A lot of paid jobs offer professional development to their staff. Sometimes that professional development is thinly disguised as a golf or spa weekend but to meet tax implications there must be a degree of professional development squeezed in between a massage and a session on the driving range.
Would it surprise you to know that in my 20 years as a journalist that I can remember only three such professional development days? And I can tell you there was no spa within sniffing distance
We were told that if we didn’t complete these training days we would be less likely to get a promotion. Which is completely hilarious in hindsight because apart from CPI increases, I did not receive a payrise for the last 10 years in my job.
… and people wondered why I took a giant leap of faith to start my own business ….
Anyhoo, I got thinking about professional development and my current profession last weekend with the second annual Blogopolis conference.
I think it’s because in my former life that I never had access to decent professional development that I jump at any chance to be part of any that comes my way through blogging.
My first conference was just last year. Since then I’ve been on a roll.
Show me a blogging conference and I’m there. Can’t get enough.
There is ALWAYS something new to learn.
I go in with a very open mind to these events. Sure there will information covered that I already know but if you’re open to learning, hearing someone else’s perspective on the way they approach an aspect of blogging, might just trigger a light bulb moment.
1. Brands looking to work with bloggers should take a (tea) leaf out of Twinings’ books. Serving a high tea for morning tea – with real tea cups and spoons – at our tables was pure memorable marketing genius. Pity that some conference goers considered the tea cups and spoons as a bonus for their swag …
2. Speaking of branding. Planning with Kids‘ Nicole Avery got us thinking about our blog brand. She said we needed to get clear on our unique offering and focus on that for growth. To not try and be all things to all people. This is especially important to me to have front of mind when I decide to partner MY brand with another brand. If I’m clear on my brand first, I’ll make the right commercial decisions.
3. I loved that digital strategy director Jeff Tan could take the really geeky subject matter of SEO and turn it into something that we could all understand … or understand enough to take down notes to follow up later. All I’ve ever done in regards to SEO on my blog is fill in the All in One SEO Plugin form on each post and take a look at my top Google search keywords. Hello Nina Proudman, I thank you
From Jeff, my lightbulb moment was when he said he needed to write unexciting headlines – not clever or funny ones – just ones that people are more likely to type into Google when searching for answers. I’d been doing that on some of my “How to” posts and can see in the stat results how that’s worked in my favour, bringing more people to my blog via those posts. I’ll do more.
4. I’ve been playing on Pinterest for some time now but am nowhere near the league of the likes of Christina from Hair Romance. Her talk about using Pinterest as a traffic driver to your blog was the bomb. What I took away from her session? Have more title images and more montages that tell the whole story of the post that they’re linked to. Easy to do and great for getting clicks back to your blog.
5. Caz Makepeace from Mojito Mother and yTravel Blog had me scratching my head wondering why I’ve never done a podcast. Podcasting is tipped to become even bigger and I’m thinking that there are plenty of people I could interview for these Saturday posts plus also as part of my fashion and beauty blogging. She makes it all sound so easy that it’s now on my to-do list.
The other BIG thing that gets me showing up at blogging conferences? The people. People like you or I. People blogging about everything from fashion to interiors, to parenting, beauty, food and technology.
This particular conference I was so excited to meet some online friends IRL. And yes, the irony of having to fly to Sydney to catch up with people from Queensland was not lost on me. Not at all
Check out my gallery for a look at some of the people who I met or caught up with.
You can check out my other Blogopolis posts too:
And don’t forget, if you’ve blogged about blogging, my Saturday linky is open. where it says NAME to include your blog’s name plus the name of the post, for example: STYLING YOU: Title of Blog Post.