Sunday, May 20, 2012

What a Blog Conference Can Teach You: The Joy of Bloggy Boot Camp!!!

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I had such an awesome weekend. If you follow me on twitter or keep up with me on Facebook then you know I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Philadelphia. I loved it!!! This was my first time attending the conference and no pushups or pop squats were required. I learned so much and I made connections with at least 25 other bloggers. It was so worth it.


I know some of you may be thinking, Was it really? I say yes. A Blog conference can teach you so much. When I attended Blogalicious last year I ended up with an entire series of post detailing what I learned. SITS Bloggy BootCamp was just as informative but I’m going to try and share what I learned, what a blog conference can teach you, in only one blog post.

Let me start by saying all of the speakers were amazing. I learned so much from them. I am now following all of them on twitter and If you blog I highly suggest you do the same. This way we can all benefit from any knowledge they drop in 140 characters or less. Here is the list of speakers:

@TiffanyRom
@SITSGirls
@TipJunkie
@ClassyMommy
@AudreyMcClellan
@AzTalamantez
@DanielleLiss
@ScaryMommy
@CecilyK
@DaliBurgado
@SharonMomof6

Topics these ladies covered included Tips for Blogging Success, VLOGS & Getting Views on YouTube, Expanding Beyond your Blog, Business of Blogging, Writers Workshop, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and How to Grow Your Site. The truly great thing about this conference is that these topics, while geared toward bloggers, covered information that is useful for any entrepreneur.

Before I hit you with all the practical info that I learned, plan to implement, and hope that you find useful I just want to say one of the best things about a blog conference, or any conference that you voluntarily attend, is being surrounded by like minded people who share your passion. I definitely made new bloggy friends! Everyone was happy and excited to be there. Everyone was alert and energetic and fully engaged. Basically it is the exact opposite of attending a conference or training that you are forced to attend at work. I highly recommend you all attend blog conferences if you blog and any other type of conference or convention focused on your hobbies or interests if your pursuit are something other than blogging. Conferences are rewarding experiences. Now here is what I learned:

  • Treat your blog like a business
  • Do a business plan. There is a 1 day business plan on Oprah.com that was recommended that I plan to use.
  • A small business checklist found on savyblogging.com was also recommended
  • Set Goals – Work with intention
    • Back Casting - This is setting a long term goal and going backward finding all the steps you need to accomplish the goal.
    • Decide on 1 purpose for your blog – Kind of like a mission statement. That way, as opportunities arise you know which ones are a good fit and match your purpose. What is your end game?
  • Establish yourself as an expert. If you act like an expert you will become one
  • If you solve a problem you will make money. Solve a big problem, make big money :-)
  • Expect a payoff for everything you do that takes time away from your family and your life. There are a variety of pay offs that can make it worth it:
    • Higher Traffic
    • Recognition
    • $$$
    • Experience
  • Figure out how much you blog costs you a day. Cost to consider include:
    • How many hours per post
    • Newsletter costs
    • Training and Conferences
    • Software and hardware
    • Assistant (one day I’ll need one :-)
    • Web design
    • Site hosting
    • Logo design
  • Barter for advertising don’t pay for it
  • On average most people only blog for about 3 months (yay I am above average) so make sure to remind your bloggy friends to download your buttons at least quarterly. There is a good chance that the blogs that posted it last quarter are no longer around.
  • Join new social media sites. Even if you don’t end up using it, it prevents someone else from snagging your name. Also you never know what will be the next Facebook or Twitter.
  • Do a Printable – I have to look into this some more myself but doesn’t it sound interesting???
  • Decide your online persona. Show off your best Character Trait
  • Be seen in Real life, deals are made face to face. This is one of my favorites because I love meeting Joy Chasers. I like being reminded that there is another person on the other end of the screen communicating with me.
  • Take Advice from people who have succeeded in the way you want to succeed. You want to make money, take advice from people who are making money. You want to write a book, take advice from people who have written books.
  • Find out what your Brand is. You make think it is one thing but what do your readers think it is. Your brand is how people describe you when you are not in the room. It is what you are known for.
  • Be Ready!!!! Put certain best practices in place so that you are ready when success hits. You don’t know when that will be.
    • Set office hours for working on your blog. Set times to check email so you don’t have to be a slave computer. That way you can be fully engaged with your family or day job when it’s time for that and then be a fully engaged blogger when it is time to blog it up.
  • Know your sell out price and you decide what selling out is. That way you don’t get distracted by what others want or what others describe as an opportunity and accidently sell out for a price that is way too low. Set your sell out price high! Your sell out price is the cost of your integrity.
  • If you do Video Blogs (Vlogs):
    • Decide which ones are worth the time spent on editing. Not all of them will be worth the effort
    • Keep them under a minute
    • Lighting is most important and day light is best
    • Do not be scripted to keep it more real
    • Videos are good when you can speak about a hot topic or be early on a trend
    • Make sure people know your YouTube channel. (YouTube does pay for popular videos). This is my YouTube channel.
    • You can do response videos to other popular YouTube videos
    • Vlogs can lead to other opportunities
      • Blogger Correspondent
      • Spokesperson
      • Video Series
      • And mentioned above YouTube does pay
    • Tag and share your Vlogs
    • Don’t be a talking head, move around, use your phone or other cameras for video, don’t always use the webcam
  • Ways to expand beyond your blog platform:
    • TV – think the pioneer woman
    • Publishing
    • Event Planning
    • Spokes person
    • Consulting
      • Bloggers are well versed in social media companies are looking for our talent.
  • To improve your writing:
    • Write 7 hours a week. That’s only an hour a day if you can spread it out.
    • Try different writing exercises like the 6 word story. I did this as a writing prompt post
    • Start each morning by writing 3 pages by hand to get your creative juices going.
  • Images:
    • You cannot just download pictures off of the internet to use in your post. Even if you cite the image or link back to where you got it, it is still illegal to use if you don’t have permission from the owner. Pictures have to have a creative commons license or Creative commons for creative use (for paid posts) to use on your blog.
  • For better ranking on Google:
    • Use Google Keyword Tool to look up good key words.
    • Use key words in your title, content, and tags.
    • Don’t over use key words though, make it sound natural.
    • Use synonyms for your key words
  • To Grow your Blog:
    • Use Goggle Analytics to:
      • Look at your traffic sources
      • To set Goals (decrease bounce rate, increase page views, increase unique visitors, etc)
    • Have only 1 full post per page to encourage readers to click around for more content
    • Make sure your site is easy to read
    • Make content easy to find with Navigation and Categories
    • Be Interesting and Be Memorable
    • Do Guest Post
      • Do your best work on guest posts. Don’t save the good stuff for your own site.
      • Create a good bio with links to go at the end of your guest post.

