22 things I learned at BlogHer ’12

Tomorrow we pack up and end over to the West Coast.

My time in NYC has been broken into two parts – BlogHer ’12 and after-BlogHer ’12. I moved so quickly into the after-BlogHer ’12 mode and have so tightly filled the days since that it’s incredible to believe that just one week ago I was sitting in sessions at a conference that attracted close to 5000 fellow bloggers.

As an aside, you know what was really incredible? Despite the sheer number of bloggers in attendance, I managed to run into the other Australians (there were only about 25 of us) at just about every session, over lunch … or on the dance floor at Sparklecorn! 

To be honest, after the first day of BlogHer I was left feeling a little let down from what I’d heard in the sessions I’d attended. You know how you can have menu envy at a restaurant? I had that with my choice of panels. Apart from the iPhoneography session and Martha Stewart’s keynote, I was left wanting.

I had come to BlogHer to be inspired, to be educated and to learn from some of the biggest female bloggers in the world. What I learned on that first day is, just like any conference, a panel of speakers is only as good as its moderator and the preparation each of the panelists brings to the table.

Day 2 of BlogHer ’12 was another story.

The topics were spot on for me. The speakers were smart, sassy and super prepared. I came away with a big smile on my face and the inspiration I was looking for to take my blog into 2013 and beyond.

Here’s just a snapshot of the things I took away from BlogHer. Some I’ve taken on already. Some I’ve noted. Some I’ll tackle as time permits.

What you choose to do with them is up to you.

22 blogging tips from BlogHer '12

22 things I learned at BlogHer ’12*

  1. Everyone has a story. Just because you live it every day doesn’t mean it’s not interesting to others.
  2. If pitching yourself to mainstream media as a source or contact (great for raising your blog’s profile), be real, eager to help, accessible and likeable to the journalists or producers concerned.
  3. When you start treating yourself like a business, other people will treat you like a business. Even if it’s just you at home in your pyjamas in front of your computer.
  4. If you’re savvy enough to come come to a blogging conference, you’ve already invested in your blog and yourself. That is a good thing.
  5. Consider investing in an assistant to do the jobs in your blogging business that you least like doing, freeing you up to stick with the creative side of your blog.
  6. As a personal brand, you’ll never be a success in this space if you’re a jerk in real life.
  7. It takes five to seven years for a business start-up to be profitable. A blogging business is no different.
  8. Find the blogging people you want to be when you grow up and stalk them.
  9. Blogs give voices to people and allow them to be authentic.
  10. When working with brands you have to speak the language of the people who are going to pay you. What ROI (return on investment) can you offer?
  11. Know your blog’s demographics. Eyeballs (page impressions) are important but the better you know your audience, the better you’ll be able to reach out to brands for the right fit.
  12. Give brands the stats they want and don’t lie about it. You’ll only get caught out.
  13. Big readerships are not everything. Do you have a “rockstar” influence over a smaller group of readers? Then that will work for you too.
  14. Are you engaged with your readership? On the blog and on social media networks?
  15. Don’t get so wrapped up in yourself that you forget that you have an audience and that they are your customer.
  16. Become a real resource to people so they come back to you.
  17. From a marketing perspective, in order to start charging for anything, you need to show you’re an influencer. You have to know that your audience will purchase something you write about before you approach a brand you’re keen to work with.
  18. Decide what you are willing to do for free. Value your services so that other people value your services.
  19. If you want someone to give you money for something then you need to be worth it. There are a lot who are not.
  20. What is it about you and your blog that makes you stand out from the crowd? Own it and sell it.
  21. Don’t be afraid to ask brands for money – or more money – if you don’t ask, it won’t happen.

Key message

The overwhelming message that came through for me during my time in and around BlogHer ’12 was that it’s VERY OK to make money off – or because of – your blog.

This is something that US bloggers have been leveraging for more than six years.

Many of the big-name bloggers I spoke to were quite surprised that this was even an issue for blogging and bloggers in Australia.

Martha Stewart said we should not have a problem with monetisation and Saturday keynote, Katie Couric, who’s just about to launch her new talk-show, has already recognised the power of bloggers … allocating two seats to each of her shows to bloggers.

Katie Couric at BlogHer '12

Oh, and President Barack Obama addressed the BlogHer ’12 conference live, via video. Yes, he did.

We are bloggers. We are smart. We are important.

And that’s good to know.

Which of the 22 points above held meaning for you and your blog?

