Mar 25, 2013

The Top 10 Things I Learned at Blissdom 2013

I have finally had a little time to decompress from my time at the Blissdom Conference. It was an intense few days packed with lots of activities and learning opportunities making the fee to attend well worth it. There is so much still rolling around in my head that I haven't fully digested! I thought it might be helpful to list the top 10 things I learned at Blissdom 2013 for all of you.

1. I've been using Twitter all wrong.

Twitter is a form of SOCIAL media, just like Facebook. I didn't fully "get" Twitter before, but now I do. It is a place to have a conversation with others from around the world. As Scott Stratten from Unmarketing said "70% of your tweets should be replies."


2. I still have a LOT to learn about the craft of blogging.

Even though I have been blogging off and on since 2006, I am still in the learning phase of it as a craft. I spoke to so many people that ALL write very similar blogs to mine. I need to learn how to make myself different. It also is very much about connecting with your readers and providing them with valuable information. It is NOT just about me blabbing on and on about myself or posting just because it's a certain day.

3. I need to own that I am a writer not "just" a blogger.

I definitely downplay that I am a blogger and tend to preface my admittance of that fact with a "just." I am not "just" a blogger, a mother, or a non-traditional worker. I am a writer and do it in a way that works for my family and I.

4. That I need to organize my writing better.

I know I tend to ramble. I also know I write in standard paragraph form. Yet I also know that when I read other blogs I skim the post because I am generally short on time. I need to write in a way that makes it much easy to read and know the point of my post within the first few lines. Then breaks out the details in an easily skim able way. (How am I doing at putting that in action here?)

5. Keywords, keywords, keywords!

Almost harder than writing the post itself, is the challenge of writing a meta description and adding keywords within the piece and as tags. You have to think about what someone would be typing into Google to have them stumble across your post. If you need help with the length of your meta information, try using a site like Meta Length.

6. Inbound links are like gold.

Search engines have special formulas for how to rank pages based on a variety of inputs. One of the more highly favored are links to and from your page. Of the two, the inbound links are the most highly favored. They can (if from a highly ranked source) be like gold.

7. I don't have to solve all my problems before I write about them.

This is a personal perception issue I struggle with, much like many other bloggers and non-bloggers alike. I don't need to be perfect and have everything in my life together to be able to write something meaningful and relatable. In fact, NOT having everything together is probably best. Yes, there will always be the negative ninnies that will judge every misstep, but by showing my vulnerability it shows that I'm real.

8. "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle" - Jon Acuff

I am a perfectionist. From a very young age, I would get very upset if I couldn't pick something up (art, music, craft) and be able to do it perfectly the first time. That's not how the world works though. Everyone needs to follow the steps of the process. Part of that is the learning and editing portions of learning any new task. I like to try and skip that and go right to "master" and when I don't succeed I get down on myself. I know it is completely ridiculous, but I now give myself permission to take it easy on me....I'm still learning darn it!

9. Women bloggers are quite a marketing force!

This truth was evidenced by the shear amount of product the various sponsors were giving away to us. Of course they all hope we will go home and write a blog post about their fabulous products and get a plug from us. It is the epitome of peer marketing and they are going after some of the most influential "Mommy Bloggers" in the business. Some were a bit more direct about their desire to partner with us in a sponsorship role, where others were more subtle in their approach. There was one coffee company that was a large sponsor, and quite honestly their approach was so direct and pushy that it left a bad taste in my mouth.

10. I need to go back next year!!!

Blissdom was well worth the cost to attend in my eyes. I learned so much! This post barely scratches the surface. Now that I have my first conference under my belt, I know what to expect and how to get even more out of my next conference. That is fodder for another post though!

Did any of you attend? Do you have anything to add to this list or a completely different take? I would love to hear your story!

Mar 11, 2013

My First Blog Conference

This is My First Bliss!

I'm taking a leap out of my comfort zone. I signed up for my first blogging conference - Blissdom 2013. I'm getting really excited as it is only 10 days away now! I have been so busy with work and my kids that I have neglected this blog. I really need to post here more as I have so many ideas swirling around my head. I am hoping that this conference will give me information and ideas for my work (Social Media Coordinator for a local Photographer) and also help me find the balance with my personal life and needs.

I will probably float between the four different tracks, as all of them are important to my work and personal life. I am a little nervous about going to this alone though. I have no established relationships with other bloggers who will be there, I can only hope there are others in the same boat as me! It does seem like they have things set up in a way that will facilitate people getting to know one another and being able to be social.

Any advice to the novice conference attendee?