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 things I learned at BlogHer ’12*
- Everyone has a story. Just because you live it every day doesn’t mean it’s not interesting to others.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- As a personal brand, you’ll never be a success in this space if you’re a jerk in real life.
- It takes five to seven years for a business start-up to be profitable. A blogging business is no different.
- Find the blogging people you want to be when you grow up and stalk them.
- Blogs give voices to people and allow them to be authentic.
- 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?
- 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.
- Give brands the stats they want and don’t lie about it. You’ll only get caught out.
- Big readerships are not everything. Do you have a “rockstar” influence over a smaller group of readers? Then that will work for you too.
- Are you engaged with your readership? On the blog and on social media networks?
- Don’t get so wrapped up in yourself that you forget that you have an audience and that they are your customer.
- Become a real resource to people so they come back to you.
- 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.
- Decide what you are willing to do for free. Value your services so that other people value your services.
- If you want someone to give you money for something then you need to be worth it. There are a lot who are not.
- What is it about you and your blog that makes you stand out from the crowd? Own it and sell it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask brands for money – or more money – if you don’t ask, it won’t happen.
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.
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
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.