This is a live-blogged recap of a keynote session by Problogger Darren Rowse he delivered at Blog World Expo in LA earlier this month. These notes were typed up in real-time and I’ve only edited for stray typos. If I add my own thoughts they will be in parenthesis and italics. If you missed Blog World Expo, or missed this session, you should check out the Virtual Ticket that will give you access to power point slides and recordings of ALL the fabulous sessions from the conference.
Blogging Motivations – Darren Rowse
Bloggers sharing their blogging motivations. Heart-based reasons were the initial ones – had to share my story, had something important to say, etc. One brave soul said “I started blogging because I heard you could make money.” Others began sharing – platform, job creation/to get a job, etc.
The Myths are: “If you blog from the heart the rest will take care of itself.” but this leads to disillusionment.
Or for money – “I’m following the following but it’s not working.” Content + branding + ads + SEO + Marketing + Link Bait + Design + etc = Successful Blogging?
When Harry Meets Sally is the sweet spot! When the Heart Meets Smart.
You should be blogging from the heart, but you should do some smart strategic things to help develop a successful blog. (Oh my gosh thank you SO much for saying this. I’ve been saying this to the bloggers that I teach or mentor for YEARS and sometimes it’s a hard sell.)
Part One – Blogging From the Heart
Bring Passion –
“No Tears in the Writer
No Tears in the Reader
No Surprise in the Writer
No Surprise in the Reader
~ Robert Frost”
Your passion and engagement with the topic will draw readers and become contagious.
Tell Stories! – The most emailed and commented on posts on both digital photography or problogger are the STORIES. Not the how-tos and technical detail. (I have found this to be true as well. At conferences a reader who purchased my ebook on Making Money Online may comment about a photo I tweeted of our beehives, or newborn goats.)
Build Community! – They want belonging and they want to participate. Engage with your readers! Connect with them.
Inspire People! – Example post he shared was “Long Exposure Photography 15 Stunning Examples”
The photos were inspiring and the post went viral. With inspiration comes the how-to searches as a result.
Start with a photo. Start with a story. Start with a dream. Start with a quote.
Be Personal! The personal touches helps build a memory and build your brand.
Be Playful! Example shared – His spoof post about problogger being acquired by google. Surprises are fun.
Write in a Different Voice! Shared an example where he wrote a post as though from his 2 year old son.
Be Yourself! Sometimes trying to emulate a style that you don’t feel comfortable in is a sure way to kill connection. A more casual style is his style – often turns an email into a blog post.
Do Good! Went to Tanzania with CBM (?) Turn your passions into an opportunity to raise awareness for something you’re passionate about. Can twist it into a relevant angle no matter what your niche is.
Be Useful! “You’ve helped me out of so many holes/issues that I faced.” You’re creating something that is valuable and lasting!
Part Two – Blog Smart
If you want your blog to be a business “one day”….Treat it as one Today! (I love this quote. Ended up using it in my session about “No Excuses” because I think it’s ok to make money while still helping others. Doctors do. Hair dressers do. Why should bloggers and writers be exempt from that? Hint – the answer is ‘we shouldn’t’)
Define Success – What is success for you? “4 Hour Work Week” book. Knowing what you’re aiming for will help you achieve that.
Naming those things helps you put steps into place. Makes it easy to plan your efforts. (I have written a lot about creating a smart blogging plan. One of my favorite posts on the subject is from my Ten Habits Series – Have a PLAN.)
Know Your Readers – Who do you want to reach? Who are you reaching? Put together a persona about your readers. “Reader Profiles” post on Darren Rowse. Issues, challenges, where they hang out, etc.
Branding – Branding for Darren has been intuitive and gut
“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” ~Jeff Bezos(?) What do you WANT people to say about you? Will inform the content, relationships, technology used, etc.
Marketing – “Build a great blog and people will find you” – that doesn’t happen right away. You have to get it out there and build it.
Where are your potential readers gathering? How can you participate there?
Hooks – You get readers to your blog – do you let them pass through? Or do you STICK THEM
Social media followings (facebook/twitter/newsletter sign ups/etc) – Email is the biggest on digital photography.
Problogger = twitter and RSS readers are bigger percentage. Take into consideration the audience.
Visit – Subscribe – Follow – Comment – Join – Buy – Spread the Word (What is the path of interaction that you want your readers to follow when they land on your blog?) Think of ways to reinforce your connection.
Create Something to Sell – Ebooks, affiliates, courses, etc. What you writing about? What are your readers coming to you for? (You all know I’m a HUGE proponent of creating an ebook out of the topics you’re already known for. If you need help pulling it together check out How to Make and Sell a Fabulous Ebook in 30 Days.)
Editorial Strategy – What are commented on? What are trafficked? Posts for current readers. And also think about posts that are highly shareable and will go “viral”. Interaction with my readers and inspire people. Mix it up and consider frequency of your posts.
Experiment – Test – Tweak
(I love that he included the need to re-evaluate your strategies periodically. Don’t be afraid to change things up a little so you can improve your performance.)