In my short time doing it, Blogging has allowed me really great experiences thanks to Musings & More. When an invite from Blog at the Beach by icelolly.com dropped into my inbox, I checked the date and immediately pinged back an email confirming my attendance. It was going to be held in Leeds, a city I’ve only been to once and I love the chance to check out somewhere new!
My friend Lizzy is also a blogger, so together we hopped on the train to Leeds and navigated the short way to the White Cloth Gallery. We were handed our name/blog tags (which is really weird to see printed in actual print) and an itinerary for the day before being left to mingle while everyone else arrived.
Blog At The Beach was Mexican Fiesta themed and boy, do I love a good theme! I’m talking inflatable cactuses, a Piñata, sombreros and even some mojitos to warm us up! What was really brilliant was the Mariachi band who created the best atmosphere for the event and got everyone bopping along!
The event consisted of three speakers who all offered us really valuable advice in their respected topics. I’ve always entered blogging quite blindly, not really knowing much about SEO or anything like that, so these were incredibly useful for me and apart from reading online, I’d never learnt the ins and outs of blogging in this way before. Kirsten Thompson – Rock Your Blog: Protect Your Brand and Reputation
To give you a bit of background, Kirsten from Kooky Traveller works in education at the University of Leeds. She’s been blogging for over ten years but it was only when she got into travel blogging did she start looking into SEO and digital identity.
Okay, I’ll admit it. Kirsten’s talk terrified me. I’ll admit that I went into blogging quite naively and generally just started writing, posting and that was it! I think a lot of people do to be honest. But I didn’t spare any thought to exactly what was going on in the background, in the dark murky behind the scenes of blogging that isn’t always that obvious to the eye. If you read any part of this post at all, read this next bit!
Your brand and digital footprint:
As bloggers, we are more active online than the average person. Our digital identity is essentially everything about us on the web. This includes our verified identities (anywhere money is associated, so amazon, ebay etc) and our non verified identities (our social media accounts). It is important we look after both.
If you are sharing your travel adventures on your blog or Instagram, even snap chat, have you checked what information is out there in regards to where you live? Who knows this information?
The website Zoominfo.com is worrying used by HR professions as a resource similar to Linkedin. However this is a scraping website, basically a website which extracts information from other websites and puts it in one place. What are people searching if they are looking for you? People might not be searching your blog name, but sometimes your actual name too.
While you might not want to network, having a LinkedIn profile is very useful as it ranks very highly on google. This means that if someone is searching you regarding your name or key words that relate to your experience, they can find you for what you want to be found for.
Google alerts is a free service from google where you can set up key word searches and every time google crawls the net and finds anything that relates to those keywords, you will get an email.
We can manage our digital identity, but we cannot control it.
As bloggers, we are always encouraged to share so much about our lives. However there is a risk with this. Are you sharing it consciously?
WHOIS Database is a public directory on the internet that lists all websites and their owners as well as multiple other details. It is worth paying for private registration of your domain name which means your hosting information will appear, not yours.
When you are taking photographs on your phone, is the location encrypted into your image files? This means you could end up sharing your location with someone you don’t want to.
A lot of things are immediate, some apps that you install will immediately get access to your phone contacts. Have all your contacts given you permission to share their data? How well do you know the company behind the app? How do you know it’s not a scam? Always stick to official apps and investigate third party ones.
Consider fragmenting your identity. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and think about having multiple email addresses. Think about each inbox as a folder so that if one email is ever hacked or compromised, they only have access to one part of your life rather than everything.
Beef up your security, you should be using difficult, strong passwords to guess. Websites such as LastPass mean you only have to remember one, long password and then you can generate lots of complicated passwords that you don’t have to remember because they are all secure in the vault in your LastPass account.
Mi Elfverson – The Power of Video: From Blogger to Vlogger
Vlogging is definitely something I’ve never considered. Purely because I’m much more at home behind a screen and well, writing has always been my thang. While we do film our trips away and notable memories, these are purely for us and the idea of sharing them with the outside world makes me shudder! Nonetheless, I was curious by Mi’s talk on going from Blogging to Vlogging.
Mi runs The Vlog Academy which essentially promises to introduce you to and train you in the way of video blogging for your business (or for anything you please!). This might be through corporate training days, group courses or one-to-one training.