* Most of these key learning came from two sessions attended on Day 2 of BlogHer ’12. Thanks to Amy Bradley-Hole, Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco, Cecily Kellogg, Monica Barnett, Alli Worthington, Lyz Lenz, Paula Gregorowicz and Sarah W. Caron

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Thanks so much to everyone who plays along with my Saturday blogging linky. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round. It’s a bit like having a mini online conference here every week.

Remember if you want to join in, just add your link below. Please fill in the box where it says “name”: STYLING YOU: A blog post. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.


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  • http://blog.downthatlittlelane.com.au/ Tessa White

    As a personal brand, you’ll never be a success in this space if you’re a jerk in real life.

    If you want someone to give you money for something then you need to be worth it. There are a lot who are not.

    I love the first one so much and it is so true, so important and will always come back to you 10 fold if you are genuine and NOT a jerk. The money for something?.. oh my.. I am amazed by people being amazed at how much my little website does for little to no reward and even when I explain I am doing it to proove my worth so they will happily pay me more later they just don’t get it but I donlt get why anyone would pay good moohla for something with no obvious ROI.

    Fab post, thanks Nikki

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      It comes back to valuing your time and what you do and whether it’s worth your while doing something for nothing (or little money) … if you’re looking at a longer term picture then that will work. x

  • http://www.katerinaa.com/ Katerina

    Thank you Nikki, you always inspire me to keep going when I feel like giving up so point 7 about 5-7 years for a business to be profitable needs to be always kept in mind. I would love to work with brands but my stats will not impress yet. So I solider on doing what I love doing and keep coming back to you for inspiration and stalking. My goal is to be in New York in 3 years. 2 would be good if I didn’t have a child doing HSC that year so bring on 2015.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Katerina, when I started my business four years ago I didn’t want to know about the five year thing ;) But it’s panned out that way. The biggest thing I learned was to be open and adaptable to different ways to earn money because of or on your blog … what you might think is the way to go now might open up to be something very different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/whimsicaldale Rebecca

    Thank you Nikki!! As someone who has been “trying” to start a blog for a while (I’m going to invest in a domain name in the coming months), a few points stood out for me…
    3 (really need to start promoting myself and small business better!), 4 (hoping to get to the Problogger event in Melbourne, even if I don’t yet have a “proper” blog), and 8 (I stalk to pieces all the people I love and adore in the bloggesphere).
    I’ve been hearing about all the amazing events and blogging forums from a number of people I read, both in the US and Aust., and it’s great that you’re all so generous with your sharings and learnings. Thanks again! x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Rebeecca, my big tip – just start the blog. It doesn’t have to be perfect from day one, you can make it perfect as you go and build a readership. And learning about blogging at a conference before you start makes sense to me. It wasn’t an option when I started as there weren’t any conferences in Australia.

  • B

    Number 3 for me! I need to be a bit more business like in my approach… I am not pouring my heart out as much on my blog , but, that is part of me too… I am working out where that fits into my blog as a whole. So I am working on that….

    I am gonna stalk you – my blogging rockstar! Thanks for your generosity with your time, advice and expertise! Mwah!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      B, that’s the beauty of blogging, your blog morphs as you do. And you get to decide what you feel comfortable with.

  • Posie Patchwork

    Oh Nikki, brilliant but i do really love number 6:
    As a personal brand, you’ll never be a success in this space if you’re a jerk in real life.
    Too true!! Just like in real life, where there are plenty of jerks, ditto blogging. The nicest comment i get when people meet me is that they say i am just like my blog, which is nice, yay.
    I’m all set to go attend BlogHer13, i asked my husband last night & he didn’t hesitate to say yes, as he knows what pleasure blogging brings me. Not bad seeing he could be in a war zone, or here in Australia with 4 children. Bless him, yay, love Posie
    http://posiepatchworkblog.blogspot.com.au/

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      oh Posie. that’s awesome news! My aim is to attend again too.

  • www.thefifowife.com.au

    consider yourself ‘stalked’. Thank you once again for the wonderful business/blogging advice all dually noted. Thank you xxDeb

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Happy stalkeree here!

  • http://twitter.com/alildelightful Bianca

    Thank you so much for sharing what you learnt, loved this post!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Bianca … was great to be able to attend. Want to do same next year.

  • weebirdy

    Fabulous post, Nikki, thanks for sharing some of your insights from Blogher. I still can’t believe how huge it is and it attracted the likes of Martha, Obama and Katie Couric. Wow. X

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      My pleasure Rebecca … was huge and quite surreal one week on.

