BloggyCon16: Lessons Learned from Sandusky, Ohio

20161005_104426-resizedOn the shores of Lake Erie, with the fabulous Cedar Point Amusement Park as our setting, I attended my first blogging conference September 17th & 18th. 30 hours later and after meeting as many attendees as possible (close to 150), my brain was full of ideas, motivation, and plentiful wisdom of which I share with you this week.

Keynote speaker, Rachel Brenke, spoke on how to Position yourself as an Influencer:
•    Cultivate your audience consistently.
•    Create an audience avatar—a representation of who your ideal reader is.
•    Keep your focus on what would most appeal to your avatar; what does he/she need or want?
•    Stick to your values—how far are you willing to go for your avatar?
*I came away with a better understanding of my audience and what their prime interests are.

Claudia Krusch of TrendyLatina and SocialCoerce spoke on Monetizing Social Media:
•    Lack of followers and lack of money does not equal a lack of blogging success!
•    Know yourself: your content reflects you and therefore, your brand.
•    Will you have a broad or a specific niche?
•    Set a schedule: reliability and predictability are vital to success.
•    Find blogger support groups and networks to learn, grow, and help.
•    Follow people within your niche on Twitter, including people and brands that are compatible with what your goals are and what your avatar needs.
•    Retweet content from others. Comment, share, and reach out.
•    Participate in Twitter parties and Twitter chats.
•    Instagram is growing fast. Get involved in a new platform.
*Social media isn’t as scary as it sometimes feels. There is debate over whether to go broad or specific in your niche. Talk to others and get their opinion!

Influencer Marketing from Tiffany Carroll of IZEA:
•    Brands are looking for creators—YOU!
•    Does your blog fit with their brand—product, service, or idea?
•    Are you authentic on your blog?
•    Brands seek blogs & creators with engagement: are your followers an actual audience or other bloggers?
•    Create interactive content that inspires readers to respond.
•    Share posts to expand your reach and the brand’s reach.
•    Try new social media platforms.
•    Quality content and blog length are what matters to readers and brands.
*I like that brands are in need of bloggers! While our numbers may be small, these brands won’t turn us away. There are ways around what we think are obstacles.

Digital Insights with Kristi Allen:
•    Know your online visitor.
•    Create a strategy based on your goals and their needs.
•    Write more content. Share more content.
•    Find new ways to share: social media, live streaming, podcasts, new media.
•    Implement Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
*I have a better understanding of analytics now. Her free download, Smarter Website Goal Worksheet, has several tips for ultimate website performance.

Creating a Culture that Connects with Brands by Tasha Branham:
•    She reiterated what Tiffany said: brands are looking for us!
•    What’s your MVP: Mission, Vision, Purpose?
•    Reach out to the brands that fit your audience.
•    Don’t wait for brands to reach out to you!
•    Write to be relatable; your audience wants to know YOU.
•    Build credibility by being honest.
*I came away with that both brands and our audience are in need of us. There is something for everyone and that we won’t gain (nor will our readers) if we always stay silent. Build your blog, share it out and reach everyone.

Other great insights came from the ‘Bloggy Squads’ in which we broke into small groups to discuss various topics: affiliates, monetization, digital products, parenting. I gained lots of new connections with homeschooling parents and will be implementing their wisdom as I prepare to homeschool my granddaughter.

The greatest wisdom came in a conversation with Claudia Krusch. She told me: Your website needs to be separate from your blog. They don’t mix and if you want either to succeed, you will need to create a separate blogging site. Not the news I wanted to hear, but necessary. Looks like that’s on my 4th quarter agenda.

One last lesson learned: this body is no longer built for rollercoasters!

What about you? Do you have blogging or content questions?

Kristen Edens