So, it was Blognix on Saturday, and although I’ve written one post that relates to it already, it’s taken me until now to fully go through all my notes, process what I’ve learnt and what actions I need to take as a result of that.
I could write a giant post about Blognix. I could talk for ages about what a brilliant job Elizabeth and her team did, the splendid surroundings of the Custard Factory, the lovely lunch, awesome goodie bag, etc etc. All of that is true. But that would be less helpful for you than this…
Ten Things I learnt at Blognix:
Conferences are ace. Rad, in fact. And no, I’ve never written rad before… Through a combination of lack of time, money and confidence, it’s taken me three years’ worth of blogging to get myself to a conference. Now I’ve been to one, I’ll definitely be going back for more. Blognix feels really special because it’s a place for all kinds of bloggers, regardless of niche. I think that Elizabeth has done a brilliant job on creating a feeling of inclusivity. And, regardless of any technological advancement, face to face networking works. I’ve taken away so many little tips and ideas just from talking to people, which I know is unlikely to have happened any other way.
Branding is key. From Elizabeth herself: If you want to work out what your blog is, start with what it’s definitely not and work from there. I know my blog now. Kind of. It evolves. But I definitely know what it’s not and so I can build a brand from there. Branding is a hell of a lot more than just about logos; amongst other things, it’s about values and the ‘feel’ of your blog. Once you’ve worked out your brand values, ensure you’re consistent with them across all forms of social media, and in how you approach people. When it does come to logos though, and brand colours, use a tool like ColorPicker to ensure they’re consistent too. If you’re wanting to learn more about understanding your blog brand, I can recommend the Big Blogging Bootcamp, having done it myself in January.
Do all the ‘support’ stuff for your blog you’ve been meaning to do for ages. Add RSS feed. Check! Sort out disclosure information. Check! Install a decent analytics tool. Check! Actually start to use your editorial calendar. Check! Feeling a bit smug about this…
Podcasting is the new black. I’m a big fan of podcasts, and planning to have a go at one myself. You can all understand a Leeds accent, can’t you? The duo behind The High Tea Cast were just brilliant at explaining how to get started. Podcasts attract a whole new audience to your blog, often people who won’t read a blog, but listen to podcasts instead. Partly because they can do that whilst doing other stuff, like commuting to work, or doing the washing up, like me. The UK isn’t overwhelmed with podcasts yet, and there are not many women doing them. It’s time that changed! I’m definitely going to do this.
Multipotentialites make great freelancers. As one myself, it’s an interesting thought. Future career plan, maybe.
‘Real life’ events can be a great way of promoting your blog. Ahmed Ahmed from the award-winning food blog Dine Birmingham has made me think about what kind of event might suit Margot & Barbara…any ideas? I love the idea of working in partnership with other bloggers, brands, organisations to make something come to life.
There are lots of ways of monetising your blog without ads. This talk, from Kim Lawler, was a real highlight for me. I have a couple of ads on my site, for brands that I really like and genuinely believe in. But, it’s always been important to me, as someone who regularly blogs about minimalism and who boycotts many major brands, that I have other ways to think about monetising my site. First step: list out all my skills. I’m pretty sure I’ve got some hiding somewhere. Then, work out ways in which to bring them and my content together into something of value. Watch this space…
Reader profiles are really helpful. Knowing who your audience is will help you to write with them in mind. Creating a reader profile of your ‘typical’ reader—even if you need to create a few different ones, as I do—will keep you on track when it comes to creating content, saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to sponsored posts or brand collaborations, and making sure your brand is consistent. When doing anything, consider it with your reader profile in mind.
If you’re shy at blogger events, stand next to the cake… Yep. Because there will always be someone else coming to the cake table. And then you can introduce yourself over a brownie. Plus, having cake to talk about gives you an easy opener…
I could carry this post on for ages. Blognix has given me such a renewed enthusiasm for blogging and alongside that enthusiasm, the confidence to make changes to the site—including starting my own weekly linky ‘ The Good Things’. And because I could only go to half of the workshops, there’s definitely more learning to be done next time! Overall, what I took away from Blognix is that there’s space for us all, and that in collaboration, not competition, we’re actually a stronger force to be reckoned with. A huge thank you to everyone involved in this conference. May Blognix go from strength to strength!
What did you learn at Blognix? I’d love you to share your tips!