Whatcha Makin' Now?: How to be a Better Blogger


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to be a Better Blogger

How to be a Better Blogger - Tips, Advice, and Resources shared at a blogger conference!

I attended my first in-person blog conference in August, Go Blog Social. It was amazing. Not only did I get to learn from some talented bloggers, but I got to spend the weekend with my sister! My friend Helen was also there!

What's the point of me keeping all the good information to myself? No point. That's why I'm going to share some of tips I picked up over the weekend in this week's Whatcha Learnin' Now.

Your Brand...
Morgan and Carrie of Ampersand Design Studio shared information on creating your brand and making it your own. Think about these things:
  • What's your purpose?
  • What's your passion?
  • What are your goals?
  • Be the authentic you.
  • Emphasize what makes you unique.
  • Don't be afraid to have a style, a voice, an opinion. 
  • Don't try to be everything. 

Building your blog...
  • Always be yourself. This was said by almost every speaker because it's that important. Your readers will see it and you won't enjoy the process.
  • Ask other bloggers for their media kits to gauge rates and services offered. 
  • Focus on your content. If you don't feel good about a post, don't publish it.
  • Think far ahead. (I'm realllly bad about this.) Post about specific holidays a month or so in advance so readers find you when they search. 
  • If you want to write about a tough topic or touchy subject, write the post, keep it in draft for a few weeks. Then, go back and review, remove 50% of the content and publish.
  • Take your blog off line! Attend local functions and tell everyone you meet about your blog. You never know when someone might know someone who is looking for your skills. 
  • HAND-WRITE a thank you note to brands you work with, people you meet, etc. 
  • Buy your domain and an email to match so that others treat/view you as a business. 
  • Create a wish list of what others could help you with. That way when you meet people that want to help, you know what to say.

Social Media/SEO/Exposure...
  • Don't just share your blog posts on social media; mix up the content, always. 
  • There are a lot of times the same person follows you on each of your social media channels. Post different things on each channel so they don't see the same thing. 
  • Google (and other search engines) can see basic social media page information like number of likes. 
  • Bing and Yahoo usually copy what Google does. 
  • The more trustworthy you look, the higher your page rank. This is achieved by posting quality content, consistently, and the content all ties together. 
  • Make sure all of your channels are linked and always provide links to all your channels. 
  • If you're not sure if a link party is beneficial (or another activity), test, track, and then analysis before stopping. And, do this for a 6 or 8 weeks to REALLY see the results. 
  • Work your LinkedIn network and connect with brand representatives and other industry leaders. Treat this like another social media channel and post engaging contact your contacts will enjoy. 

Sponsored Posts...
  • When a brand offers you a free product, tell them upfront that you'd love to try the product but there is no guarantee you'll post on your blog or mention on social media. 
  • Treat sponsored posts as extra content from your standard posts since you are being compensated (or receiving something). Posts those IN ADDITION to your normal posts. I loved this idea because your readers will still get the normal posts but they will get a little extra too!
  • Want more sponsored posts? Connect with your favorite brands on social media, interact, develop a relationship, create a Pinterest board featuring their products, etc. 
  • Most of the time YOU have to reach out to the brands. 
  • Don't be afraid to approach a brand with a pitch outlining how you would like to work with them! 
  • Sometimes brands will ask you to do something that doesn't fit your style, blog, or audience. You don't have to just say no, but you could reply with what YOU think would be best for your blog and audience. These discussions could go on for months before you and the brand come to terms.
  • Don't be afraid to say NO! If the brand doesn't fit your readers, don't do it.  
  • Always make sure the relationship with the brand is mutually beneficial; they get content, you get exposure to their followers - you get paid, they get photos/content. 
  • Don't work for free; you ARE worth it! 

Blogger Resources...
  • Pinterest Board with just Blogger Tips
  • What the Font - Find out the names of fonts when you find them online. 
  • Lynda.com - Offers training for all sorts of things.
  • Blog Shop - Photoshop for bloggers workshop.
  • Etsy - Search "blog clip art" or "social media icons" for inexpensive graphics. 
  • Look for local designers, advertising companies, and other professionals when you have a blog need. So nice to meet those people in person! 

This was just a snapshot of the content covered (I'm not the best note taker) but I hope this will give you some things to think about. This conference just made me want to attend next year (duh) but also branch out and attend local events and other conferences.

To my fellow food bloggers, Jessica of How Sweet It Is was there! She shared great information about working with brands and I luckily was able to meet her and tell her how much I enjoy her blog. I felt like such a nerd; I was grinning from ear to ear and so nervous.

Some of the other speakers were Megan Davey, Emily Walters, Melanie Knople, Jeanette Scott, Meg Biram, Marcy Tweete, Mikita Burton, Tracie Fobes, Julie Blanner, Morgan Georgie, Carrie Kiefer, and Corrie McFadden. ALL were amazing! It was such a nice mix of backgrounds, blog topics, and expertise. Click here to see all of the speakers at Go Blog Social.

I hope you're enjoying my Whatcha Learin' Now posts. If you'd like me to cover a specific topic, don't be afraid to comment below or email me!