, along with 500ish other bloggers, talking, learning and humble-bragging about blogging, it’s hard to complain too much!
1. Brands are getting on board the blogger train.
Choo-choo! All brands aboard this blogging juggernaut, stopping all stations to international interweb success and stardom!
Some brands have been all about bloggers for a long time. Others are just starting to realise that bloggers have great trust with their audiences, and better cut-through than some traditional forms of media.
If you’re interested in working with brands, know YOUR brand well, so that you can better pitch the ideas that will resonate with your audience and achieve greater success for you both.
2. Video is getting bigger and better. And it’s more forgiving than you think.
Video is EVERYWHERE. Of course, YouTube exists. Der. But all other social media platforms are also introducing (or have introduced) video.
Why? Because people want to see behind the scenes of their favourite bloggers. They want to see what led to the development of certain posts. They want to see how one could possibly create such a gorgeous Instagram feed. They want to hear your voice, see your face in motion instead of in stills, and hear the thoughts as they spring from your head instead of post-post editing.
Also, despite it being your actual face out there in blog-land instead of words to hide behind, video is more forgiving. Readers (viewers?) will forgive errors and imperfections in video that they won’t forgive in print.
Which is why people respond with glee instead of derision when I post something like this:
3. People are clever.
Bloggers are constantly told to find their niche. Find a niche and stick to a topic, so that people know what to expect from your blog. Simples, no?
Sure, it makes sense. But I prefer to give my readers a little more credit than that. I can write about words, etymologies, book reviews and current best practices in editing, and then jump across to family and parenting. I trust my readers to be able to make that jump with me.
And I trust them to jump off if they don’t want to. (I’m sure some readers jumped away as soon as they realised this was a post about blogging! A blog post about blogging featuring bloggers at a blogging conference. Blogception.)
4. Don’t let ‘this problem is too big’ stop you from at least trying to solve it.
You might have a problem with your blog that you can’t see your way through. You might see a problem with the world that you feel too small to make a dent in.
However big or small your problem is, it won’t resolve itself. You might not take the right steps to solve it; you might not take big enough steps to solve it. But you’ll never solve it if you don’t even try.
And when others see you trying to solve a problem they care about too, they just might step in to help. On that note, check out the work of Rafiki Mwema – I guarantee that once you know about it, you’ll want to help, too.
5. The boring admin stuff is important.
Blogging isn’t all writing, publishing, basking in glory, fame and fortune and enjoying glasses of champagne with your blogging besties.
Don’t get me wrong; those things rock. But blogging is also a lot of admin. A whooooooole lot of admin.
And it’s important. It’s important for consistency. It’s important for ease of use. It’s important for helping people find your blog in the first place. It’s important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
It’s important for making Google your friend instead of your enemy. If in doubt, remember this little song:
Old MacDonald had a blog
And on that blog he had only one category per post and no tags unless they didn’t produce a new page and keywords in the title, first 100 words of copy and meta description and no broken links and fast page loading and properly disclosed sponsorship arrangements and backlinks and ease of transition so that the Google bots can crawl the site easily and give him a big fat golden star
6. Ideas are as (more?) important as (than) execution.
The ProBlogger conference had a number of sponsors, most of which ran a competition during the course of the event.
Most of these competitions were visual, and I wasn’t going to bother entering. I had an iPhone, not a camera. I’m a word nerd, not a visual creative. Why bother?
But then I thought, why not? Why not at least try? (See point 4 above.) So I headed to the Olympus stand, grabbed some ribbons, replaced the shoelaces of my favourite shoes and went for a walk, snapping pics as I went. And one of the pictures won!
This is not a great quality picture. It’s not in focus. You can’t see the pattern on the right ribbon-slash-shoelace.
But it’s bright. It’s fun. And most importantly, it’s unique. No-one else made shoelaces out of their ribbons. It caught people’s attention, and it won me a voucher so that I can get better equipment and take a better quality photo next time. Thanks, Olympus! #notsponsored #winnerwinnerchickendinner
7. It is important to find your tribe.
I’ve heard this at ProBlogger every year, and I didn’t really get it. Yes, I had bloggy friends. Yes, I could go to those bloggy friends with questions and expect honest, useful answers. Yes, I loved spending time with them and learning from them.
But a tribe? Really? Do we have to define it that way?
But this year, I get it. I have finally found my tribe. How do I know?
Because I’d be devastated if I was voted out at Tribal Council.
Did you attend the ProBlogger conference? What did you learn?