Whoa!!! That was a lot of info. I hope I passed on enough info for you to have taken a tip or two but not too much info. After all I want you to go to your own conferences, blog or otherwise. They are truly great experiences, worth the money, and did I mention SWAG Bag (mine came complete with a new shower head, Yummy King’s Hawaiian bread & more).

Don’t you wish you were at Bloggy Boot Camp with me? What is your favorite bit of knowledge from above?

Now come visit me on Facebook to see more pictures from this weekend.

17 comments:

  1. Hey, great review. I am so glad to see that everyone else enjoyed the conference as much as I did. I kind of wish I didn't take all of that bread though. I wolfed down 1 package today. It is so good!!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Woman :-) I am also down 1 package of bread also. You are not alone.

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  2. Love it! I loved them last year. This is a great recap. I will be coming back next week when my brain isn't so sleepy.

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  3. Fantastic review!! You hit A LOT of the fantastic information! I need to get on mine...at some point this week. It's on my growing list of things to do. 1 thing at a time right?!

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  4. You know I was eagerly waiting for this post!! It's amazing what they can get out in one day!!! I love ALL of the I info! I have to bookmark this post so I can come back and get all the details!

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  5. I went to Bloggy Boot Camp in San Francisco and loved it. I want to go again. Fabulous post.

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  6. What a great recap of a fabulous event. Thank you!

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  7. It was an awesome day. I left very motivated, full of ideas, and pages of notes. Great recap!

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  8. Awesome stuff. I have yet to attend a blog conference. Are you going to Blogher? I will be attending Blogher in August. Question what exactly do you mean when you say "Do a Printable?"

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  9. What a great and thorough recap! It really was a terrific conference. So much information in one day. Loved it.

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  10. Everything was on point :) It was a great conference this weekend!

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  11. Awesome recap! So great getting a chance to talk with you on Friday night!

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  12. What great notes and I love that you gave links too. ( there were things I didn't get down, but I got them here)
    Being gluten free, I gave my Hawaii bread away but I am enjoying that wonderful shower head!! It was so nice meeting you at BBC; we were at a table together.

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  13. Yay! I'm so glad you got a chance to go! Thanks so much for sharing so much of what you learned with us. I am definitely bookmarking this post!

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  14. Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I'm fired up to attend a blog conference. I'm pretty sure Fit Bloggin will be it. You are right about convention/conferences! I go to all that I'm a member of: church, sorority, etc. I can't wait. Great post?

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  15. Amazing review - so much info! Thanks! Stopping by from SITS!

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  16. So much great information. I followed all the twitter speakers. I'm also following your blog. Happy SITS day again.

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