I’m at the BlogHer conference this week as a brand spanking new blogger.
That song is freaking bizarre. And I think of it every time I call myself a shiny new blogger. Ugh.
Anyhoo, I ran conferences for 5 years, so I know the importance of getting very clear about what your goals are at a conference. Otherwise, you might end up leaving the conference full of ideas, with no actionable items. I spent too long in corporate America to leave anywhere without actionable items, Heather.
So, during the speed-dating section of The Pioneer Woman’s opening keynote, I decided to poll my peers about their best advice for new bloggers. The organizers had us line up in 2 concentric circles, facing each other. Spending about 1-2 minutes a piece, we met and networked with each person until the line shifted to the left.
Here’s how it went:
Me: “Hi, I’m Heather, from Mommy Loves Martinis. I’m a brand new blogger, and have published 13 posts! What would be your best piece of advice for a new blogger?’
Here were the answers I got:
Advice: “Find your tribe,” the PR person from Strong Families told me. “Find other new bloggers and create a private Facebook group for support.” I heard that also from Janel Mills from 649.133 – a website about the care and raising of girls.
My take: That’s a lot of what I’m doing here at BlogHer. I “know of” bloggers, but didn’t really know (m)any in person. Well, I do now. And they are an amazing group who truly seem to be a collaborative bunch who want to work to help raise each other up. I’ve heard stories about how women go to these types of conferences and meet friends and colleagues for life. Hoping that I get that lucky.
Advice: “Consistency, consistency,” said Katy Morgan of Katy in a Corner, who has been blogging for many years and is speaking on video blogging at the conference tomorrow. When your visitors expect to hear from you and you don’t deliver, they lose faith in you.”
My take: This is hard for me to relate to, because I can’t imagine that anyone’s sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for me to publish, but I do understand and heed by the mantra “Fake it til you make it.” So, I’ll cultivate consistency. At any given time I have about 5 posts that I’m working on. I just need to buckle down and finish things. I’m also a perfectionist, and if I want to up the frequency of my posts from – oh, say, once every three weeks, to 1-2 times per week or so, then I need to let well enough be ok.
Advice: Laurie Luck, of Smart Dog University told me “Find out who you are. Be comfortable with your voice, and above all, be authentic.”
My take: Authenticity is one of those buzz words, but this really rings true for me, especially lately. I’m a mom of 10-month old twin boys. I do NOT have my shit together. And yet, people really think I do. I realized that I’m posting things that present only that side of me. Wrong move. That’s not my authentic life, and only posting that side is doing a disservice to other moms. So, I’ve made a vow to write more messy stuff. Because it’s real life. And real life is not always a polished story of greatness.
Advice: Val from Bon Bon Break told me that I should make sure to have ways for fans to follow me, share my posts, and contact me. She reads hundreds of blogs, and reaches out to people from their blogs on a regular basis. “You wouldn’t believe how many blogs don’t have a way to contact the author. It drives me freaking insane!”.
My take: Umm, yeah. I just checked my site and I’m an offender. Again, I’m not sure who would be wanting to contact me, but I’ll build the site like one day I’ll be a queen. 🙂
Advice: Ashley Garrett, of Baddest Mother Ever , had this to say. “Set yourself a goal. Like for the next 3 months, I’ll post every day.” She also gave me some good advice on
copywrite copyright infringement, but I don’t even know how to spell that yet, so I’m banking it for later. . Something to do with “Don’t steal shit from others”.
My take: I read some of Ashley’s posts after I met her on the first day of the conference. This woman is genius. In her writing and in her ability to attract a following. I think she’s on to something! Note to self: Maybe once every two weeks isn’t enough!
Advice: This is from a little later in the day. On the way back from the conference, in fact. I was almost comatose from being around 500 trillion people today, but I managed to jot down her words of wisdom. Valerie Mitchell from Sweeps for Bloggers said “Do what makes you happy. Blogging should be fun. It can be your j.o.b., but it’s your blog and your space, so make sure you’re having fun.”
My take: Right now, blogging is a blast. It’s fun, it’s a blank slate – I can create and build it however I want. But as I do so, I’ll remember these words. Life’s too short to have a job that you don’t like. Sure, nothing is fun 100% of the time, but when things start to become a burden, it’s time to move on. My goal is to keep my blogging fun – most of the time.
Advice: Ok, so this one’s from Ree. You know, as in The Pioneer Woman. That Ree. And no, I didn’t get to speed date her. Sigh. She didn’t exactly dole out advice in the form of “New bloggers should do this”, but what I got from her was again, to be authentic, and to tell good stories.
My take: I was on the edge of my seat listening to some of the stories that were quintessential Ree. There’s something about the art of story telling that we as human beings gravitate towards. It’s the shared human experience. When we ask ourselves, why would anyone want to hear about the details of a story of my life, the answer is truly because the shared human experiences evoke emotion, make us feel alive, and bring out the juicy nuances of life.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll continue to poll the umm…4,000 bloggers and publishers here to continue to share the gems. But for now, it’s time to head downstairs and listen to Queen Latifah hand out awards to the best blog posts of the year. I can dream of something like that in the future 😉