Last Friday I set off to London to attend Blogtacular, a conference I have never been to before. Last year, I had studied the social media feeds and decided it was somewhere I needed to go. I had arranged to share a room with the lovely Cathy from My Sweet Things, who I had never met before but as soon as she opened the hotel door, I felt like we had been friends forever. Blogging really does bring people together that just click. After a meal with some of the others who were attending, we retired to the hotel, chatting until the early hours like kids (only about blogging!).
The keynote speakers at Blogtacular really are something else, last year it was Jo Cho (Oh Joy) and this year it was Grace Bonney (Design*Sponge), who was an incredible speaker. For those of you who don’t know, Grace’s blog Design*Sponge reaches a million readers a day. She also hosts a radio show ‘After The Jump’ and is writing her second book.
I thought I would summarise Grace’s talk in key points, as for me it was the highlight of the event.
There are no real emergencies in our community
Blogging is a constantly changing environment – How to be comfortable with change
- Start talking – things are so less scary when you talk them through.
Change = Lack of control = Fear
The good news it that this fear is common ground, it is something we will all experience at some point. Acknowledging this fear takes the sting out of it.
Grace’s plan to deal with change/fear
- Acknowledge – Let yourself have a moment / Write it down / Tell someone / Live with it for a few days
- Investigate – Break it down / What is it really about / Talk to people who have successfully conquered this successfully
- Plan – You can’t stop forward momentum, so you need to jump in first / Make a plan to take one confident step towards your fear of change
- Execute – Don’t over think, just do / Try your plan for a least a month, promoting and getting the word out about your change
- Reassess & Redefine – How did it go? How do you feel? Talk to your support group again, reassess the overall effect of your change
When change happens you have 2 choices
Going against the grain – This can help you find your true followers. People always yearn for what came before, so by going against what everyone else is doing this opens you up to like-minded people. The example Grace gave of a business which has successfully done this is Kinfolk, who launched an expensive printed publication when print was dying and everything was going online. This has been hugely successful.
Going with the grain – Oh Joy was Grace’s example of someone going with the grain and doing it so well. She has seen the change and worked out how to embrace that change and make it work for her. In her case she has seen that advertising on blogs is dying as a source of blog income and has used her design talents to release product lines which will provide income.
When we work together we raise the tide of our community.
Top tips from the rest of the day
- It is a good idea to write an informal business plan for your blog & set goals
- Consider using pay per click and pay per purchase together on your blog, for different products. i.e expensive products that people might want to look at, but maybe not buy use pay per click. Lower value items that people are more likely to buy, use pay per purchase. You can combine both successfully.
- Always be transparent if something is an affiliate link or sponsored.
- Use Google Analytics to find out why people come to you and do more of that!
- Consider using tiers for your rates, one price for a sponsored post, with options to add in other things for additional fees.
- Find freelance work by pitching to sites that produce content similar to yours.
It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it that counts
Francesca Stone (FallForDIY) on Social Media
- Offering products or services is the immediate future of blogging
- The engagement of your followers is more important than the size of your following
- Look at other bloggers popular posts. What is doing well for them?
- This about what posts would do better on which days. i.e.motivational for a Monday
- Comments on blogs are dying BUT comments/shares on social media are more important than comments within the confinement of your blog
- Latergram – Lets you schedule Instagram posts from your desktop
- Tailwind – Schedule pins
- Cross promotion between your social networks is a good way to grow your audience/following
- Use If This Then That, to create recipes that work for you. i.e each time I post to Instagram, dropbox the picture or if I share something on Facebook share it on Twitter. You can create any recipe that would be helpful to you.
- Iconosquare tracks your Instagram stats, engaged followers and let’s you work out what people like best from your feed, picture, style, composition. What time of day do things do better?
- Always reply to comments on Instagram, show your followers some love
- Organise your social media, so you share different things on different networks
- Instagram is a great place to try something new and find people to collaborate with
- Creating a # can help you to create a tribe (don’t make your # too specific or it won’t catch on)
- IG can act as a blog (microblogging) you can write something chunky in your description
- Sharing is where it is at
- Give value to your followers so they return
- Consider IG work as it is key to what you do. It is your shop window
- Be picky in which photos you share – do they fit your ethos – do they possess key brand characteristics. Consider a short checklist that you make sure the photos tick before you post them (in your head is fine!)
- Get to know your followers what times work best for posting
- For IG, build a theme and be consistent. Use the same sorts of compositions and filters/editing style
- You can’t be a master of everything.
Do them all, you don’t have to win them all.
IG panel on social networks
- Sign up for all the platforms, even if you don’t use them now, so people can find you there and follow.
- You can’t be all things to all people
- Start a # – you could regram others and tag. Then maybe they will share.
- 5 # are enough on a post. Do not use too general #, like #cup #hair. Even if you look up the # and there are thousands of pictures, it doesn’t mean people will be searching for that # and actually even if they are your post will be lost in the thousands of others. Make sure the # is relevant
The highlight for me, apart from making a new friend in Cathy, was hearing Grace speak and getting to meet her.
Do you fancy attending Blogtacular?
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