On Saturday I attended at CitizenM hotel in London.
I love going to blogging workshops mainly because I love being able to meet new bloggers, no matter what blogger category they fall into. I’m also a bit of a geek and love learning new blogging skills. I think it’s really important to attend courses and workshops to keep your skills up-to-date. I make even more of an effort now that I work for myself because there’s no one around to tell me that the method I’m using is old-fashioned or there’s a new tool I should be using.
I’m terrified that one day I’ll wake up and realise the whole world has overtaken me and I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up. I don’t think this is a bad fear to have, especially in such a fast-paced industry like blogging.
Lesson #1 by Fran from
The main thing I got from Fran’s talk was the importance of Pinterest.
Fran told us that she spent just a little time on Pinterest and saw her first piece of content go semi-viral. She went from 100 pageviews per day to over 8,000 pageviews per day thanks to this pin.
These extra pageviews gave her the motivation to keep blogging and helped her realise which types of posts were getting her noticed.
She then invested in a good camera and spent time improving her photography skills. Her beautiful images are what help her to stand out from the crowd and get her noticed on Pinterest.
Fran admitted she’s a little obsessed with stats and recommended using your stats to develop your blogging strategy. Look at where you readers are coming from, what they’re clicking, what they’re spending time reading and also look at what doesn’t get much attention. This analysis should help you plan your future posts.
Loving so far. Very colourful and inspiring.
— Monica Stott (@TheTravelHack)
Lesson #2 by Carrie from GoodPrint and
Carrie’s talk was my favourite one of the day. She left me feeling motivated and inspired and that’s exactly what I was hoping for! Carrie was talking about branding and the importance of your personal brand.
One of the main things she emphasized was the fact that ‘people buy people’. As humans, we like to read about other humans. We want to learn about other people and that’s why blogs are so flipping awesome!
Personally, I’d rather read about the travels of my favourite blogger than the travels of an unknown writer in a glossy magazine. Use this to your advantage when you’re blogging and let your personality shine through. It’s your personality that will build your brand. It’s about more than just the logo and colours and fonts you use on your blog, it’s literally everything that goes into your blog.
Lesson #3 by Marlene from
Marlene spoke about changing the focus of her blog and proved it’s OK and definitely possible to rebrand.
Lesson #4 by Teri from
Teri used her blog to launch her freelance design career and still seemed a little shocked that she was able to do it. I loved how humble and gracious she was although she’s obviously very talented at what she does so I’m not surprised she’s doing well! Teri’s best pieces of advice came in the form of photography tips:
- Buy a 50mm fixed length lens – It doesn’t have to be expensive but she finds hers to be great for close up product shots
- Use natural light
- Keep styling simple
- Use negative space to enhance a product
- Use a tripod
- Take lots and lots of frames
Lesson #4 by Sarah from
Sarah is a freelance writer and I really enjoyed her refreshing and philosophical thoughts on extensionalism.
This is basically (sorry to simplify it so much) taking personal responsibility for your actions and taking control of your own life. This is something I feel really strongly about but I hadn’t realised it had a name. We all need to take responsibility for our own lives because we’re the only ones who can change them. This sounds really deep but what I took from this was ‘get off your arse and do the things you really want to do’.
Sarah also recommended getting an ‘accountability partner’. If you work for yourself and work alone at home it can be difficult to get everything done because there’s no one to answer to. Find someone in a similar work position to yourself and chat daily to keep each other in check. I do this informally with lots of bloggers and it really helps!
Amazing salted caramel brownies at by
— Monica Stott (@TheTravelHack)
Lesson #5 by Jesse from Nuffnang
The final workshop was by Jesse, the organizer of the event. She briefly spoke about her learning curve with the Nuffnang newsletter and shared some great tips.
She basically emphasized the importance of having a newsletter, suggested using MailChimp and stressed that your non-blogging readers won’t be on social media all day so it’s really important to reach them in an alternative way.
Lesson #6 from all the speakers
Every single one of the speakers put a lot of emphasis on not copying what other bloggers are doing. They all admitted that they’d looked up to ‘super bloggers’ and tried to recreate what they were doing.
Of course, it didn’t work. But each speaker said that as soon as they stopped trying to copy others and just did their own thing, their blogs were much more successful.
This sounds so simple but it’s not easy to do your own thing. It takes years to ‘find your voice’ and figure out what style works for you.
I hate it when people talk about ‘finding your voice’ as though you’re going to stumble across it on your way home from work one day but it is something that develops over time. Use blogs for inspiration but don’t compare yourself to them and try to just be yourself.
What’s the best blogging conference or workshop you’ve ever been to?
There are so many out there so it would be great to know the ones that you think are worth attending.