I had the pleasure of attending the BloggerConf 2015 in the spectacular Marker Hotel this past Sunday. And before I even go any further, I have to particularly emphasize that this was by far the most informative, useful, relatable and valuable conference I have attended in a while!
To back this up, let me just say that there were over 20 speakers and panelists on the stage, coming from all areas of digital presence, including photography, videography, social media, marketing, advertising, various types of blogging and so many more.
So instead of me singing praises to these people without actually telling you why is that, I decided to make this post informative both for people who were there and for those who weren’t, bringing you the takeaways for all fields of blogging.
I hope you’ll enjoy!
Creating & branding your genuine self
This is a topic that can go on and on and we could probably talk about this non-stop, but quite a few speakers stressed out what does it mean to be your honest self and how to brand yourself. Here are the takeaway points by Jenny Taafe of iZest Marketing, Rachel Dalton of RDC and Joan Mulvihill, CEO of Irish Internet Association:
→ Work inside an area that you truly love, understand and want to blog/vlog about – it doesn’t make sense if it isn’t what you’re passionate about
→ Show your distinct personality, point of view and uniqueness: be focused, different and relevant
→ Understand your value and your marketing power
→ Connect with your audience, with fellow bloggers, present yourself through a great media kit and stay true to yourself
→ Don’t allow your ‘digital’ self outrange and become more important than your real self
Connecting yourself with brands
The points here are very strongly made by Laura Haugh of MummyPages Ireland and brilliant Barbara Scully, broadcaster and journalist. I think anyone can relate to these no matter the area of blogging and expertise:
→ Post regularly, present yourself on your About page and make yourself approachable
→ Be patient, because nothing happens overnight
→ Once you start receiving invitations and pitches, accept them if you see yourself as a fit, but also be upfront with your readership and don’t hide the fact that you’re working with brands
→ It can be so hard to act all fabulous and confident online, so fake it til you make it
→ However, don’t undersell yourself and look after how much you’re doing for nothing
→ Network – both virtually and in real world – talk to people, talk to traditional media (print, radio, TV) let them know what you can do for them and say yes to opportunities even if you think you can’t do it. You’ll figure it out!
→ You are your own brand, so, again, be true to yourself and genuine with what you talk/write about, and treat your personal brand with great care
PRO TIP: I can’t stress this enough: always have a power bank with you when attending conferences, to keep your phone going throughout the day – ideally the one that can allow multiple full charges so you’ll never have to worry!
Tell the story through photos & video
In a world where everyone is connected and present through so many channels, it’s so important – and hard – to stand out. On topic of photography, videography and vlogging spoke Anouska Proetta Brandon, Simeon Quarrie with Canon and Clare Cullen, YouTuber known as Clisare.
→ In a world flooded with content sharers, you need to make your content stand out
→ Anouska’s equipment includes Canon g7x, Canon 6D and Olympus Pen e-pl7, and she mentioned 50mm and 85mm lenses as her most common choices
→ Her top tips for photography is the rule of thirds and the awareness of all four corners of the photo and becoming aware of what does your frame include
→ Her top go-to photo editing apps are Snapseed (Apple/Android), VSCO Cam (Apple/Android) and Afterlight (Apple/Android)
→ You can improve your videos by filming from various angles that you usually wouldn’t, by using different cutting techniques to make it more relatable, interesting and changing so your readers/viewers are more engaged – Canon Legria Mini X served as a fantastic tool with this one!
→ On YouTube, make sure you have your channel name in the end of a video title, so YouTube can better understand your videos and suggest them
→ When linking to your video on social media, make sure you link to a list starting with your video, because you should aim to keep a viewer on YouTube as long as possible, and you take the credit for keeping a viewer for so long
— Marijana Kostelac (@MarijanaKay) November 22, 2015
Social media is your biggest advantage
We should all primarily socialize in real life, and there’s no discussion to that. But the power of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and many other social networks should be taken as an advantage, not something you are forced to do or you think is fake. Tips presented by Samatha Kelly, also known as Tweeting Goddess, and Anouska Proetta Brandon.
→ Make sure you’re a positive person throughout your profile photo, description and content – would you follow yourself?
→ Be accessible and approachable through your contact and website info
→ Connect with influencers in your industry, bloggers, journalists, and create lists of people you want to keep track of (Twitter)
→ Be interactive – ask questions, create polls, assist others, retweet them, support their work, congratulate award winners and no bitching!
→ 3/10 tweets can be your promotional tweets, leading to your website
→ Good quality profiles across all networks have great quality images
→ On Instagram, create your own theme (e.g. use a specific colour palette, like pastel colours, bright colours, green/blue shades; post about a specific topic and stick to it) – check out Anouska’s Instagram
→ Great Instagram profiles are very easily identified and have their own touch and personality in each photo, such as Symmetry Breakfast
— Marijana Kostelac (@MarijanaKay) November 22, 2015
Monetize your blog with AdSense
Many bloggers seem to be frightened by the thought of having to deal with ads on their website for the simple reason of not being sure how to deal with them. Yiğit Yücel of Google walked us through AdSense:
→ Google AdSense has a very intuitive setup, and it’s specifically simple through WordPress plugin
→ Advertisers bid for your adspace once you determine where is it going to be and in which sizes, and Google takes care of the rest
→ You get to decide if a particular ad should be on your website
→ Make sure you test your website through Mobile-Friendly test and PageSpeed Insights
→ You can also improve your content and ranking by using Matched Content, AdSense for search and Consumer Surveys
Staying inside the law
To sum this up, let’s talk about keeping you on the safe side of law. Most often, we aren’t really aware of our own impact and the strength of our words online. We don’t tend to see it as a big deal. That’s why Sinéad Keavey, lawyer from William Fry, warned us about the following:
→ Stay balanced
→ Don’t confused truth with opinion. And this is a big one: we all sometimes present our opinions as pure facts, and this can hurt people we talk (tweet/blog/post) about and cost us a lawsuit
→ Beware of tourists – meaning, Ireland is a mecca for defamation suits and that’s something to be specifically cautious of
→ Protect yourself online and be upfront
That’s it! I know this is a huge load of information, but it’s something you can always refer back to, you can contact the speakers and have a chat about a topic they have spoken about.
One last thing – a huge thanks to Emma O’Farrell who has put all of BloggerConf together, and thanks to all the sponsors and partners for presenting their awesome services and products. It was so fun!
*Some of the links I shared in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through these links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use myself and firmly believe in.