  • http://www.orgasmicchef.com/ Maureen | OrgasmicChef

    Great post! I really liked #1 because I’ve tried very hard to change my style over the past 6 months to put more “me” in there and it’s made a huge difference on my blog. I laughed at #6 because I occasionally meet the wackiest people and wonder what they were thinking when they started a blog.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      LOL one person’s wacky is another’s wonderful!

  • Kate from Seduced by Beauty

    As a new blogger, I am so inspired by so many people who have ‘paved the way’ for us newbies. I have learnt that there is such a supportive community out there and hope one day that I may be able to help others on their blogging journey.

    Whenever I feel discouraged and wonder ‘why am I doing this’ I only have to go online and read inspirational and supportive blogs to have the courage to continue on.

    Thank you Nikki for sharing your wisdom (and life) with us and I look forward to following you for years to come.

    xx Kate

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Go Kate … this makes a lot of sense. If you love it, keep going at it. You have the power to make it what you want.

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  • Minna

    Hi Nikki
    I love your blogging….this is why I stalk you…in a friendly way of course :)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I love friendly stalkers :)

  • http://www.redcliffestyle.com/ Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    Excellent post! Rachel x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Rachel … hope you get one or two things out of it x

  • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

    Find the blogging people you want to be when you grow up and stalk them? Well, don’t mind if I do. I also stalk the writers I love {on twitter mostly} because their style is something I want to emulate in my own little way.

    If you want someone to give you money for something then you need to be worth it, omg yes! I have seen bloggers joking about missing deadlines or writing posts in the last hour before it’s due and I cringe. If I was to laugh and joke with a client in my business about staying up all night to knock their submission out because I’d left it to the last minute, they’d sack me. And tell everyone they know not to use me. And rightly so. I think the brands I work with would {and should} too. Once you except payment, it’s business, stop messing around and do it properly. Or don’t do it at all.

    A great post Nikki. Lots of great information and reminders there. I do LOVE the Saturday morning bloggy fun. As usual, I’ve gone and had my say all over it. Ha.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Well, hello lovely lady … my Saturdays would be very lonely without you here And you’re spot on re delivering work in a professional manner for a brand. Not only for your future work but also for the future work of all bloggers. Every time we work with a brand we are helping the education process between bloggers and brands. If one of us stuffs it up, we’ll potentially stuff it up for a whole lot of others bloggers.

      • http://www.sugercoatit.com/ Melissa Walker Horn

        Absolutely. 100%!

        Glad to be here. You KNOW I moved my schedule around to fit in with the linky. It’s THAT important. ;)

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    That is very interesting,But oh so true,everyone does have a story to tell,makes me think I maybe could help others by telling mine …..Maybe!!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Maybe yes, Lisa … we’ll get you blogging yet!

  • Cherie

    Great post Nikki, thanks for sharing. Glad they recommend stalking ’cause I am stalking you, oh that sounds creepy, you know what I mean, your blog and blogging style!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I’m very happy to be stalked ;) And not creepy at all x

  • Deborah

    Nik, I guess the thing that I ponder on relates to the point of ‘what do my blogs offer readers?’

    I mean, why WOULD they come back….?!

    PS. Having trouble signing in properly today!

    Deb

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Sorry Deborah … not sure what’s happening there. Why do readers come back? Well, I think it’s because they relate to you and your experiences. That’s a biggie. We all want to relate to others in some way – or find the people who we can relate to.

  • http://vicky-lifeonthehill.blogspot.com.au/ Vicky Finch

    “Everyone has a story. Just because you live it every day doesn’t mean it’s not interesting to others.”

    This. Probably because the first sentence is something I say. Often. The second sentence, that is one of the reasons I write. To not only release the tension of the constant chatter in my head, but also in the hope that my experiences may offer something to someone… Even if it’s hope.

    “Consider investing in an assistant to do the jobs in your blogging business that you least like doing, freeing you up to stick with the creative side of your blog”

    Now, if you are ever in the market for one, I’m sticking my hand up! Shameless self promotion at work, but in my other life, administration is something that I am very good at. :D

    Great list Nikki. I struggle to give myself financial worth. Its why I paint, and give them as gifts to people I love. I save the $ by making the gift, but I’m giving them love. I find it hard to put a price on something. Now, exchange of what someone else can do for what I can do… Barter, that’s something I do feel comfortable with.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Vicky, I love what you picked out of this list … it’s so, so true … and yes, I’ll very much keep you in mind re the admin thing … and work on that price thing. It feels funny at first but makes decision making all the easier when you’ve put a value on what you do. x