Mi spoke about a number of steps you should follow to start vlogging: Camera Type
Iphones actually have a really great camera to get started with!
Make sure the camera is eye level
You will build more of a connection with your audience.
Body language is so important.
Your audience pick up on: 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% of what you actually say.
A clip on microphone (which can be brought really cheaply from online) will make the world of difference to the quality of your videos
Keep putting out regular content
Interact and engage with your audience. Comment on other videos and link back to your own channel.
Sabina Trojanova – Do You Want To Build A Snow…cial Following?
Sabina’s talk was one I found really fascinating, especially because of who she is. Sabina is the founder of the brilliant blog Girl vs Globe. She actually attended BlogAtTheBeach last year as a listener, which made her even more interesting now she had come back as a speaker! Regardless of that, she was also incredibly engaging to listen to and you really did sit up and take notice. She was the very essence of girl power and made us all sit up and listen
The talk was all about optimising your blogging content to attract as many readers as possible so you can then turn the readers into dedicated followers. Sabina pointed out there was more than 10050 million blogs out there and that it was hard work to stand out. She asked us to take a piece of paper and gave us one minute to answer the question ‘Why the hell are you so special? Why should anyone read your blog?” This was something I know a lot of us found difficult to answer as in a way you felt quite arrogant!
Sabina then introduced us to FIG, a three layer community building technique she had devised:
Know your readers, know who you’re trying to connect with. What is their age? Their interests? Their views?
Havin an ‘about me’ page is really useful as this is where you can introduce yourself in a little more depth and talk about who you really are. Be personal, you need to give them something as you are the one trying to attract readers, so you are the one reaching out.
Write personal posts. You don’t have to share intimate details but you need to be able to give a lot of yourself through writing so create approachable and relatable posts – you don’t want to sound like a Wikipedia page with no personality! A blogger is first and foremost someone whose friend you think you could be.
Talk as if you are talking to one person only. Directly address the reader, as an individual as this is how you want them to feel. Perhaps ask questions at the end of your post. How did you find this? What do you think? Do you have anything to add to this? If you do, please leave a comment!
Always try to find the time to connect with your readers, no matter how big your blog may be, if someone has taken to time to comment on your blog, you should envisage to reply to them because if you don’t, why should they keep coming back?
Do something that inspires your reader. Show them a life well lived!
Step outside of your comfort zone
Have really great photography, even your iPhone takes good photos. If people don’t like the image you post on social media, they won’t click on it because there are so many others being uploaded!
Instagram is a great way of showcasing your personality.
A clean design with strong imagery is key, you want your content to speak for itself and don’t want readers distracted.
Original, shareable and motivating content. Listacles are a very good way of sharing your experiences as they are very sharable. This is something people will tweet out if they enjoy it or repost on their Facebook.
However listacles are original. You want to strike good balance between stuff that is sharable and stuff that is original that people think “I never thought about that!
Explain how your lifestyle and experiences are accessible to your readers. Motivate your readers, be their guide.
Teach them how, create how to guides. E.g. How to travel Paris on £200!
Give them all the tools so they can follow your footsteps.
Be very transparent and very open. Sabrina explained how she had written an ebook about how she made $12,000 in six months. She believes this makes people attracted to her blog because she is open and not afraid to tell them details such as how much money she makes. This makes you appealing.
Show your wisdom and don’t be stingy about it! A lot of people want to save all their best bits for when they write an ebook, but if you don’t have an audience in the first place, whose going to read that ebook? Make people trust you and want to come back to you.
Be an expert in your field. Own it! Write about it! If you know what you are talking about, people will listen.
Can you spot anyone you know?
Blog At The Beach was a totally different kind of event for me to attend. Very rare to I come back from an event full of new knowledge – especially about something I do weekly! It was such a great opportunity to learn from the professionals and I took a lot away from my tim in Leeds. A huge thanks to Kirsten, Mi and Sabina for their incredible talks and especially to icelolly.com for the invite! Ice Lolly are a great brand and it’s wonderful to see a brand so supportive and appreciative of bloggers and what we do!
I hope you too have leant something from today’s post, there is certainly a lot to take on board! Have a great week!