5 things I learnt from the ProBlogger Training Event
Last week I went to my first blogging conference. Actually, it was my first conference full stop.
This was the third year Darren Rowse and his team have run the ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne and the two days were a big bloggy love-in, with some amazing speakers (yes, I may have stalked out Sarah Wilson at the networking drinks on Friday night), loads of insights into where blogging is heading in Oz and a huge dose of motivation (my favourite part).
As well as meeting some gorgeous guys and girls – shout outs to Christina (Hair Romance), Serena (Pretty Fluffy), Cara (Ultra Inspired), Rose (Stylista Mama), Steph (Lipstick & Cake), Kesh (The Bold and the Blunt), Caz and Craig (YTravel Blog), Suz (Stylise), Rhi (Hummingbird’s Song) and Melissa (Suger Coat It) – and catching up with online buddies Rach (In Spaces Between), Chantelle (Fat Mum Slim), Nikki (Styling You) and Jess (Epheriell Designs), I realised how much I actually have learnt in the four years I’ve been blogging, and on the flip side of that, how much more I could be doing. Right now!
Here are the top five things I took away:
1. You’re never too small to make it big
Darren’s opening keynote speech hit a chord for everyone in the room, I think. It was a great reminder that every blogger has to start somewhere. Everyone starts small – and focussing on a niche can actually be to your advantage. Darren invited some great bloggers up to speak who make a comfortable full-time wage with smaller readerships that you would expect.
This is where’s important to set goals for your blog. What do you want to achieve? Is it important for you to earn a full-time wage? Or are you happy to be able to supplement other income? Is it more about advertising your skills and expertise so you can gain work in other areas, like writing or speaking gigs?
Aim to have a BIG impact on those you already reach, rather than striving for traffic to rival Psy’s “Gangnam Style”.
2. The majority of bloggers are highly introverted
When you read some blogs, with their private confessions, bare-all posts and exhibitionist Instagramming it’s really hard to imagiune that the person on the other side of the screen is struggling with self-doubt as much as you are, and really has to push themselves to ‘network’ or speak in front of a crowd (this is me, absolutely). Caz Makepeace even posted about this self-debilitating feeling of insignificance yesterday on her Mojito Mother blog (yep, some of us bloggers are gluttons for punishment and run two blogs. For fun.).
When Darren kicked off the day he made light of this and recommended people make use of the couches around the room for time-out instead of retreating to the toilets, which got a good laugh because we’ve all been there.
3. Instead of trying to build a blog – aim to build a brand
Your post is one of half a million posts going up that day. Yep, that’s the sobering reality Stanley Johnson from Brand DNA presented in one of the first sessions of the conference. If you want to be heard over the noise of the blogosphere, you really need to show people what you stand for. What is your thing all about? What is your unique voice?
This is where it’s time to get real, people. What sets you apart from all the rest and how are you going to show yourself off to the world?
A rather unflattering pic of me with the lovely Nikki from Styling You – the lady knows how to brand herself!
4. You must value yourself
With bloggers becoming successful independent publishers in their own right, it’s no surprise that brands are (slowly) sitting up and taking notice. The fabulous Lorraine Murphy from blogger agency The Remarkables Group is really passionate about bloggers being valued for the ‘people power’ they posses.
It was clear from the discussion in Melbourne that lots of bloggers are being asked to provide content free of charge every day ‘for the glory’ – but when a blogger has a highly engaged audience, the brand is not only getting their words, they’re
highjacking leveraging the power of the blogger’s brand.
Lorraine suggests it only takes a dedicated following of 5,000 unique visitors per month to be taken seriously, and there are plenty of companies out there with big budgets to play with! Why not d your own ‘kick-off’ session and write down the brands you genuinely like and then research which ones are active and approach them with your ideas.
5. You can achieve success with 15 minutes a day
What can you do in 15 minutes? Well, quite a lot if you truly dedicate those 15 minutes to a specific task on a regular basis. Darren challenged everyone at the Training Day to put aside 15 minutes a day to work towards a blogging goal. Remember, from little things, big things grow!
As yourself: What action will I take today that will grow my blog?
Darren suggests you could use those 15 minutes per day to:
- Write an ebook
- Contact potential advertisers
- Write emails for your auto-responder
- Create videos for a course
- Create a media kit and advertiser page
- Plan an event
- Look at what other blogs are doing in your niche to monetize
As for me? I’m going to dedicate (at least) 15 minutes per day to creating valuable content for As Seen In. Sure, there’s a service element to this site (see, love,buy!), but I also want to make a connection, get more personal and give you something valuable to take away.
If you can’t believe you missed the big event this year, the good news if you can purchase a virtual ticket and listen to all the wonderful presentations and soak up all the info at your own pace at home. There is a HUGE amount of information included in the audio recordings and the slides from each presenter. Highly recommended! Virtual tickets are available here.
Were you there?
What was the number one thing you took out of the Training Event?
Photos: Having fun in the Smilebooth, Nikki ParkinsonPin It