Bloggy Boot Camp
What kind of boot camp? Not the kind my husband went through at Camp Le Jeune. Not what I went through when entering the Air Force. The only yelling was squeals of delight as “bloggy” friends were united in person, and Keurig and Mirassou rolled out new products for us to try! (We did wait til after 5pm to consume wine!)
I’m pretty sure I was registered for BBC in less than 15 seconds after I received the email that it would be held in Charlotte. I was so excited for the opportunity to connect and network, learn strategies for writing, publishing, landing sponsorships and other campaign opportunities, and learning the business elements behind successful blogging.
And boy, was it all I had hoped for and more!
I could write post after post about the information I learned in this one day packed full of information, but I decided to just give you the Top 5 key takeaways of Bloggy Boot Camp for me.
5. You Must Know Your “Endgame”
Quite simply, you have to have a goal. Once you know what that is, make a plan to get there. Make smart decisions for your blog, including which brands you work with, to fit that end goal. Implement your plan! Tweak if necessary.
4. You Must Have a Tribe
Yes. A tribe. If you have any desire to achieve success, you have to have a support system. Whether it be for landing sponsored opportunities with companies or marketing a book, success will sure be easier. I am happy to say that I expanded my Tribe while in Charlotte. I already knew Ilene of The Fierce Diva Guide to Life and The Dose Girls from the Dose of Reality … virtually at any rate, but meeting them in person was something just amazing. I also hit it off immediately with Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life and I was thrilled to meet Rachel from Architecture of a Mom and Natalie from Corporate to Domestic (both of whom I have been following for a long time now!) in person. And of course, there is crazy Kristen from Four Hens and a Rooster as well as Janine and Christine from More than Mommies – two of the sweetest ladies ever! I so enjoyed connecting with other bloggers and making new friends and connections.
3.Engagement – It is Necessary and Important!
Not only is collaboration and engagement (active interaction) important to helping yourself and your bloggy friends, but it is important to building your value to brands. Brands realize that people trust their friends for recommendations. If you have built up trust and are engaged with your readers, you may be able to attract sponsorship with smaller viewer numbers. Some of the ways you can do this is by “getting off your blog!” by sharing (not only your stuff, but other people’s stuff too!), liking, linking, sharing across the social media spectrum. And don’t be afraid to engage with your favorite brands on social media!
2. Understanding SEO Really Makes a Difference!
There are so many ins and outs of SEO, but broken down, it’s not too hard to understand. I learned a couple of very important tricks that I’d like to share.
- In order to make Google see you as an “expert” on a subject (and therefore send traffic your way) you can really help yourself. The example Casey from Collective Bias gave to us was simple. If you are writing a post about an awesome cookie recipe, you need to have that in your title, your url, the body of your post, (several times) the caption of your picture, and if you have other awesome cookie recipes, LINK to them in your post.
- Important note about linking to things. Don’t just say read my awesome post here, linking the word here. No one is searching the word “here.” Make sure you link the topic you want to be searched. For example, I wrote an important post on grief. Now I have linked the word grief and when someone searches grief, my post is more likely to be found.
- Know how to use keywords
- So much other good information on this… maybe I’ll dedicate a post to it!
1. Live First, Blog Second
Surprisingly, a good bit of what I came away from has nothing to do with blogging. Tiffany Romero is one cool chick with a lot of great advice! Sure, I learned a ton about social media, SEO, blog design, (it matters!) how to use “No Follow” in sponsored posts, writing to publish (my newest bloggy crush is most definitely Robin from Robin’s Chicks! Not only is she a published author and terrific blogger, she is hilarious!) great information on working with brands, and SO MUCH MORE! But I didn’t expect the wonderfulness that is Tiffany (and Francesca too!) from the SITS girls to be just chock full of good advice on life in general! Throughout the day, Tiffany reminded us that we have to follow our own journey and there is room for success for all of us.
Sure, you’ve got to be a good blogger who delivers a good product, but you are going to make it farther faster if you are nice, respectful, engaged, supportive, but you’ve got to be present in your life.
After all, as Tiffany says, “We have nothing to blog about if we are not living!”