(Image courtesy of TRX photography )
This time last week I had the pleasure of presenting at the Say Hello Blogger’s Workshop at the London Club in Brisbane.
Yep you read correctly.
Li’l old me.
The workshop was the first of it’s kind run in Brisbane by the full-of-life-and-laughter Melissa from Suger Coat it and pint-sized Wondress Danielle from Hello Owl. Both these girls are the brains behind Hello Blogger Events.
I must say that I was both humbled and excited to be both presenting at this workshop AND to be doing it alongside the one and only Kelly from Be A Fun Mum.
Now don’t misunderstand the situation here. I am by no means an expert on blogging.
At all. Not even a teensy little bit.
So why the hell was I presenting I hear you ask….???
Well the brilliant Kell and I talked about stuff that I do know a bit about – Generating Content, Building your Audience and Finding the Balance between Blogging and Everything Else.
I thought I’d share parts of our presentation particularly on the ‘Generating Content’ and ‘Finding The Balance’ part. Kell is the real expert on the social media and building your audience stuff and she’s already put up a post about building your audience using social media. Did I mention She. Is. A. Guru!
So here goes….
Before you even consider generating content you need to answer three questions:
1. Why do you blog?
e.g. pleasure of writing, katharsis, business, blogging makes you feel special….
Your reasons for starting your blog might not necessarily be the reason for continuing it.
2. What are your goals/objectives?
e.g. generate money, generate work, win prizes, metamorphasise into the internet…
What do you want to achieve from or with your blog?
3. Who is your target audience?
e.g. middle aged women, mothers, bloggers, toothless old men etc.
I’ve heard many bloggers say/write that they blog for themselves only. That blogging gives them a level of katharsis. Now really if that was the case – they probably wouldn’t have published it on the internet……just sayin’.
Every blog has an audience - you just have to find out who that is (even if it is toothless old men).
The answers to these three questions not only gives you direction for your blog, it becomes a continual focal point particularly during those time when you head off track (you know those left-field posts about Sally Field’s alter ego).
The answers to these questions will also change from time to time and that’s okay because your blog will evolve as you evolve as a blogger/writer/business.
As for physically generating content, well the world is your oyster…..
Write, write and write some more. Spend more time writing and less time socialising. Social media is brilliant for generating ‘followers’ but good content is what will convert your ‘followers’ to readers.
Write EVERYTHING down. Don’t discount anything, you just don’t know where an idea may lead.
Don’t rely on your memory for things. If you have a memory like mine you won’t remember why you started typing a sentence……………………? Have a notebook with you ALWAYS so you can write ideas when they come to you.
Use your ‘downtime’ effectively.Use the time when you’re completing mundane tasks to generate ideas. Tasks like vacuuming, ironing, cooking, sex with your partner, driving to work etc are really great times for generating content. Those are the times when your brain normally goes into automatic mode - use it effectively (No Chook Whisperer, I don’t think about content for my blog when we’re doing ‘it’, I’m usually too busy listening intently for little feet walking down the hallway…….hmm I digress….)
Write an outline of posts before you hit the computer. Having an idea of what you plan to write about and already having some of the content written down will give you writing inertia and prevent you staring at a blank screen (or a busy Tweet deck).
Do some linkys. Linkies are a really good way to both generate an audience AND give you blog fodder for those days when the brain has shut off. There’s plenty of Spanky Saturday, Shitful Sunday, Mindless Monday, Throwout Thursday type link ups. Just link up with the ones that fit with your blog genre (without over-doing it).
Keep your eyes and ears open. Blog-worthy stories and events are all around you, you just have to be open to them. Watch the news, speak to people, take lots and lots of photos. The content is all there ready for the writing.
Maintaining a Balance
(Photo courtesty of TRX Photography)
To be honest I’m not sure it’s really that easy to maintain a balance between blogging and the other important people and stuff in your life.
But just like anything that’s worth doing - you just have to keep working at it. And working at it. And working at it……
Here’s a couple of ways that I do (my best) to maintain some semblance of balance…
Break your blog-time up into categories. Mine are:
Replying to comments
Reading other blogs and
Social media time
Prioritise each task, set time limits for each and stick to it.
Before you set to work on your blog each day, you will probably know how much time you have available. Allocate time for each task you want to achieve and do your bloody best to stick to it. It’s classic short-term goal-setting and is a great way of ensuring you stay on task everytime you face your computer.
How often have you sat in front of the computer to write a post but then ended up chatting on twitter or FaceBook for hours instead? *raises hand*. Prioritising and time-setting is a good way of preventing the whole ‘productive procrastination’ via Twitter debacle.
Social Media and Blog Free Nights
Dare I say it, part of maintaing a balance requires scheduling in blog and social media free nights. Don’t just talk about it, book it in your diary!
On those nights turn off the laptop/IPad/IPhone and any other media and blogging apparatus to truly appreciate what the non-blogging community experience every night.
There’s nothing worse for partners/kids/significant others being mid-conversation wtih you and noticing the glazed look cross your face when that all-familiar tweet-chime on your phone goes off. Switch the thing off. You might actually be interested to hear what ‘the others’ have to say once-in-a-while.
Remember – if you can’t hear it, see it or feel it vibrate, it’s less likely to cause the next domestic! You know what I’m talking about!
That’s pretty much the stuff I covered in a nutshell. Certainly more common sense than blogger-science but sometimes we need to be reminded of the simple things.
(Kelly-Be a Fun Mum, Me and Maddie-Li’l Magoolie – Image courtesy of TRX Photography)
There were some truly inspirational speakers at the Say Hello Workshop and I’d say if you get the chance to get to the next one you won’t be disappointed. Here is a snap shot of some of the other info that was presented:
Melissa from Suger Coat ittalked about blogger basics and finding your niche.
Danielle from Hello Owl talked about who’s doing what and who’s gettin’ it right in the blogging business (hint: check out Danimezza and Styling You)
Danielle from Five Little Reasons and Zoe from A Boy’s Mumma showed us the ins and outs (literally) of setting up and getting that great pic.
Maddie from Li’l Magoolie gave us a great run down of sponsorship and working with brands.
Sass from Moo Zoo Designs talked to us about blog layout, fonts and design.
Stacy from Veggie Mama gave us the legal need-to-knows on copyright, defamation and freedom of speech.
So there you have it. The official wrap.
I think it’s fair to say that the day was a huge sucess and it’s absolutely fabulous knowing that these types of workshops and conferences are now being run in sunny Queensland. Yeehah to that!
A huge thank-you to the Hello Blogger Events team. Great job girls! Looking forward to the next one!