Yep its time for the mashup of ideas, notes and thoughts screaming through the grey matter after attending the problogger training event.
I thought I’d just run with my feelings and impressions for this post, rather than take the ‘what I learned’ route. There’ll be plenty of time for those type of posts, once I’ve filtered through the information and applied some practices.
So relax, grab a cuppa and enjoy some light reading….oh yes there are some entertaining pics too.
Darren and his team put together a seamless event, well thought out, speakers who knew their stuff, great venue, fantastic food, and company even better.
Now being one of those shrinking wall flowers such as I am *cough* …well maybe not, but I am quite the introvert even if you wouldn’t have picked it. The thought of connecting with others sometimes does do my head in ever so slightly. Obviously a thought that was heavily on the mind of the team too – how to make it easier for people to connect?
They achieved this by setting up small tables in the communal area marked by blogging niches, making it much more intimate and a whole lot easier to meet up with others in your chosen field. And if you were looking to cross pollinate with other niches, easy to find them too. When there’s a sea of 300ish bloggers every bit helps.
I made the point of pushing myself to connect with more people that I ordinarily would have. I can say without exception, everyone was lovely. You know sometimes you meet the odd miserable git amongst the bunch…or the pushy ‘all about me’ type….noticeably absent from this group .
The overarching theme for this years event was monetization. Aren’t we all open to finding out how we can do more of that!
Depending on your interest you were able to chose between the two breakout streams to further your knowledge.
While some for me were a clear choice, others proved to be much more of a coin toss as both were equally attractive. I don’t know if it would have been such an easy decision to make if not for the fact that all the sessions were being recorded, so I knew I could access all the information later anyway. It took the pressure off taking notes and gave me more time to tweet. An all round win in my book.
Obviously everyone is going to have their own unique perspective on the event and what they took away. For me it was all about clarity. Pick your model and work it baby!
I believe that while your blog can be an awesome marketing tool for your products and services, it can also be viewed as the platform on which to build an advertising model that brings you consistent revenue. This isn’t about the old Adsense text and banner links, this is about working more efficiently to attract brand partnerships or sponsorship.
Nicole Avery (@planningqueen) ran a super informative session on sponsored posts (can’t wait to download the slides on this one), and the panel on how to get brands knocking on your door opened my eyes to untapped opportunities, outlining how Eden Riley and Mrs Woog were able to attend the Blogher conference in New York under a sponsorship deal from Maybeline.
Obviously you have to define how the strategy fits with your particular model.
Lets face it we all advertise in some way or another, whether its for our own products and services or advertising others via affiliate links, banner adds or sponsored posts.
Industry players can be purists on the whole sponsored posts issue…claiming that your using your readers to make money….HELLO???….I’ve never heard such unadulterated crap in all my life.
Isn’t the premise of blogging to attract readers who will eventually become customers?
If you clearly disclose that its a sponsered post, that you’re not trying to hoodwink anywone, and it is providing value to your audience…where is the issue? We are all in business to make money. Honestly, ethically and with integrity I’d hope.
Other topics I attended on day one included; Shane Tilley’s (@shaynet) presentations on both creating products and services and launching, and Jules Clancy (@Jules_Stonesoup) presented on courses, continuity & membership programs .
All of these sessions were informative and I took quite a few nuggets from, which I’ll be applying and sharing my discoveries and results with you in time.
The final group session of the day was presented by Chris Guillebeau on Making money and changing the world through blogging. Something clearly Chris is qualified to speak of, considering the impact he has made to so many people not only through his thoughts & observations on his blog, his products & books, but through creating a platform for people to give birth to their dreams and connect through his World Domination Summit.
I’ve been following Chris since around 2009 , and yes colour me fangirl…I’ll wear the hat with pride.
The man oozes with compassion, humility and smarts….although he wouldn’t portray himself that way.
His presentations were clearly geared towards providing as much value to the audience as he could and was always happy to hang around and answer more questions.
The day drew to a close with another appearence from Darren this time wearing slightly different attire than he had been in previously.
A couple of days before the event, Darren jumped on board with the onegirl initiative to do it in a dress.
Do it in a dress invites people to wear a school dress to raise money to enable girls in Sierra Leone to go to school.
A girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend High School. Pretty horrifying statistics.
The idea was with each increasing level of money raised more dares would be added to what Darren would do.
Shane Tilley also threw himself into the mix and all I can say is it was an absolute hoot., as you can see by the picture.
The result was $2400 dollars raised which was enough to send 10 girls to school for a year. Pretty cool effort, don’t you think?
It makes your heart sing to think that a group of bloggers have impacted change in the life of these 10 girls who they will likely never know.
The close of day one saw us all decend on Maha Restaurant which was booked out specifically for all of us mad blogging folk….Yes we can be a very rowdy bunch.
The evening was Faahbulos Dahlink.
To top it off there was a photobooth set up by Smilebooth…What?…a camera and props…oh lordie…what mischief and fun…
Yes that is me wearing a moustache courtesy of the hilarious Michaela from Five Frogs Blog. And following is the impending doom of said Moustache.
You can check out some of the other pics on smilebooth’s facebook page they’re super cool.
The end of the evening saw some very tired but happy bloggers return to their overnight digs to get some much needed rest, ready to soak up day two.
Attending events like this gives you the opportunity the meet and be inspired by others in the blogging community.
It helps you not only to expand your knowledge but introduces you to new ideas and concepts that flow from these exchanges, sparks if you will. This is something that you just can’t get from being behind the screen of your computer no matter how social media savvy you are.
I’d encourage you to get amongst it. Put yourself out there and get to events like these that relate to your industry or business, you just don’t know what impact you could make for your business and to others for that matter. At the end of the day…from little things…big things grow.
If you enjoyed this post, then please share it and if you’d like to access recordings of the Problogger training event you can still buy the virtual pass here