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@Trevoryoung from Social Melbourne introduced the session and the extremely entertaining MC – @ideasculture.
The speakers were – Pip Nicholls from @meetmeatmikes, Darren Rowse @problogger and Duncan Riley of The Inquisitor. This was of great interest to me as I am only a baby/beginner blogger.
Commonalities of the guest speakers – the ability to create community – sparking a desire to join in.
Use an authentic voice to build credibility and authority
Provide useful information (that would kind of seem obvious – but I suppose is a warning to not be too self absorbed and inward looking)
Write the way you speak – don’t be afraid to let the nuances out.
It helps to know a little bit about everything.
Never be convinced you are right.
Building Traffic – ie getting more people to read your blog
Think about who the audience is – what do they want to know? Develop an idea of who you are speaking/writing to.
Provide content that people want to pass on – Darren suggested 20 top ways to do x
Leave comments on other blogs
Have a presence in the areas you are interested in – where else do your potential readers hang out online (ie other networking sites or websites)
Look at blogs on similar topics to your own
Create value on other sites
Use of social media can add value to your blog – there was a mention that the facebook “like” button has doubled traffic to some of these blogs
The use of email newsletters as well as offering RSS feeds can add traffic.
Always using categories and keywords – being disciplined with labels
Understanding SEO hosting – as I don’t even know what this acronym is I have to look it up. – oh – search engine optimisation!
Big suggestion to not rely on wordpress or blogspot but buy one’s own domain name, particularly as they are so cheap now – and you know you will never get shut down.
Being part of community
Pip spoke about Softies for Mirabel, a craft charity exercise – how it started as a desire to not be completely inward looking but to motivate her readers and get them to participate in something worthwhile – the important of having your readers connect through something meaningful for them and for you.
Monetizing your blog
This seemed to be a bit of a “dirty word” phrase for the speakers – and I think this is because they have already worked out how to do this – and are beyond the need to “make money out of their blog”. They talked about the need to balance passion with profit, disclosing when they have bee paid to review or link to something – Darren mentioned he discloses “associated content” and what it meant to them to take an amateur hobby to a huge business. Darren and Duncan both commission writers who are paid to provide content for their blogs. Duncan also talked about how people now go to blogs as a news source.
Changes in blogging – or what they know know that they would have liked to know when they started
There are more ways now to know your readers better.
You can grow your blog with forums and newsletters
Think about whether your blog is personal or a brand.
Using video – it can be time consuming to record, convert and upload but also has benefits in reaching different audiences who might not be so text based. A tip was to always have a transcript of video material for the audiences who do actually prefer to read.
Ethics in blogging
Discussion around accepting free gifts and writing reviews. Darren talked about affiliate promotion for which he receives a commission – but always discloses.
Whether to link to things for monetary gain – or only things which really interest you and are relevant.
This reminded me to look at Darren’s blogging for beginners tips and his 31 days to a better blog.
It also reminded me to work out how to work googlereader.
The panel suggested www.jasminestarblog.com, a photography blog www.chrisbrogan.com, the author of Social Media 101, www.daydreamlily.com, art, photography and fashion, www.nickdenton.org, founder of Gawker Media and www.louisgray.com – silicon valley blog for early adopters.
I found the session very inspiring as it is great to hear about people who have taken something they are passionate about – in this case communicating their own passions – and being able to transform it into their own (more than) fulltime job – so that they can really enjoy doing something they love. It was probably pitched at bloggers who have much more of an idea of what they are doing than me – and I would love to attend a beginner blogger session which has more of the how to nuts and bolts (but I can of course also read all of Darren’s tips and buy his book to help me with this).
My favourite comment about the event: